Spokane Indians pitchers David Ledbetter (3-0), Abel De Los Santos, Ryne Slack and Mike Zouzalik (third save) combined on a two-hitter Tuesday night to end the Tri-City Dust Devils' four-game winning streak with a 2-1 decision at Avista Stadium. The quartet combined to strike out 11 as the Indians boosted their league-leading total to 294. Spokane Indians manager Tim Hulett, ejected during Monday's game, returned to his old spot sitting on a chair next to Spokane's dugout. Umpires Adrian Gonzalez and Kyle McCrady made Spokane remove the chairs on Monday, and Hulett was ejected when the umpiring crew further upset him in the third inning by telling Janluis Castro that he couldn't warm up near the bullpen in preparation to replace injured Evan Van Hoosier. But everything was back to order Tuesday when the Indians contacted the Northwest League and found out that they could make the on-field chairs legal by inserting a provision in the ground rules that the chairs would be placed inside a chalked-off box. Read story
Hulett took Monday's ejection in stride.
“We put (placing the chairs inside a boxed-off area) in the ground rules, so it’s legal,” Hulett said. “Semantics, I think. (Vice president, general manager) Chris Duff handled that. I have enough trouble just handling on-field stuff.”
Tuesday's pitching also put Hulett in a good frame of mind.
“(First reliever) Abel De Los Santos, that’s the best he’s thrown for us for a long time,” he said. “(Ryne) Slack got one (inning) and (Mike) Zouzalik finished up, so just a great outing by those guys.”
The one bad pitch was by De Los Santos to Ashley Graeter in the seventh, for a homer to left-center.
“Abel threw a changeup that kind of got up in the zone a little bit and the guy got it for the only run,” Hulett said.
Starter David Ledbetter said he enjoyed watching the relievers work.
“Our bullpen has been solid the entire year,” Ledbetter said. “As we get more and more into the year, I think we’re just going to get better. They’re supposed to go out there and throw strikes and that’s exactly what they do every day. We can’t ask for more from them, you know.”
Spokane's Kevin Torres went 3 for 4, including his laser homer to right field that hit a logo sign on top of The Depot.
“We’ve been a little bit cold at the plate as a team, but we’ve still found a way to scratch a few across,” said first baseman Cam Schiller, who drove in the other Spokane run.
Schiller may have to leave the team soon because his wife is expected to deliver their first child in the next two weeks.
Spokane and Tri-City have been trading off as the league's last-place hitting team. The Indians (.219) were able to sneak ahead of the Dust Devils (.218) on Tuesday.
Everett's win Tuesday against Vancouver trimmed Tri-City's elimination number in the race for the North's first-half title to one. Any Everett win or Tri-City loss in the next six games knocks the Dust Devils out of contention. Spokane's elimination number is three.
A word about Tri-City starter Logan Norris, who just signed with the Colorado Rockies and joined the team. Norris was sharp in his debut, allowing five hits and both earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Norris, who pitched twice at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston for Louisiana State University Shreveport, hadn't pitched in competitive baseball for a year. His family was rocked by the unsolved murder of his grandfather, which occurred two years ago.
“When it hit that he was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it, that’s when it started tearing my life apart, and it just ripped me from the inside out, gutted me, cleaned me and hung me in the freezer,” Norris told the Shreveport Times.