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Indians ends long homestand with setback

The Spokane Indians completed a significant homestand Thursday night with a 5-2 loss to Vancouver that left the team 5-6 for the season at Avista Stadium. The home cooking was mostly positive as Spokane won five of eight games against Boise and Vancouver to improve to 6-8 for the Northwest League season after starting 1-6. Vancouver won the series 2-1 and is 4-2 against the Indians this year. Spokane is 4-1 against teams from the NWL's South Division but is 2-7 in its own division, the North. Spokane takes to  the road, starting Friday, for three games at Everett and three games at Pasco against the Tri-City Dust Devils. The Indians' next homestand starts the Fourth of July with the first of five games against the Eugene Emeralds. Read story

Spokane's team batting average slipped again after Thursday night's 6-for-32 effort. The Indians opened the night at .207 but fell to .205.

Just  three Indians who have played in more than eight games are hitting .240 or better. Saquan Johnson, who played left field Thursday and  went 0 for 3, is 2 for 30 (.067) for the season.

“We had a lot of lefties in the lineup and sometimes against a soft-tossing lefty (Vancouver starter Bobby Brosnahan) you put a lot of lefties in there to try to take away his changeup, but he did a good job of throwing fastballs early today,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.

Spokane pitching never got into a groove. Indians starter Collin Wiles (1-2) threw 37 of his 63 pitches for strikes while Brosnahan hit the strike zone on 48 of 68. Wiles allowed seven hits and three earned runs in  four innings, walking two.

“Collin threw a lot more breaking balls in fastball counts today,” Hulett said. “You still have to be able to throw your fastball in fastball counts, and he shied away from it a little bit today.”

Right fielder Barrett Serrato, playing his second game for Spokane this season, had early-game adventures in the field. Serrato went into the right-field corner in the first inning to gather up Jordan Leyland's hit and throw the Canadians first baseman out at second base. In the third inning, Serrato had his notions about throwing out Nico Taylor at home after Andy Fermin's one-out  single. As Taylor was rounding third, Serrato looked up briefly and the ball went under his glove. The play wasn't ruled an error, as Serrato would have had to make a great play to get Taylor at home.

“That was a tough game,” Hulett said. “I think our pitching really struggled in the sense that they were pitching away from contact with a lot of pitches. The game just seemed to stop there for about three innings.”

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) 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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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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