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Marlyn Tisdale needed some shuteye.

When the Billings Mustangs wrapped up their longest road trip of the year with a 4-5 record and short on sleep, they arrived in Billings Wednesday at about 4 a.m., just eight hours before they needed to report to Cobb Field for their Independence Day game against Medicine Hat.

In the lockerroom before the game, Tisdale, the Mustangs starting pitcher, finally gave in to temptation. He took a brief nap, one he estimated lasted about five minutes.

“It was a real short one, a power nap,” Tisdale said, breaking into a big grin after the Mustangs beat the Blue Jays 3-0 Wednesday behind his performance. “I’ve got to do them more often if I get these kind of results.”

The

DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette Staff

Splinters fly from the broken bat of Billings Mustangs’ Dave Molidor just before Molidor flied out to second base in the fourth inning of play against Medicine Hat in Pioneer League action Wednesday evening. Molidor later hit a two-run home run helping the Mustangs to a 3-0 win.

results couldn’t have been much better for Tisdale. Based on his four-hit shutout of the Blue Jays, the Mustangs might want to consider nap time as part of the day’s routine. Then again, whatever Tisdale does on the day of his starts should become routine for the rest of the staff.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander improved to 4-0 on the season, dropping his ERA to 2.00. He’s thrown at least six innings in three of his four starts and he’s walked just four batters — none on Wednesday — in 27 innings. He struck out seven, including Armando Guerrero to end the game, bringing the 4,851 fans in attendance to their feet.

The only time Medicine Hat threatened was in the first inning, when Juan Peralta reached base on an error and Rodney Medina followed with a single. But Tisdale got Cesar Martin to hit into a double play and Aaron McEchran to ground out.

From there, Tisdale was in complete control. No other Medicine Hat runner reached second base and Tisdale retired the last 10 batters he faced.

“I can’t say enough about the way he pitched,” Mustangs manager Rick Burleson said. “It was the best performance of the year so far. He’s pitched good every time out, so I’m excited about the fact that he still had pitches left to go out there and go for the shutout and all that. He did a great job.”

Locked in a pitcher’s duel with Blue Jays starter Charles Tolanoa, it looked like the Mustangs would need every ounce of effort from Tisdale. The Mustangs were shut out themselves by the Missoula Osprey on Tuesday, the last game of their nine-game road trip, and Wednesday’s game was scoreless through five innings.

But

tonight Medicine Hat at Billings, 7 p.m., Cobb Field

Billings broke out in the sixth against reliever John Chadwick (0-1). Yorganis Chourio led off the inning with a triple and scored on William Bergolla’s double. After Noochie Varner and Jesse Gutierrez struck out, Dave Molidor hit a two-run shot over the 385-foot mark in right-center. The home run, Molidor’s first of the season, came on a 3-2 pitch and gave the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.

“I think it might even have been ball four,” Molidor said. “I certainly didn’t want to take a called third strike, so I was looking to hack.”

It was all the offense Tisdale needed. Starting in the sixth inning, Burleson and pitching coach Ted Power kept checking with Tisdale to see how their pitcher was feeling.

Tisdale’s reply each time was to say he wanted to stay in the game.

“I felt good,” he said, forgetting about his previous lack of sleep. “I didn’t want to give this game up.”

Notes: Eight of the Mustangs’ next 15 games are against Medicine Hat. All eight of them are at Cobb Field where the Mustangs are 7-0 so far. … Varner went 0-for-4 to end his 12-game hitting streak. He hit .412 (21-for-51) during that stretch. … Churio and Edwin Encarnacion, who both joined the Mustangs while the team was on the road, both played their first games at Cobb Field. Chourio went 2-for-2 after replacing B.J. Hawes, who was hit in the left arm on a pitch by Talanoa in the third inning. Encarnacion was 1-for-3. … Wednesday’s crowd was the largest of the season for the Mustangs.

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