By winning the final two games of a three-game series against Everett at Avista Stadium, the Spokane Indians made it 8 for 8 this season in series against Northwest League North Division foes. Read story
Spokane is 18-6 against teams from its North Division this season, including 7-2 against Everett after Saturday's 8-3 victory that came on the heels of Friday's 10-1 win. Everett won the series opener 7-3 on Thursday. The Indians have outscored Everett 58-25 this season while sweeping one three-game series and winning two others 2-1.
Everett helped Spokane's offense by committing three errors on Saturday and four on Friday.
"It’s always nice to have a little help (the errors), but we’re pretty consistent swinging the bats, in getting double-digit hits," Indians manager Tim Hulett said.
Spokane rapped out 12 hits on Friday and Saturday, and even had 13 during Thursday's setback.
The Indians will complete their regular-season schedule against Everett with road games Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Spokane is 5-1 against the North's Tri-City Dust Devils this year, with one 3-0 sweep at Pasco and a 2-1 series win at Avista. The Indians will play at Pasco Wednesday through Friday before hosting Tri-City Saturday through Aug. 18.
Spokane is 6-3 against the North's Vancouver Canadians, with three 2-1 series wins. The Indians will complete their regular season Aug. 30-Sept. 2 at Vancouver.
The North second-half race is bunched up with Everett (8-8) leading Vancouver and Tri-City by one game and Spokane by two.
If the Indians, the first-half champions, win the second half, they'll almost assuredly hand the second postseason berth to Vancouver. In such a case, the second playoff spot goes to the team with the next-best overall record. Vancouver (32-22) actually has a better overall record than Spokane (31-23) and is light years ahead of Tri-City (21-33) and Everett (19-35).
The Indians' offense clicked despite a day off for the league's top two batters, Seth Spivey (.356) and Eduard Pinto (.344).
"We felt we need to give them a day off here and there before we get down to the end of the season," Hulett said.
Indians Luke Tendler and Jose Trevino opened the night tied for second place in NWL runs batted in with 42 apiece. Tendler picked up his 43rd with an RBI single in the first inning. Trevino's club-high 16th double in the seventh produced his 43rd RBI. Tendler, batting next, drove in Trevino with RBI 44. Vancouver's Franklin Barreto leads the league with 45.
"It’s a nice ‘problem’ to have when your three and four hitter guys are getting it done night in and night out," Hulett said. "They’re swinging the bats well, especially with guys on base."
Juremi Profar was Spokane's RBI leader earlier in the season, with 21 through July 8, but he'd produced only four more until Saturday's two-RBI game. Profar hit his first homer as an Indian, a two-run shot in the fourth for a 4-0 lead; scored on Diego Cedeno's single in the sixth for a 5-0 lead; and led off the eighth with his seventh double and scored on Fernando Vivili's double for Spokane's final run.
Profar said his homer duplicated the one he hit earlier this year at Hickory, North Carolina, as it came on the first pitch with a runner at first base and nobody out. Profar also said he expects to play more at first base for the rest of the season with the recent addition of second baseman/shortstop Josh Morgan, who is 5 for 11 in his first three games.
Winning pitcher Nick Gardewine took a (shaving?) cream pie to his face during postgame interviews. Gardewine analyzed his solid start (six innings, two hits, no runs, eight strikeouts) and compared it to his last two starts, both losses in short outings.
"Just locating the pitches, being smarter and being ahead in the count," Gardewine said. "I was going to my breaking ball more because the past games I was throwing more fastballs and change-ups. I was just trying to put guys away early."