A walk-off win, retired numbers and other Mustangs notes

A walk-off win, retired numbers and other Mustangs notes

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*** Another thrilling night at Dehler Park. This time the Mustangs rallied for four runs in the bottm of the ninth inning, with the game-winner coming off the bat of Dominic D'Anna.

D'Anna's bases-loaded double with one out lifted the Mustangs to a 7-6 win over Idaho Falls Friday night and moved Billings within one game of first place Great Falls in the North Division

Just six games remain in the Pioneer League's first half.

D'Anna has been with the Mustangs for just a week (he was called up from the Arizona League on July 17) and he was playing in just his fourth game with the team.

D'Anna said he sensed Idaho Falls reliever Alexander Rivers, who had allowed four of the previous five batters to reach base, was on the ropes when he went to the plate with the game on the line.

"I was really looking for something I could drive between the gaps," said D'Anna, who was batting .406 in the Arizona League at the time of his promotion. "He just left a pitch down the middle and I took advantage of it.

"I figured he didn't have much (left) and I thought he was just going to lay one in there for me and I couldn't miss it. And I got it."

*** Dayne Read, Theo Bowe and Billy Hamilton started the ninth- inning rally with consecutive singles. Read slipped coming around third base as he tried to put on the breaks so as not to run through manager Delino DeShield's stop sign on Hamilton's hit, but when the Idaho Falls' throw went into second base, Read got up and scored anyway.

Rivers then appeared to be distracted by the speedy Bowe and Hamilton, who were standing on second and first, respectively. They eventually reached second and third on a double steal, and Rivers then walked Devin Lohman to load the bases. Rivers struck out Yorman Rodriguez, but D'Anna belted a drive to deep center to win the game.

"The big thing was getting those first two guys on," DeShields said. "(Rivers) was really concerned about the base runners and I think they distracted him a little bit. That's how quick it can happen. You lose your focus for a little bit and game's over."

*** Starter Daniel Tuttle has been solid at Dehler Park. Friday was different though. Tuttle allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits through five innings. Going into the game, Tuttle was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings at Dehler Park.

He was coming off the heels, though, of his worst start. He was touched for 10 hits and seven runs, six earned, July 18 in Casper. So after a good start to the season, Tuttle has struggled in his last two starts.

"The main thing is composure," DeShields said. "He's got to pitch through the tough times. Up until the last couple starts things have been pretty easy for him out there, but the last couple he's run into some pretty tricky situations and not the best composure.

"But that's something you expect out of young guys, so hopefully he'll get better."

Tucker Barnhart, who caught Tuttle in Friday night's start, felt his pitcher let some non-strike calls get to him.

"He was up and down," Barnhart said. "He had his innings tonight where he was great and he showed some flaws where he was thinking and let the umpire get in his head a little bit.

"But all in all he was good. He's always good out there. He's a competitive kid."

*** The Mustangs wore authentic Reds jerseys as part of a Future Games promotion. They'll do the same in tonight's game.

Mustangs players kept their own numbers, however, so Theo Bowe wore No. 5, the retired number of Reds Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.

"I didn't really know much of him because I didn't grow up when he was playing," Bowe admitted, "but I know he was a real good player and I'm glad to wear his number." 

Other players who got to wear retired numbers were Tucker Barnhart (Joe Morgan's No. 8), Devin Lohman (Dave Concepcion's No. 13), Sean Conner (Ted Kluszewski's No. 18) and Chris Berset (Tony Perez's No. 24).

"They can be big-leaguers for a day," said DeShields, who had a 13-year major league career. "They asked if they could keep the uniforms and I'm like, 'Ah, no. You've got to give 'em back. You gotta wait your turn.' "

 

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