Portland, Ore. --
Mikey Perez hit a two-out, go-ahead three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth as the Portland Pickles topped the Walla Walla Sweets 10-7 in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,347 at Walker Stadium Tuesday night. The game lasted 3 hours and 36 minutes.
Portland erased deficits of 3-0 and 7-3 to grab the series-opening win, bringing their 2nd half record to 2-2, 19-11 overall. The Sweets are now 2-2 as well, 17-14 overall. Portland improves to 13-2 at home this year in the West Coast League.
Trailing 3-0, the Pickles scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Zander Clarke lofted an RBI single to left that scored Jace McKinney, and with Mikey Perez batting and Carson Breshears on third, Clarke tried to intentionally get in a pickle between first and second. The throw from the Sweets catcher went into center field, however, scoring Breshears easily to make it 3-2.
Clarke drilled his eighth home run of the year in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot to left to tie the score at 3-3. It was the first of four home runs on the night for the home team.
Leo Nierenberg entered in relief of starter Michael Frias in the top of the fourth for Portland, and struck out seven of the first nine hitters he faced. But with two outs no one on in the sixth, Nirenberg couldn't get a final out, as the Sweets rallied to score four runs in the frame, taking a 7-3 lead.
Joey Cooper began the rally for the home team with a solo home run to start the bottom of the sixth, a solo shot to right field for his seventh long ball of the year. Two more runs scored in the inning, as Daniel Lopez singled and Noah Cardenas walked, bringing Breshears to the plate. He laced a stinger to the hole in short, but Sweets shortstop Jack Filby made a diving play to glove it, get up and fire to first. His throw was wide of the bag, though, scored an infield single and two RBI for Breshears as Lopez scored from third and Cardenas from second, making it a 7-6 ballgame.
Jake Berry tied things in the bottom of the seventh, connecting for his first home run of the year with two outs and nobody on base, knotting the score at 7-7 completing a second crooked-number comeback for Portland.
McKinney led off the bottom of the eighth by beating out an infield single to shortstop, and moved to second on a bunt by Breshears. Gio Diaz popped out, and Zander Clarke was intentionally walked. That set the stage for the cleanup hitter Perez, who was 0-for-4 leading up to the at-bat. Perez hit a 1-1 curve ball over the wall in left, his 3rd home run of the year, putting the Pickles in front 10-7.
Adam Davenport worked around a couple baserunners to pitch a scoreless ninth, his first save.
The Pickles and Sweets meet for game two of the series Wednesday, first pitch at 7:05pm.
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