The headline attraction Sunday at Ron Tonkin Field was the appearance of 2013 MLB All-Star pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. But the last five guys on the hill took care of business for the Everett AquaSox.
The Mariners' veteran Iwakuma gave up two hits and a run in his first live game action of the 2018 season, but the Hops' would scratch out only one more run in a 5-2 loss to Everett, only their third loss since the All-Star break.
The Frogs plated two runs against a wild Luis Frias (0-4) in the second inning and never trailed thereafter, halting a three-game losing streak to the Hops with only their second win in the last ten road games.
Frias didn't make it out of the second inning after walking the bases loaded following an RBI double by Everett shortstop Connor Kopach. Brian Christian came in to try to get the final out of the inning, but uncorked a wild pitch that plated Kopach and gave the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Cal Raleigh led off the third inning with a solo home run to right, his seventh of the year, putting Everett in front 3-1. Christian retired eight of the last nine batters he faced before Travis Moths pitched two innings of perfect relief with a pair of strikeouts.
The Hops closed withing 3-2 in the fifth inning when Keshawn Lynch tripled to the left center field fence and scored on Jake McCarthy's double. The three-bagger was the only hit allowed by former Harvard pitcher Noah Zavolas (4-2), who struck out four batters with one walk over 3 2/3 innings.
Andy Yerzy led off the sixth with a double off Everett's Cody Mobley, but Joey Rose fanned, Jorge Perez grounded out to second and Ryan Tufts tapped back to the mound to end the game-tying threat.
The AquaSox tacked on two insurance runs off Wesley Rodriguez in the final two innings, while Ben Onyshko and Nolan Hoffman combined to retire the final seven Hillsboro batters, the sideslinging Hoffman carding his third save with a strikeout in the ninth.
Iwakuma, a seven-year MLB veteran who finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2013, became the first MLB All-Star to play at Ron Tonkin Field. Making his first live-game appearance since May of 2017 following shoulder surgery, he surrendered back-to-back base hits to Geraldo Perdomo and Yerzy in the first inning. Joey Rose drove in Perdomo with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Hops a 1-0 lead. Iwakuma is due to make one more appearance for Everett, where he will pitch two innings up in Vancouver.
Yerzy and Lynch each had two hits for the Hops, who outhit the AquaSox 6-5 in the game.
The Hops and AquaSox close out the five-game series at 1:05 p.m. Monday before a scheduled day off for the NWL on Tuesday. Monday's game will air live on 103.7 FM The Legend, wtih pregame coverage starting at 1 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.