It was a languid Tuesday evening, humid and at times still. On the field, the Edinburg Roadrunners were dormant in the beginning, and then exploded, only to come up a bit short. Their 8-4 loss to San Angelo came after they’d rallied from a 6-0 early hole to get to within two in the sixth.
When catcher Osiel Flores made a couple of sweet plays to keep the Colts off the board in the seventh - one a slick pounce-and-throw on a bunt attempt and the other a laser strike to third to cut down a would-be base-stealer - the home side was right in it.
But Angel Reyes (seventh inning), Vincent Blue (eighth) and Amado German (ninth) each scorched balls with runners on, only to have the same San Angelo bloke make the plays with the glove.
So it was down again for Edinburg, 8-11 and still looking up from fifth place in the 6-team ULB, with only lowly Laredo behind. Monday it was fielding that did the deed as all six runs in a 6-2 loss to the Colts were unearned. Tuesday it was a bad start from lefty Miguel Martinez, who was out of there by the second. The Runner middle-relief corps did its job, as first Austin Bridges and then Bryan Martin held the Colts scoreless after the second. But Kelly Casares struggled for the second outing in a row, allowing a pair of runs in the ninth to pad the San Angelo lead.
After the rotten start, Edinburg narrowed the gap with three runs in the fifth, getting the first hits of the night off starter Brett Lester. With two outs, Blue lined one under the glove of second sacker Jason Diaz with Robert Matlock and Nick Aranda scoring. Aranda, who’d gone 4 for 4 Monday, raced all the way from first and slid in ahead of the tag on one of his signature hustle plays. When Bryon Smith blooped an RBI single, it was 6-3, with the Runners coming.
Reyes singled in the sixth with one down and German (he’s been hitting the ball hard all year with little to show for it, .222 average) followed with a walk. After Matlock also drew a free pass, reliever Doug Brandt crossed up catcher Danny Etkin and the result was a passed ball off the backstop’s mitt, Reyes legging it in from third to make it 6-4.
The Runners had their chances late. In the seventh, Carlos Hereaud walked to lead off but Smith struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch that looked down and in to the Red bench, which has carped bitterly about the umpires all series long. Eric Gonzalez worked for a base-on-balls and after Flores popped to the catcher, Reyes launched one deep to right, where Hunter Jobes made a running grab.
A frame hence, lefty Matlock produced as he’s done all season, singling with one out, hard to the opposite on a high fastball. With two down, Blue crushed one to the warning track but Jobes was able to haul it in.
Down to their last bat after surrendering two in the top of the ninth, the Runners got a leadoff base hit from Hereaud and a walk to Smith. But pinch hitter Cameron McGuire whiffed on a 3-2 offering and that man, Jobes, made a diving stab on a rope from the hard-luck German. Reyes popped one solidly to first to end it, as Edinburg made good contact during the second half of the game, to not enough benefit.
The team finishes up the series against San Angelo Wednesday with local hero Aaron Guerra on the mound, and then begins a 4-game set with Harlingen Thursday through Sunday at the Stadium. A big fireworks show is set for Friday night.
NOTES: The Runners came into the game hitting .257 as a unit, with Matlock at .324 and Hereaud at .300. Matlock leads with 16 runs scored while Hereaud is first with 16 RBI.