It was going to happen – it just took an awfully long time. The Boise Hawks, who had won just two road games since July 1 – going 2-18 on the road over that stretch, including nine losses in a row, were going to win another road game. Finally, on Saturday night, in front of a sellout crowd in Spokane, the Hawks put together a complete game – three home runs, a gutty starting effort, and a dominanting performance out of the pen, ending in a 7-3 victory over the Indians. (Hear the Highlights from the game – http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights8-20-11.wma)
Streaks ended – the Hawks jumped out to a 5-0 lead, including a run in the first…the first time in eight games that Boise had scored a first inning run. It was also the first lead the team had on the road since July 28 at Everett (spanning eight games), and their first road win since a 8-6 victory in Everett on July 27.
Ryan Cuneo (who hit a pinch hit homer on Friday night – listen to the call here: http://yotestats.i8.com/hawks/Highlights8-19-11.wma) started the hit parade with an RBI double in the first and added a two-run homer – his fourth with the team in nine games (adding his 14th RBI of the year in tonight’s loss in Yakima). Brad Zapenas and Willson Contreras each hit their first homers of the season. But it was Joe Zeller in the back-end of the pen that was story, as his knucklers worked magic after six innings of the high-octane gas thrown by Jose Rosario, who picked up his staff-high fourth win.
THREE’S A CHARM: Wes Darvill had his biggest game as a pro on Sunday night in Yakima, going 3-for-3 with three doubles – the first time that a Boise Hawk has clubbed three doubles in four seasons…Josh Vitters was the last to do so on Sept. 1, 2008 in Spokane.
ROSTER MOVES: Bad news for outfielder Blair Springfield, who injured his left shoulder after crashing into the outfield wall on Thursday night in Spokane. The injury is severe enough that the Cubs have placed him on the 7-Day DL and sent him to the training facility in Mesa, Ariz., for further evaluation. On the flip side, the Hawks got some help in the bullpen, as lefty Andrew McKirahan of the University of Texas, and right-hander Yoanner Negrin, a 26-year-old Cuban defector, have joined the team.
THE DRIVE OVER: It’s just three hours from Spokane to Yakima, but an interesting drive through some of the bare desert plains of Washington state. A couple of oasis’ dot the landscape (Moses Lake is one of them), before the plunge to the Columbia River gorge – before the climb over hills to Yakima. The drive saw some interesting scenery – as the US Army was conducting drills at their Yakima Valley firing range, with tanks launching long-range shells to targets, all visible from the interstate.
We saw one of the largest wind farms in the state on the climb up Vantage hill as well – and every time I see the turbines, it brings back a memory of driving through the middle of nowhere in Montana and seeing one of the blades of the turbine laying on the ground. How the wind moves it is beyond me.