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Indians suffer blow to playoff hopes

The Spokane Indians had an opportunity to improve their fading playoff chances on Wednesday, but their 4-2 loss to Everett at Avista Stadium made their mission tougher. The Indians' shot at winning the Northwest League North Division's second-half title is all but gone, as Everett (19-14) leads the Indians (15-18) by four games with five games remaining in the regular season. All five of those games are against Everett, however, so the Indians could conceivably finish 5-0 to pull the shocker. Their better chance at making the playoffs is to finish with the division's second-best overall record. Spokane (35-36) lost a chance to tie Vancouver (36-35), which forced extra innings Wednesday with a two-run ninth but lost to Tri-City 4-3 in 14 innings. Spokane needs to finish with a better overall record than Vancouver because the Canadians own the tiebreaker if the teams notch identical records. Read story

The Indians led the North Division by two games on Aug. 16, but they have lost eight of their 11 games since. They have scored three runs or less in eight of their last 10 games.

Everett is 6-1 against Spokane this season. Wednesday was the teams' first meeting in more than eight weeks.

Ryan Cordell's seventh-inning homer allowed the Indians' outfielder to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

“He had a great at-bat,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “He fouled off a bunch of tough pitches and then the guy got something up a little bit.”

Spokane's Marcus Greene reached base all four times, three by walks.

Everett, strangely enough, has the league's worst team earned-run average at 3.90, but Jake Zokan and Tyler Olson combined to hold Spokane to four hits.

“They had a tough lefty to start the game and they brought in another lefty (Olson) really similar to him,” Hulett said. “Those lefties have been tough on us all year. We have a pretty lefty-stacked lineup. Not by choice, that’s just what we have available right now. Those kind of guys right there have gotten the best of us lately.”

Olson (Gonzaga University/University High) said it was odd pitching against the team he watched growing up.

“I knew once I got drafted by Seattle that they had a team in the same division as Spokane, so I knew there would be a chance to play against them,” Olson said.

Indians pitchers Collin Wiles and Ricardo Rodriguez set down eight consecutive AquaSox batters after Austin Wilson's RBI single in the fourth off Wiles. The streak ended with Wilson's seventh-inning homer off Rodriguez.

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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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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer 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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