OGDEN -- The Helena Brewers came into this weekend with, statistically, one of the worst offenses in the Pioneer League. Excuse the Ogden Raptors if they have a tough time believing it.
A day after scoring 10 runs in a losing effort, the Brewers battered Ogden pitching for another nine runs Sunday in a 9-8 win over the Raptors at Lindquist Field.
The Raptors (16-11) led going into the eighth inning, after coming back from a five-run deficit, but were unable to seal the win. Tyrone Taylor's second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the eighth inning off Ogden reliever Owen Jones turned a would-be victory into a loss for the Raptors.
An error by second baseman Malcolm Holland allowed the tying run to reach one batter before Taylor's homer, which would have otherwise been only a game-tying shot.
Holland's error was one of five from the Raptors in the game, though only two of the Brewers' runs were unearned.
"It's disappointing (to lose) when you battle back," said Raptors manager Damon Berryhill. "Obviously, we've got to do a better job starting pitching-wise, and the defense really hurt us today."
The Brewers' (9-18) offensive outburst over the past two games -- the first half of a four-game series with the Raptors -- drastically outpaces what they've done for most of the season.
Entering Sunday's game, the Brewers were last in the league in runs and slugging percentage, and second-to-last in batting average and on-base percentage.
Helena got after Ogden starter Derek Cone right from the start. The Brewers scored two in the first before knocking Cone out of the game in the third. Cone, whose ERA rose to 7.88, was coming off perhaps his best outing of the season, a 41/3-inning, no-run effort two weeks ago against Idaho Falls, but didn't ever find a rhythm against the Brewers.
Down 7-2, the Raptors got back in the game with a four-run sixth, highlighted by Jeremy Rathjen's two-run single. An inning later, the Raptors took the lead with two more in the seventh.
Despite the loss, Berryhill was optimistic about the offense, which has matched Helena's high run output over the last two days.
"We've made their pitchers come to us a little bit," Berryhill said. "We've stopped chasing breaking balls and stuff like that in the dirt. The last two ballgames, (our batters) have really locked it in."
Rathjen went 3-for-5 in the game, continuing a recent hot surge. The speedy outfielder, in his first professional season after being drafted out of Rice in the 11th round, is hitting .330/.421/.473 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in 23 games this season.
Pat Stover also went 3-for-5 for the Raptors, who are hoping the well-rounded offense they've shown off over the last two games is here to stay.
"Just one through nine, we're putting up quality at-bats," Stover said. "We're tough outs up and down the lineup, and that really frustrates the pitcher."
The Raptors and Brewers continue their four-game set tonight at 7 p.m. at Lindquist Field.