Tucson Toros baseball
Toros drop home game, despite unusual double play
Apodaca completes 5-2-2 DP to keep game tied, RoadRunners score winning run in seventh
Catcher Luis Apodaca had just one hit at the plate in the Toros’ 4-3 loss against the St. George RoadRunners on Sunday night, but his unusual double play will be remembered.
In the sixth inning with the game tied at 3-3, Apodaca had tracked down Brett Flowers between third base and home.
After applying the first tag, he then darted down Scott Clement in between second and third base for the double play.
The catcher snagged both runners to keep the game even, heading into the bottom half of the frame.
“After I got the first out, I went to try to throw the ball to second base but no one was there,” Apodaca said. “So then I was like, ‘oh my God, I have to run,’ and I got him. I was really excited (by the 5-2-2 double play).”
The Sunday night game was a close contest.
After Toros starting pitcher Cody Walden posted a hitless first inning, he gave up an RBI double to Flowers to put the RoadRunners up 1-0 in the second inning.
The Toros answered with a booming solo homer to centerfield by Cristobal Santana in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at one.
The Toros took the lead in the third on back-to-back sacrifice flies by shortstop Ryan Priddy and Jose Valdez, after Walden had walked and Josh Womack had doubled to center.
Tucson led 3-1 after those scores.
“They were actually throwing the ball over the plate tonight,” Womack said. “The whole series, they were just throwing the ball off the plate, and that makes it extremely hard to hit fair. Today, (the ball) was like a balloon. It was amazing.”
Womack had two of the Toros’ seven total hits on the night.
Tucson’s 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the lineup combined for just two hits in 11 at-bats.
“We didn’t hit tonight,” Toros manager Tim Johnson said. “We left guys in scoring position, and our .400 hitter (Lino Garcia) was out of the lineup. We just didn’t hit.”
Chipping away at the Toros’ two-run lead, St. George inched within one on a three-hit fourth inning. They then erased Tucson’s lead completely on a bases loaded groundout by Carlos Sosa in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3.
“The best part of tonight was that I was able to get out of tough situations,” Walden said. “The bad part was getting into them. I also didn’t having the accuracy I usually do. I kept starting off guys at 2-0 (ball count), as well as rushing my windup. Once I slowed down, I was able to make the pitch to get the guy out.”
Walden went five innings giving up three runs and seven hits, also picking up one strikeout and issuing a walk.
RoadRunners starting pitcher Reed Dickert (2-2) had a quality outing, going seven innings on six hits and five strikeouts. Both hurlers gave up three earned runs.
“Facing Dickert was hard,” Apodaca said. “I tried to keep my hands inside the ball, because he was pitching me inside at first. But after the second AB, he started pitching me outside, and I had to adjust.”
The game remained tied until the top of the seventh, when center fielder Yosvanny Almario hit an RBI single to score Sosa to give the Roadrunners a 4-3 lead. Almario went 3 for 5 on the night.
“The difference between last start and this one was that I didn’t have the accuracy that I wanted tonight,” Walden said. “I was put into positions where I had to throw the ball right where the hitters wanted it.”
Matt Lincoln, who relieved Walden in the sixth inning, suffered the loss. Lincoln drops to a 0-3 record on the season. Roadrunners’ Charlie Weatherby recorded his first save of the year.
With Sunday’s defeat, the Toros drop to 10-12 on the season and into a third place tie with the Orange County Flyers, four and a half games behind the Yuma Scorpions.
After closing out their homestand with the RoadRunners, the team will face the Tijuana Cimarrones on the road for a three-game set, starting on Tuesday.
“Tijuana has a lot of experienced guys,” Apodaca said. “So we’re going to continue what we’re doing – playing hard and seeing what happens.”
The team will return home for a weekend series with the Chico Outlaws.
It's not yet known if the Toros will face Japanese "Knuckle Princess" Eri Yoshida, who pitched four innings for the Chico Outlaws in an 8-4 win over the Scorpions on Saturday. She gave up one eared run and notched her first strikeout in U.S. pro ball.