When the Tri-City Dust Devils tied Monday night's series finale against Hillsboro in the eighth inning, but couldn't put the game away in the ninth, the Hops had them just where they wanted them.
Hillsboro (11-7 second half, 35-21) scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning and held on for dear life in the bottom of the frame for a 3-2 victory, closing out the series at Gesa Stadium with four wins in five tries.
Hillsboro improved to 8-1 in extra-inning games this year and opened up a two-game lead over Salem-Keizer and Eugene in the Northwest league South Division standings.
With one out in the 10th and Francis Martinez at second base, pinch-hitting Jorge Perez lined a single to center field off Korey Anderson (0-1). Tre Carter's throw to the plate was up the first base line as Martinez came in with the go-ahead run. With two down, Perez broke for second as Jake McCarthy hit a grounder toward short. Tucupita Marcano had broken toward the bag and had to do an about-face to get to the ball, only able to knock it down, putting runners at first and second. Geraldo Perdomo followed with a base hit to left field. Grant Little's throw to the plate was bobbled by catcher Jose Lezama as Perez slid home. Lezama recovered to throw out McCarthy trying to advance to third base, ending the inning.
The insurance run was huge as the Devils immediately scored in their half of the tenth. Justin Garcia started the tenth on the mound after pitching out of a tight spot in the bottom of the ninth inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Tucupita Marcano lined a single to right field, plating leadoff base runner Xavier Edwards. Little bunted Marcano into scoring position and clean-up hitter Dwanya Williams-Sutton walked to put the potential winning run on base.
In came lefthander Trevor McKenna to face the lefty-hitting Justin Paulsen. Tri-City countered with Michael Curry, a righthanded hitter who had doubled with the bases loaded in the eighth inning off Garcia two nights previous to give Tri-City its only win of hte series. Curry fouled off multiple two-strike pitches before lifting a fly ball to left center field. McCarthy made the catch as Marcano tagged and raced toward third. Williams-Sutton took advantage of McCarthy's throw toward third and raced into scoring position with two outs, bringing Luis Asuncion to the plate. With the lefthanded hitter Carter on deck, McKenna walked Asuncion on four pitches to load the bases, then fanned Carter to nail down his first professional save.
Justin Garcia got his first NWL win two nights after his first NWL loss. The first-year reliever from Arkansas-Little Rock gave up a leadoff single to Carter in the ninth, but struck out Luke Becker and Edwards back to back with the potential winning run at second base.
Perdomo went 3-for-5, also scoring the first Hops run of the game on a first-inning double by Andy Yerzy.
The 1-0 lead held until the eighth. Josh Green, in pursuit of his second save of the series, walked Edwards and gave up a base hit to Marcano. With runners at first and third and one out, Williams-Sutton hit a slow grounder toward third. Joey Rose charged the ball, but bounced his throw home as the speedy Edwards slid home with the tying run.
The Dust Devils had just two hits in 19 at bats with runners in scoring position in the game. For the series, they went 7-for-55. The Hops won the first two games of the series despite going 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Monday night they were 3-for-8, finishing the series 7-for-41. It was the only game of the series in which the Hops did not have a home run.
All four games in the Northwest League went into extra innings Monday night.
The Hops head to Eugene for the second leg of their season-long 11-game road trip. Live coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night from P.K. Park on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM and ripcityradio.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.