IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — After two poor innings, the Missoula Osprey out-played the Idaho Falls Chukars. But the damage done early was too much to overcome.
The Chukars raced out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. The Os cut the lead to 6-4 after a Cesar Garcia RBI groundout in the top of the ninth. Missoula had the tying run to the plate, but Jaret Hellinger struck out Luvin Valbuena looking to end the rally and the game.
Idaho Falls stays perfect with a 5-0 record. Missoula falls to 2-3. The two Pioneer League clubs wrap up their three-game series on Wednesday night.
The Chukars quickly took a big lead when Michael Emodi crushed a grand slam to right in the bottom of the first inning. A Clay Dungan RBI double and Jose Marquez RBI single added two more runs in the bottom of the second to make the game 6-0.
Osprey starter Denson Hull lasted only four outs, giving up all six runs with five of them earned. Four Osprey relievers then shut down the Chukars, giving up only three hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Missoula scored three runs in the top of the fifth to start the comeback, although the damage could have been worse. Missoula had loaded the bases and brought in its first run on a walk with still no outs. Kevin Watson grounded into a double play that scored another run. During the next batter, Valbuena scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 6-3. Missoula totaled only three hits on the evening but managed to scratch out four runs.