Marcos Tineo, Hillsboro Hops Smother Eugene 5-0
Marcos Tineo (W, 6-2) shined on the mound as he struck out eight Eugene Emeralds batters on the way to a 5-0 shut-out victory by the Hillsboro Hops. Conor Grammes started the game and combined with Tineo on the shut out. It was a case of the rookie getting things started and the veteran finishing it off.
Bit By Bit
Tonight, the Hops did not have the offensive knockout blow of last night’s five run first inning. This time, they chipped away at the scoreboard more like a talented sculptor removing pieces at a time until the shape came together. The Hops scored no more than a single run in one inning. Instead, they scored just a single run in five different innings. And they all were in the first six innings of the game.
Even more amazing, Hillsboro scored five runs on only six hits. The visiting team also had source help in other areas as well: three walks and 2 hit batsmen gave the Hops five more base runners to work with. Throw in two solo home runs by Tristin English and Dominic Canzone and four stolen bases by Ricky Martinez, Jorge Barrosa, Jesus Marriaga and Dominic Canzone for help as well. It turned out to be a very efficient night for the Hops at the plate.
More Than Just Strikes
But, the night belonged to the pitchers. Conor Grammes and Marcos Tineo held the Emeralds to three hits on the night and did not issue one walk among them. Nor did the Emeralds steal a base. The only help they received were two hit batsmen of their own giving the Emeralds a total of five base runners on the night.
But, the big power from the mound came in strikes. Grammes and Tineo combined for twelve strike outs. In a remarkable symmetry, Grammes and Tineo shared the exact same per nine values for the game. Grammes allowed one hit and struck out four in three innings. Tineo doubled that exactly with two hits and eight strike-outs in six innings.
Didier Vargas (L, 1-3) started for the Emeralds, going four innings and giving up three runs for the loss.
Playoffs Are Coming
The first game is more than just one game, as well. These two teams are battling for first place in the Southern Division second half pennant race. Both teams entered this game with Eugene one game behind the division leading Hillsboro Hops. With the Hops win and the Emeralds’ loss, that gap has now grown to two games behind. There are twelve games left to play, so there is still plenty of time left, but each opportunity missed is one less chance to win the division and go to the playoffs. Whoever wins the second half will get to play the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the first round of the playoffs.
Both of these teams will meet again Wednesday night for game two of this three game series. If the Eugene Emeralds (14-12) can win the last two games, they will climb into a tie with Hillsboro atop the division with ten games left to play. But, if the Hillsboro Hops (16-10) can sweep the Emeralds, they will move on with a four game lead with ten games left. It may not sound like much of a difference but this is the last time both teams will play each other before the end of the season. Playing one game in this series is like playing two games somewhere else.
Tyler Holton (3-0) takes the mound for Hillsboro. In his last appearance on Friday, Holton went five scoreless innings allowing only two hits in his third win of the season. Yovanny Cruz (0-0) faces Holton for the Emeralds. In Cruz’ last appearance on Thursday, he lasted 4.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits in the no decision.
Stay with the Minor League Sports Report for game recaps throughout the season. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops home games. Next home game will be August 28th, when the Boise Hawks come to town for the last Hops homestand of the season.