By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes
It was a hot night for hot bats Monday, and Hillsboro’s were hotter.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were ahead 3-0 after two innings when Keury Mella, a starter on rehabilitation assignment who had struck out three, had reached his limit of 40 pitches. Things were different for the succession of pitchers who followed him and the Hops ended up winning 13-7.
In the bottom of the first inning, Austin Slater singled to left field, stole second base and reached third on an errant throw. Christian Arroyo drove him home with a double to right and Skyler Ewing hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Arroyo.
Salem-Keizer added a run in the second. Hunter Cole singled to left, and Travious Relaford sacrificed him to second. Johneshwy Fargas hit an infield single, moving Cole to third. Seth Harrison drove Cole in by grounding out.
Drew Leenhouts pitched the third inning, setting the Hops down in order with two strikeouts. His troubles started in the fourth. Kevin Cron hit a single to center and went to third on Grant Heyman’s single to right. Jake Mayers doubled to center, scoring Cron and moving Heyman to third. Pedro Ruiz grounded out, driving in Heyman.
The score remained 3-2 until the sixth. Cron led off with a single to left and Heyman singled to center. A wild pitch advanced them, and Zach Esquerra doubled down the left field line, driving them in and giving Hillsboro a 4-3 lead.
Cameron McVey relieved Leenhouts and gave up a single to center by Ruiz, which batted in Esquerra.
Dustin Loggins took the mound for the Hops in the Volcano sixth. Aramis Garcia hit a solo home run over the left center field fence, cutting Hillsboro’s lead to one run.
In the Hillsboro seventh, Jordan Parr was hit by a pitch and stole second. Nate Robertson hit an infield single and Cron walked, loading the bases. Heyman hit into a force out, with McVey throwing Parr out at home. Mayers hit an infield single, driving in Robertson. Heyman fell to the ground at second on the play and was helped off the field. Taylor Ratliff ran for him. Esquerra, on a 3-2 count, hit the first grand slam in the history of the Hillsboro Hops.
Dusten Knight came in to pitch and retired Ruiz on a line drive caught as left fielder Fargas ran and slid. Then Nate Irving hit an infield single, Galli Cribbs Jr. walked, and Parr homered to right, making the score 13-4.
Mike Cetta came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and set the Volcanoes down in order.
In the Volcano eighth, Slater hit an infield single and Arroyo followed with a home run over the left field fence. Ewing was hit by a pitch. Fernando Pujadas, pinch hitting for Garcia because Garcia had had a rough night blocking pitches, grounded out but advanced Ewing to second. Cole doubled to center, driving in Ewing for the final run of the game.
Felipe Perez, Hillsboro’s starting pitcher, got the victory. Leenhouts took the loss.
“We’re due for a little of these,” manager Gary Davenport of the Volcanoes said of the end to a four-game winning streak.
Garcia said he hit his homer off an inside-corner fast ball. Asked whether he thought the pitchers had an off night or the Hops were just having a great offensive game, he said, “I just feel like (they) put some swings on the ball.”
The attendance was 1,973 people.