They probably only postponed the inevitable, but Mike Bible's RBI single in the eighth inning made the Salt Lake Trappers a .500 team again and broke a five-game losing streak, and avoidance of a loss coupled with a rainout for Butte Wednesday meant the Southern Division pennant race is still un-won.
The Trappers blew a 4-0 lead at Derks Field, then won 5-4 as Bible's ground ball hit Idaho Falls third baseman Ken Harring's glove and glanced into left field to score Travis Tarchione."We're still alive?" asked an emotionless Trapper Manager Barry Moss. He hadn't heard about Butte's rainout.
The 31-31 Traps are eight games back of Butte with seven left plus the possibility of completing last Thursday's suspended game against Butte, now 37-21. The next Copper King win or Trapper loss will do it.
Salt Lake is at Pocatello tonight.
"It's frustrating," said Bible. "Everyone is hitting, and we don't win. We're starting to hear it from the fans now. But no one's letting down."
Bible, who'd struck out twice after doubling in the second inning, was glad for one more at-bat. "To get even?" he said. "Oh yeah, I love it; that's the reason you play the game, to come through when the game's on the line.
"I didn't scream it or nothing, but the ball had eyes," Bible said.
Bible and Moss expressed sadness that starter Mike Ashworth didn't get the win. Ashworth struck out a career-high nine batters in 62/3 innings of five-hit pitching. He left with a 4-2 lead after serving up a solo homer to Tyler Houston and walking Chris Sparrow and Jose Olmeda. Harring singled, and that brought in reliever John Stewart.
Stewart was greeted by a Chris Burton single, a walk and a Rick Rigsby single to tie the game 4-4.
Dave Alexander pitched the eighth and ninth and got the win when Rigsby grounded to shortstop Ray Karczewski with the tying run at second in the ninth. "I knew it was right at Ray," said Alexander. "It was a good feeling. Ray always makes the plays behind me."
"I'm disappointed for Ashworth," said Moss. "He's pitched so well. We've done this to him two or three times."
"I'd definitely like to have a better record," said Ashworth, "but I'm glad we could come back and get the win. We need that to finish as high as we can over .500." Ashworth, not a strikeout pitcher, said Wednesday's winds may have helped his splitfinger pitch. "It was moving a little better; I threw a lot with two strikes and got the third one."
"He's a good low pitcher, and everything he throws breaks down, so that helped us," added Moss. "(The wind) helped us get to (Braves' starter Tony) Valle, because he's a hard thrower who comes high in the strike zone."
They got to him in the fourth for four runs, Phil Evans starting by getting hit by a pitch. Evans scored on a throwing error by catcher Rigsby; a wild pitch moved him to third following an Ed Garczyk single. Tarchione singled Garczyk in, and with two out, Joe Beaulac singled in the third run and Mike Grace doubled for the fourth.