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Missoula pitcher Jared Ray delivers a pitch during the second inning of Monday evening’s game against Billings at Ogren-Allegiance Park. The Osprey won 5-2.

The Missoula Osprey climbed into a first-place tie in the Pioneer League’s North Division standings after rallying for a 5-2 victory over the Billings Mustangs on a beautiful Monday evening for baseball at Ogren-Allegiance Park.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the O’s (9-6) pulled even on a run-scoring ground out to second by center fielder Socrates Brito.

Missoula designated hitter Jake Lamb followed by crushing a 2-2 delivery by Billings reliever Tony Amezcua over the right-center field fence for a two-run homer. It was the first professional home run by the sixth-round pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft and gave the O’s the lead for good.

“They had been pitching me sliders most of the game and I’m not used to seeing righty sliders,” said Lamb, who finished 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .357. “I just got my foot down, was looking off speed and got it.”

The Osprey added a final run in the bottom of the eighth on an error by Mustangs backup shortstop Sammy Diaz.

Diaz was forced into action in the top of the seventh after starter Brandon Dailey appeared to suffer a knee injury rounding third base in the sixth. After getting tagged out and spending several minutes on the turf in pain, Dailey was carted off while being showered by applause by the 2,241 in attendance.

Left fielder Ty Linton paced the Missoula bats by going 3 for 5 with a double and a triple as Missoula ran its winning streak to a season-high three games and joined Billings atop the league standings. Linton, who has struggled at the plate in his second season in Missoula, lifted his average from .167 to .212.

Missoula catcher Michael Perez gave the Osprey the lead in the second inning with a solo home run, his third of the season.

“It was just a matter of time for our hitters tonight,” said Osprey second baseman Danny Pulfer. “We knew we were going to get to their pen sooner or later. When Lamb hit that ball I was on third base and once it left his bat I knew I wasn’t going to need to tag up.”

After Missoula starting pitcher Jared Ray threw a solid five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, Michael Rivera relieved and earned the win.

Rivera (1-1) threw 2 2-3 scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out one.

Justin Thompson was called on in relief of Rivera with Daniel Pigott on first and two out in the eighth. Thompson fanned Robert Ramirez to end the threat, then retired the Mustangs in order in the ninth to close it out and earn his second save.

“Our pitchers have been tearing it up out here,” Lamb said. “They make our job easy because as long as we score three or four runs, we know the pitchers are going to put us in a great position to win some ballgames.”

Amezcua (0-2) took the loss for the Mustangs. He threw the final three innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits and two walks while fanning four.

Billings center fielder Beau Amaral was 2 for 4 with a double as the Mustangs managed just four hits.

The Osprey will look to complete a four-game sweep of the Mustangs and take over first place by themselves when the teams meet at Ogren-Allegiance on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Notes: During the game Missoula pitcher Andrew Barbosa was named the PBL’s Pitcher of the Week and Pulfer was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. Last week in two starts on the mound, Barbosa tossed 12 innings of scoreless ball, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out 18. After starting the season 0 for 15, Pulfer hit .526 (10 for 19) with three doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBIs for the week ending July 1. ... The first five hitters in the Billings lineup entered Monday’s game each hitting .333 or better. ... There will be a fireworks show following Tuesday night’s game and tickets are expected to sell out.

Billings Missoula

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Amaral cf 4 1 2 0 Pulfer 2b 4 1 1 0

Winker rf 1 0 0 0 Brito cf 4 0 1 1

Dickinson 3b 2 0 0 1 Lamb dh 4 1 2 2

Sanchez 1b 3 1 0 0 Flores 1b 3 0 0 0

Pigott lf 4 0 0 0 Perez c 4 1 1 1

Ramirez 2b 4 0 1 1 Bream 3b 4 0 0 0

Lentz dh 4 0 0 0 Linton lf 4 1 3 0

Gomez c 4 0 0 0 Bianco rf 4 0 0 0

Dailey ss 1 0 0 0 Leonard ss 3 1 0 0

Diaz ss 2 0 1 0

Totals 29 2 4 2 Totals 34 5 8 4

Billings 001 001 000 – 2

Missoula 010 000 31x – 5

E – Dickinson, Perez. LOB – Billings 7, Missoula 8. 2B – Brito, Amaral, Linton. 3B – Linton. HR – Perez (3), Lamb (1). SF – Dickinson, SB – Amaral (1), Pulfer (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Billings

Cisco 3.0 4 1 1 1 2

Langfield 2.0 2 0 0 0 2

Amezcua L, 0-2 3.0 2 4 3 2 4

Missoula

Ray 5.0 3 2 2 4 4

Rivera W, 1-1 2.2 1 0 0 1 1

Thompson S, 2 1.1 0 0 0 0 2

WP – Cisco, Amezcua, Rivera, PB – Gomez, HBP – Dailey (by Ray). Umpires – HP: Farris Pierson. 1B: Charlie Ramos. T – 2:27. A – 2,241

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