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By Maverick Pallack/Portland Tribune/Recent arrival hits home run to help Hillsboro win 4-3

HILLSBORO — Joe Gillette, sent down from Single-A Advanced Visalia (California) on Sunday, helped lift the Hillsboro Hops to victory on Tuesday.

Gillette hit his sixth home run of the season — and first as a Hop — in his second game with the team. The 6-4, 220-pounder finished 1 for 2 with two runs, a walk and two RBIs in the 4-3 win over the Everett AquaSox before 2,960 fans at Ron Tonkin Field.

The Hops (5-3, 29-17 overall) remained in a tie with first-half champion Salem-Keizer and Boise in the South Division second-half standings.

The AquaSox (3-5, 21-25) fell two games back of the Spokane Indians (4-4, 26-20) in the North.

Gillette, a 23-year-old left fielder from Santa Cruz, Calif., started the Hops' third inning with a walk. Lyle Lin was hit by a pitch, and Ricky Martinez singled to load the bases for Steven Leyton, who knocked in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly.

Tristin English, who had just one RBI in his previous 10 games, then came through with an RBI single through the 5-6 hole to double the Hops' lead.

The Hops added two runs in the sixth on Gillette's homer with Andy Yerzy aboard.

That was just enough Hops scoring for starter Luis Frias (3-3) to earn the win. He also lowered his ERA to 1.99, which trails only teammate Deyni Olivero (1.80) for the league lead.

Frias, a right-hander from Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic, shut out the AquaSox for five of his six innings on the mound.

Frias' lone hiccup came in the fifth, when two hits, paired with defensive miscues, led to Everett's first run.

Luis Joseph hit a blooper to center field that bounced high off the turf and the head of 5-9 Jorge Barrosa, allowing Joseph to reach second base.

One batter later, DeAires Moses singled to right fielder Kristian Robinson. Robinson was looking to throw out Joseph at home but misplayed the ball, allowing both runners to advance safely.

Frias was able to escape with just the one run, however, and he threw a scoreless sixth to finish his night with six strikeouts and four hits allowed.

The AquaSox promptly took advantage of Frias' exit, scoring two runs off reliever Conor Grammes in the seventh. A walk, a triple and a sac fly quickly returned the Hillsboro lead to one.

Bryan Menendez entered for Grammes and limited the damage. The Hops' usual closer pitched 1.1 innings before giving way to Eduardo Herrera.

Herrera struck out three batters in 1.1 innings to earn his third save. He avoided a blown save in the ninth when Moses, who already had stolen one base in the inning, was thrown out at third by catcher Nick Dalesandro for the costly final out of the game.

The Hops lead the four-game series 2-0 going into the 7 p.m. Wednesday game. The finale is 1 p.m. Thursday.

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