Josh McMinn, Hillsboro Hops On Winning Track Over Ems, 7-4
Josh McMinn is slowly building a winning record on the mound with the help of his teammates on the mound and at the plate. Tonight, working together, they proved more than the Eugene Emeralds could handle as the Hillsboro Hops took the game 7-4.
Errors and Miscues Rule the Night
The Ems struck first blood in the first inning with what would become a series of errors from both teams throughout the night. But, those errors would become nothing more than equalizers as both teams ended up with two unearned runs each. The first error helped the Ems score two runs for their only lead in the game.
Both Marco Luciano and Sean Roby singled and scored but not until after what should have been the third out of the inning. The first error (E7) allowed Luciano to score. A passed ball allowed Roby to score.
Where the error hurt the most was with Hops starting pitcher Shumpei Yoshikawa. During his almost four innings on the mound, Shumpei pitched shutout ball. The only runs he gave up were the two unearned runs in the first. But, that isn’t what shortened his time on the mound to less than four innings. The error extended the first inning.
While the number of innings do define a pitcher’s performance to a degree, the number of pitches count for more. Many times, a pitcher is limited to a certain pitch count before the game even starts. By using up extra pitches after an error, those pitches have to come from somewhere. More often than not, those are pitches that would have been used later in the game.
Hops Quick Answer
It didn’t take the Hops long to equalize the score. In the bottom of the first, AJ Vukovich hit his first of three singles to bring Ronny Simon and Blaze Alexander home for a tie game. Vukovich went on to hit two more singles and scored a run himself in the seventh.
The Hops got their first lead in the next inning when Elian Miranda walked and scored on a wild pitch. Never again would the Hops trail in the game. They would hold on to the lead and build on it. The Hops scored two more in the fifth when Blaze Alexander reached base on a throwing error (E5) and scored on another throwing error (E6). Tristin English followed closely behind to score the second run. Following the motif of the night, English reached base on a fielder’s choice gone wrong.
Then the seventh happened. Franklin Labour hit his two-run double, scoring Jairo Pomares and Logan Wyatt. An errant throw from shortstop Alexander to home trying to stop Wyatt from scoring allowed Labour to stretch his double to third base. The first run was earned as it was scored before the bad throw.
In the bottom of the inning, the Hops answered with two runs of their own. Just like in the first inning. This time, Blaze Alexander reached after being hit by a pitch from Travis Perry and eventually scored on a throw from catcher Ricardo Genoves, trying to catch Vukovich stealing second, sailed into center field. Blaze easily scored while the ball was being chased down in the outfield. Vukovich, who had reached on his third single of the night, came home on Axel Andueza’s RBI single.
Josh McMinn Takes Over
Starter Kai-Wei Teng (L, 5-6) for the Ems went five innings but gave up five runs on five hits. Only three of them earned but Teng did not get enough run support to even match the three runs. Tyler Schimpf successfully closed the eighth striking out the side.
Shumpei Yoshikawa started for the Hops and allowed two runs on three hits. But, none of those runs earned. Josh McMinn (W, 2-1) finished the fourth and covered the fifth facing six batters during his time and striking out three of them. Then it was a series of relievers and a closer.
Nick Snyder (H, 8) earned his team-leading eighth hold by keeping the Ems hitless in the sixth. Kai-Wei Lin (H, 4) allowed two runs in the seventh but only one earned run. Finally, Yaramil Hiraldo (S, 9) earned his team-leading ninth save by keeping the Ems hitless in the eighth and ninth.
The win helped the Hillsboro Hops (48-57) keep pace with Vancouver who also won tonight. The two teams are one and a half games apart. Tri City did fall another game behind to six and a half games separating the two.
The loss dropped the Eugene Emeralds (59-48) to one and a half games out of first. Spokane is now in the top position having traded places with Everett. Hillsboro now leads their six game series with Eugene 3-1. They have assured themselves of at least a split with two more games left to win the series.
The next game (#5) is Saturday night at 7:05 PM. The Hops tied four of the five previous series and were swept in the other. They have yet to win a series against Eugene this year.
Fireworks will be after the game for the second night in a row. This weekend will also be the last two official home games of the season. The next one won’t be until April of next year. If you can’t make the game, you can catch it on MiLB.tv, listen on 620 AM radio or follow me on Twitter for half inning updates. You will find my Twitter handle below.