Even with thirty feet of netting above the right field fence protecting them from flying spheres, the pooches who roam the park across Century Boulevard from Ron Tonkin Field better not get too comfortable.
Hillsboro first baseman Francis Martinez rocketed a home run over that netting in the second inning, one of three run-scoring extra base hits in the first three innings for the Hops in a 6-0 victory over the Spokane Indians in front of 3,719 fans at Ron Tonkin Field Sunday.
The Hops have won the first three games of the five-game series, five straight wins overall, to clinch their third straight series win and fourth in five this year. They also stay even with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the Northwest League South Division standings at 11-6, tied for the league's best record.
Four pitchers combined on Hillsboro's first shutout of the season and all of the Hops runs came on three big blows in the first three innings.
Joey Rose tripled to the wall in left with two outs in the first inning, scoring Jorge Perez and Andy Yerzy to give Hillsboro a 2-0 lead. Martinez led off the bottom of the second with his mammoth home run, estimated in excess of 440 feet. Then in the third, Jake McCarthy cleared the wall in right with his first pro homer, a three-run shot that provided an early cushion for Hops' starting pitcher Matt Tabor.
Tabor had his best outing of the season, allowing four hits and no walks in five innings with three strikeouts to earn his first Northwest League win. Luis Castillo pitched two perfect innings of relief and West Tunnell and Kyler Stout combined to strike out four batters over the final two frames to complete the shutout.
Perez followed up his heroic, game-winning performance the night before with hits in his first three at bats, going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Ryan Dease took the loss for Spokane. The 19-year-old righthander, a fourth-round draft pick of the Rangers from a Florida baseball academy in 2017, had surrendered runs in just one of his previous three starts, but was tagged for all six runs and seven hits in four innings.
The Hops go for win number six in a row Monday in game four of the series. Arizona's fifth-round draft pick, former Oregon Duck Matt Mercer, will make his Hops debut and sixth-rounder Ryan Miller from Clemson is also due to pitch. Game time is 7:05 with pregame airtime at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.