The Billings Mustangs began the 2014 Pioneer League playoffs with a big time over Great Falls. The Mustangs scored 10 runs in a 10-3 victory and were led offensively by leadoff hitter Brian O’Grady who went 2-4 with a double, walk, home run, two stolen bases, two runs scored and four runs driven in. One of those steals? It was of home. Yeah, that’s what we call getting it done. His 2-run homer in the fifth inning put Billings 4-3 and they never looked back as they added on over the next three innings.
The bottom of the lineup got strong production too. Ty Washington hit last in the lineup and all he did was go 3-4 with a double, RBI and scored three runs. The second baseman helped set the table all night long.
First baseman KJ Franklin did his part as well as he had two hits, including an RBI double and he also scored two runs. His RBI double in the sixth inning extended the Mustangs lead to 5-3 to give the bullpen a little more breathing room.
Starting pitcher Wyatt Strahan continued his regular season stretch out outstanding games into the playoffs. The right hander was charged with an unearned run over his 4.0 innings of work as he set the tone for the pitching staff on the night.
Jordan Remer came out of the bullpen with a runner on and Billings trailing 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning but he struck out the batter to end the inning. He returned for the sixth and fired a shutout inning with three more strikeouts.
Despite winning by seven runs Scott Brattvet locked up a save thanks to pitching two shutout innings and the Mustangs scoring four runs in the eighth after his first inning of work. Since he entered the game with a 3-run lead, he still got the save despite the big win.
It was an ugly night for the big league club, but Carlos Contreras got both of the hitters he faced out as he finished up the ninth for the Reds. Normally I wouldn’t bring up a performance that didn’t stretch an inning of work, but Contreras did something to turn some heads in his outing (or at least mine). Against Eric Campbell he threw five pitches to record the strikeout. He started him off with a 95 MPH cutter that he fouled off. He followed with a curveball nowhere near the zone and high. The next pitch is one that should get you excited. It was a 97 MPH cutter in the zone. The pitch was fouled off, and two pitches later he would finish Campbell off with a curveball in the dirt. Guys that can throw a 97 MPH cutter? He’s still got to work on throwing more strikes, but it’s easy to see a big time reliever with the kind of stuff that he shows.