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Indians break out of slump with big innings

When the dust settled on Wednesday night and the Spokane Indians had won for the first time since Friday, it marked the 10th consecutive day that the Indians have led or been tied for first place in the Northwest League's North Division. Wednesday's 10-4 win over Tri-City snapped the Indians' four-game losing streak and the Dust Devils' four-game winning streak. Spokane received boosts with a five-run first inning and a four-run second. Read story

Wednesday's five-run first inning was the first time the Indians had scored that many runs in an inning since Aug. 12 at Eugene. Spokane's last five-run inning at home came Aug. 3 against  Salem-Keizer.

The Indians are 2-4 on their eight-game homestand. Their overall record at Avista Stadium this season is 16-17.

Spokane has five home games remaining, including Thursday and Friday against Tri-City. The Indians' final six games of the season are against Everett, the team that is tied atop the North Division with Spokane with 11 games left in the regular season. That six-game streak starts Wednesday at Avista.

“I like having it close here at the end,” Indians right fielder Ryan Cordell said. “It creates a little excitement.”

Indians pitchers worked out of bases-loaded jams twice. Starter Eric Brooks got Chris O'Dowd on a comebacker on a 0-1 pitch in the second inning. When Travis Dean allowed a run and loaded the bases in the seventh, Richard Alvarez entered to strike out Sean Dwyer on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.

Alvarez struggled during the long, two-run eighth inning, walking three of the first five batters. He struck out No. 3 hitter Mike Tauchman to stop more damage, then worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth.

“(Brooks) didn’t have his best stuff tonight, his best command,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “He was missing right in the middle of the plate at times. … Fortunately, we got a lot of runs early for him and he was able to pound the zone and let them hit it.”

The Indians totaled 10 runs and eight hits during the first three innings and were held to two singles and no runs for the final five.

“Sometimes when the game gets out of hand, swings start getting big because everybody wants to get that home run,” Hulett said. “I think we made a lot of easy outs, but we swung the bats well early.”

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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