HELENA, MONT. - Thanks to a dominant pitching performance and nine unanswered runs, the Missoula Osprey (11-10) bolted past the Helena Brewers (10-11) for a 9-2 victory at Kindrick Legion Field on Sunday afternoon.
After falling behind 2-0 in the third inning, the Osprey exploded for a four-run response in the subsequent half inning. Eduardo Diaz led off the fourth with a single to right field-his first of three hits in the game. The next batter, Joey Rose, doubled to the wall in center field, scoring Diaz from first and cutting the Missoula deficit in half. Next to the plate, Andy Yerzy blooped a single into left field to score Rose and tie the game. Ernie De La Trinidad added a double to put runners on second and third for second baseman Joel Novas, who lined a single into center field to score both runners, giving the Osprey a 4-2 lead.
Missoula added another run in the top of the fifth after Gabriel Maciel led off with a triple and scored on Diaz's second single of the game. The RBI extended Diaz's streak with at least one run batted in to six games. Later in the inning, Yerzy pushed across Missoula's sixth run of the afternoon with his second RBI-single of the game.
Leading 6-2, Osprey starter Luis Madero settled into cruise control, dominating Helena's lineup in the process of earning his third win. The right-hander logged his third quality start by tossing six innings in which he allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits and a walk, while striking out six. Now with 28 strikeouts, Madero sits by himself atop the Pioneer League leaderboard.
In the top of the ninth, the Osprey added three final runs on a run-scoring passed ball, an RBI-fielder's choice by Joey Rose, and an RBI-groundout by Yerzy. Continuing his resurgence, Yerzy finished 2-for-5 with three RBI. The three runs in the ninth pushed Missoula's lead to its final margin of 9-2.
Between Madero and relievers Cole Stapler and Gabe Gonzalez, the Osprey staff combined to retire 15 of the final 16 hitters the Brewers sent to the batters box. Stapler worked two perfect frames, while Gonzalez fired a scoreless ninth. The win was the club's fourth in five games.
The Osprey return to action on Monday night in Helena for a 7:05 pm first pitch against the Brewers. Coverage begins at 6:45 with the Mission Paint Pregame Show on 102.9 ESPN Missoula.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.