Yerald Martinez Grand Slam Big Blow in Helena Brewers 5-4 Victory
After dropping their last two games, the Helena Brewers were looking to get back to .500 and wanted a fast start on the Fourth of July to do so. Five first inning runs gave them that quick start, but that would be all the runs they would score, hanging on for the 5-4 victory over the Billings Mustangs. Carlos Herrera earned his second victory of the season and Yerald Martinez hit a first inning grand slam to lead the way.
Mac Sceroler started for Billings and would last just one inning. After retiring Jose Gomez to start the game, Chad McClanahan and Jay Felciano drew back-to-back walks. Sceroler then struck out Brent Diaz and the inning looked like it may end without any damage, but Gabriel Garcia walked to load the bases before Zach Clark beat out a ground ball for a base hit that scored McClanahan. That brought Yerald Martinez to the plate, who drilled his second home run of the season over the wall in right-center to make it 5-0.
Carlos Herrera retired six of the first seven batters he faced, but in the third Billings would get two of those runs back. Morgan Lofstrom led off the inning with his first home run of the season. Two batters later, Jeter Downs blasted his first homer of the year over the center field wall to cut the deficit to three.
In the fifth this became a two-run game. Alejo Lopez started the inning by hitting a ball into right field that carried and went all the way to the wall. Lopez raced in for a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Lofstrom to make it 5-3.
The fifth would be the last inning for Carlos Herrera (2-0). The Helena starter allowed 4-hits, 2-walks, and 3-earned runs. He struck out 6 and nearly two-thirds of his pitches thrown were for strikes.
Rodrigo Benoit took over for Helena and pitched a perfect sixth, but Billings would get a run against him in the seventh. Lopez led off with his second triple of the game, and scored on a single by Lofstrom. Benoit buckled down, however, striking out the side to end the threat.
Andrew Vernon came on in the eighth and pitched a scoreless frame. Parker Bean came in for the Helena Brewers in the ninth and struck out two batters to close out the game. That was his first save of the season.
Yerald Martinez had the big bat for the Brewers with his grand slam. Alejo Lopez was 2-4 with 2-runs and 2-triples for the Mustangs. Morgan Lofstrom was 2-3 with a run and 3-RBI.
Helena continues their series against the Mustangs tomorrow. Harold Chirino (1-1, 5.27) starts for the Brewers. Jhon De Jesus (0-1, 2.31) will go for Billings. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier