Until the eighth inning Wednesday, it looked as if the game between the Spokane Indians and Tri-City Dust Devils would be decided by three throws from the outfield, all three of which worked to T-C's benefit. But the Indians came up with three hits and two runs in the eighth to edge the Dust Devils 2-1 as Spokane's home schedule reached its halfway point. The Indians are 11-8 at home and won't play at Avista Stadium again until the Northwest League's second half begins Tuesday. Read story
Regarding the three throws from the outfield that nearly decided Wednesday's game:
On the first, Indians left fielder Brandon Garcia made a strong throw home in the third inning in an attempt to get Chris O'Dowd scoring from second base on Sean Dwyer's single. Indians catcher Joe Jackson couldn't hold the throw.
"Jackson did a great job of blocking the plate," Indians manager Tim Hulett said. "He has a catcher’s mitt. He doesn’t have a glove, and sometimes the ball pops out on those kinds of plays that are tight."
On the second throw, T-C right fielder Julian Yan threw out Garcia at second base in the fifth when he attempted to stretch a single into a double.
"We hadn’t been swinging the bats well, so with one out we take a chance there," Hulett said. "The guy (Yan) caught it clean off the wall and made a good throw."
On the third throw, Ryan Cordell attempted to go to third base in the sixth after he stole second base and watched the ball bound into center field. Wilson Soriano threw him out.
Cordell got redemption with his winning double over Soriano's head in the eighth.
"I was trying to do anything I could to get us on the board, so it felt really good to come up there in the eighth inning with a runner in scoring position and be able to come up with the big two-out hit," Cordell said.
In the low-scoring series, Spokane outhit Tri-City 19-18 but was outscored 6-5. The Indians have scored two runs or less in six of their last seven games.
"Our pitchers keep us in the game all the time," Cordell said. "We’ve been struggling a little bit lately with the bats, but we work hard every day on hitting and it’s been paying off for us."
John Straka (1-0) got his first professional win after pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth.
Indians starter Kelvin Vasquez bounced back from his previous start, in which he walked seven and allowed three earned runs in three innings to take the loss.
"We’ve really been trying to get him to throw his changeup more, although he doesn’t really throw it a lot for strikes," Hulett said. "And tonight he threw a lot of changeups and some good ones, actually, and I think it made him really effective."
Vasquez and Straka retired 13 consecutive Dust Devils after Mike Tauchman's infield single in the fourth.
Tri-City had been eliminated from winning the North Division first-half title before the game began when Everett won an afternoon game. Spokane's elimination number is two with five games left in the first half. Second-place Vancouver's elimination number is three.