The schedule was not in favor of the Salt Lake Trappers Tuesday as they started a four-game homestand.
The Trappers had left Butte, Mont., at about 2 p.m. Tuesday after losing a doubleheader by two runs, and they arrived by bus at Derks Field about 9:30 a.m. Seven and a half hours later, they had to be back at the ballpark.But, after a slightly shaky first inning, in which Pocatello scored twice with two walks, two infield hits and a sacrifice fly, the Trappers resumed control of their lives.
They broke their two-game losing streak with an 8-4, 13-hit victory.
The Giants are in town for games Wednesday through Friday, then host the Trappers for three on the long weekend.
"I think it was just these guys were upset. They agree they gave away two games we had won Monday night, and they came out more competitive," said Manager Barry Moss.
"It was just our concentration," said Trapper catcher Mando Verdugo of the doubleheader loss. "We'd be up and just didn't have that killer instinct. We let down after the fourth or fifth inning. We got scolded a couple of times."
Verdugo, who's been working on his batting motion that got a little off-base during the last year, when he was out of baseball and delivering furniture for a living, had a single and a run scored in the three-run Trapper second inning and added a two-run homer to left in the four-run third inning.
In batting practice, the Trapper coaching staff has tried to get him to go to right field and has been throwing him outside pitches, partly because he'd had a tendency to drop his shoulder in the first at-bats of the season.
"I'd see the ball, and it was so fat I wanted to crash it out, and I'd drop my shoulder and hit it straight up in the air," Verdugo said. He thinks that's getting squared around.
In fact, he's on a little high right now, having just found out from his mother that he passed his sheriff's exam back home in Los Angeles, where many of his friends are cops.
The six runs the Trappers put across in the second and third innings _ they batted 10 men in the third _ were enough to make a winner out of Sal Roldan, who was making his first appearance since joining the pitching staff a week ago. Roldan, a right-hander out of Miami, pitched five innings and allowed five hits and four runs. He walked five and struck out four and was helped by two double plays and a throw-out at home plate from left fielder Tommy Boyce to shortstop Ray Karczewski to Verdugo.
"Roldan had a tough time getting started. He was very nervous," said Moss, "and when a pitcher's nervous, he tends to overthrow." But Moss was happy Roldan got through the fifth, giving the relief pitchers some rest.
Blaine Reber, out of Southern Utah State, pitched the final four innings and picked up six strikeouts, including the first four men he faced. It was his second appearance _ eight days apart. A pulled back muscle kept him inactive.
"My arm felt good because I had so much time off," Reber said, adding that the long bus trip and odd hours didn't bother him. "When you get on the mound, adrenalin does the work," he said.
He threw fastballs at Pocatello, trying to stay ahead in the count. "They didn't look too strong on fastballs," he said. Once a strikeout pitcher, Reber said he's gone more to a ground-ball thrower. Pitching coach Darren Garrick "has been teaching us to go four ground balls and the strikeouts will come," Reber said.
Reber allowed just one hit, a double by center fielder Rueben Smiley, who had three hits and two RBI for the night. Smiley was gunned down trying to stretch for a triple by Boyce.
"That throwout at third pumped me up," said Reber. "He's a good hitter. The defense played great. It's a team effort."
Smiley was the only Giant with more than one hit. Trapper right fielder Rick Hurni, second baseman Kelly Zane, designated hitter Martine Peralta, center fielder Jeff Allison and Verdugo each had two hits for Salt Lake.
Boyce had just one hit but scored three runs. He singled and scored in the second, then got hit by a pitch _ intentionally, following Verdugo's homer _ and scored after an Allison single on a passed ball. In the sixth, he walked, stole and came home on a two-base throwing error by pitcher Francisco Arias on a pickoff attempt at second.