There oughta be an ordinance.
Fireworks broke out late Wednesday night at Lindborg-Cregg Field, fully a week and 10 innings after Independence Day.
When the bombs stopped bursting in air, the Missoula Osprey had an improbable 7-6 victory over Idaho Falls after Padres reliever Wilmer Villatoro walked the only three batters he faced on 13 pitches. The first walk loaded the bases, the second tied the game and the third, to Mike Lopez, won it for Missoula.
Home plate umpire Todd Waters ejected Idaho Falls manager Jake Molina for launching a verbal mortar assault after the tying base-on-balls to Javier Boll. Padres catcher Omar Falcon then got the heave-ho, following Waters up the first-base line and bumping the umpire from behind with his chest.
The Padres seemed to be most upset because the one strike that Villatoro threw, to Boll, was followed by a pitch in the same vicinity - low and away - that Waters called ball four.
Idaho Falls pitchers, who lead the Pioneer League in walks by a healthy margin, issued seven free passes all told.
"It was a good one to win, when you're in a race like we are and Billings keeps on winning," Osprey manager Chip Hale said after a 10-minute, closed-door meeting with his team and coaches.
Billings maintained its three-game edge in the Pioneer North with 13 to play in the first half. The Mustangs, whom the Osprey host for the last three games of the first half July 22-24, blanked Ogden 3-0 on Wednesday.
Missoula (14-11) eked out its seventh win in a dozen one-run ballgames and raised its record to 10-3 against teams from the Pioneer South. The Osprey have yet to face Provo, which boasts the league's best record at 20-5.
Idaho Falls (10-14) wiped out an early 3-0 deficit and grabbed a 5-3 lead with two runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Missoula, which lost leadoff hitter Lino Garcia early in the game after he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch, was faced with coming back against the Padres' ace closer, southpaw Ben Fox, in the ninth.
The O's pulled it off when pinch hitter Carlos Robinson launched a fly ball to center field that Mewelde Moore, a star running back at Tulane who'd taken over the inning before, lost the ball in the dark eastern sky. It fell between him and right fielder Carlos Millan and Robinson pulled up at third with a triple.
Craig Nevels, also pinch hitting, knocked pinch runner Kevin Brand in from third with a skitter to shortstop. Jack Aquino's throw to first was just late, and Nevels had a hustling infield hit. Jesus Cota singled off second baseman Josh Barfield's glove and Scott Hairston, on a tear lately, lined a single to right to score Nevels and tie the game at 5-5.
Idaho Falls regained the lead in the top of the 10th when Francisco Selmo led off with a slicing double to right off O's closer Jesus Silva. Carlos Baez singled Selmo in before Silva picked off Baez, struck out Falcon and retired Millan on Boll's diving catch of a fly ball to center field.
Missoula continued to pester Fox in the bottom of the 10th as Kervin Jacobo singled and, two batters later, Samuel Montilla got a base hit. That brought in Villatoro.
"I'm really really proud of the guys for coming back against Fox," Hale said. "To me he's among the class of the league of the closers. We really liked his stuff. Usually when he comes in it's going to be pretty automatic."
Hairston extended his hitting streak to nine games with a pair of singles. Jeramy Janz, who turned a single into a hustling double in the eighth inning, also had two hits as did Montilla.
Idaho Falls' Moore, whose misplay in center field was key to Missoula's comeback, replaced Ruben Mora in the eighth inning. Mora entered the game batting .186 but had two singles, a double and two runs batted in before he was replaced.
Missoula starter Gabriel Mercedes was knocked out in the fifth inning and the Osprey used four relievers after that. Most effective was Heath Heiberger, in only his third appearance. He pitched a perfect eighth inning.
Together the two teams used nine pitchers and 36 players all told.
"I thought the guys, in the last few innings, scrapped and dived and made me proud," Hale said. "Early in the game we were a little lackadaisical and didn't come out like our team has to play. This team is a maximum-effort team, and when the effort is lacking a little bit, we have a hard time."
The O's and the Padres meet again Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
Bird songs: Brand, who was on third base when the winning run scored, leaves Thursday for South Bend of the Class A Midwest League to take Shawn Lagana's spot as utility infielder. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Lagana, an Osprey last season, to Anaheim and the Angels assigned him to Provo. Missoula won't see Lagana and the Angels until Aug. 10, when they square off in Provo for the first of six straight meetings. … Boll, whose walk tied the game in the 10th, was the third Osprey to fill the leadoff spot in the order after Garcia left with his injury. Garcia has delivered three game-winning hits.
Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at 523-5266 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Osprey 7, Padres 6, 10 innings
|Mora cf||4||0||3||2||Garcia cf||0||1||0||0|
|Moore ph/cf||1||0||0||0||Chilsom ph/cf||2||0||0||0|
|Aquino ss||3||0||0||1||Nevels ph||1||1||1||1|
|Barfield 2b||4||1||1||0||Boll cf||0||0||0||1|
|Hastings 1b||5||0||1||0||Lopex 3b||3||1||1||1|
|Giorgis lf||3||0||0||0||Cota 1b||3||1||1||1|
|Olson lf||0||0||0||0||Hairston 2b||5||0||2||1|
|Selmo dh||5||1||3||0||Janz lf||5||0||2||2|
|Kulbe pr||0||1||0||0||Jacobo dh||5||1||1||0|
|Baez 3b||5||1||2||2||Vugteveen rf||5||0||1||0|
|Falcon c||3||1||0||0||Montilla c||5||1||2||0|
|Martinez c||0||0||0||0||Hillinski ss||3||0||0||0|
|Millan rf||5||1||0||1||Robinson ph||1||0||1||0|
E-Mora, Baez, Vugteveen, Hillinski. DP- Idaho Falls 1, Missoula 1. LOB-Idaho Falls 9, Missoula 12. 2B-Mora, Selmo, Janz. 3B-Robinson. SB-Mora, Barfield, Garcia. CS-Chilsom. SF-Aquino, Cota.
|Fox L 1-1||1.1||6||4||4||0||0|
|Silva W 3-0||2.0||2||1||1||0||3|
PB-Montilla. HBP-by Martinez (Garcia). Umpires-Todd Waters, Bojo Morris. T-3:14. A-1,198.
Medicine Hat 9, Casper 6
Provo 7, Great Falls 0
Missoula 7, Idaho Falls 6, (10)
Billings 3, Ogden 0
Casper at Medicine Hat
Great Falls at Provo
Idaho Falls at Missoula
Ogden at Billings
Jays 9, Rockies 6
Burte, Almond (3), Varges (5), Simpson (8), and Ingram. Costello, Fuller (5), Medina (6), Ogiltree (9) and Corrente. W-Medina (1-2). L-Almond (0-3). HRs-Casper, Pilkington (1). Medicine Hat-McEachern (2).
Angels 7, Dodgers 0
Astacio, Lizarraga (5) and Virgen; Dennis, Smith (8) and Mathis. W-Dennis, 3-0. L-Astacio, 0-2. HRs-Provo, Swenson (7), Porter (5).
Mustangs 3, Raptors 0
Castillo, Saenz (7), Huggins (8) and Villanueva; Severino and Prince. W-Severino (2-1). L-Castillo (2-2). A-4,059.
Up next: Missoula (Holsten 1-1) vs. Idaho Falls (Perez 2-3) , 7 o'clock, Lindborg-Cregg Field, KGRZ (1450 AM)