Athletics Humble Spokane In Front Of 7,232
They had their ace on the mound and a throng in the seats.
Under perfect circumstances, the Spokane Indians would have showed off Saturday before a season-high crowd of 7,232.
Baseball has ways of humbling folks, however, as the Indians played their second consecutive poor game and Southern Oregon enjoyed another night at Seafirst Stadium.
The final was 7-1 for the A’s. For Spokane, it was better than Friday’s 18-6 laugher, but still not the side the Indians wanted to show to more than 14,000 who witnessed their last two Northwest League games.
“My main concern is to make sure they’re playing hard,” said an animated Al Pedrique, the Spokane manager who experienced his first professional heave-ho.
“It’s tough (the fans) had to see these two games.”
Pedrique was ejected in the eighth for arguing the calls of home-plate umpire Dan Nicholson. Pedrique, typically reserved, dusted home plate with dirt. Spokane dropped to 6-10 and lost its third in four games to the A’s (8-8). Spokane had the pitching matchup it desired, with right-hander Modesto Villarreal hurling in sultry weather that reminds him of native Panama. Villarreal (2-1), however, was rocked hard for the first three innings - the only innings that truly mattered.
Villarreal allowed 12 hits and seven earned runs in six innings. His previous 17 innings had included just nine hits and three earned runs.
“Not to downplay (Villarreal), but our hitting has really come around the last eight or nine games,” said A’s starter Kevin Gunther (1-1).
Gunther used a heavy dose of changeups to blank the Indians for five innings. He allowed two singles, struck out six and walked none.
“My pitching coach (Steve Bowden) said they had trouble hitting changeups and liked the fastball,” said Gunther, a 31st-round selection from Fresno State. “So I mixed up my speeds.”
The A’s pounded out 11 hits and scored six runs in the first three innings. The killer was a four-run third, when six of the first seven batters reached on hits, including doubles by David Newhan, Miguel Tejada and Mike Klostermeyer.
With tired pitching arms, Spokane was forced to stay with Villarreal, who settled down to retire seven of the final eight batters he faced. The exception was Duane Filchner’s fifth- inning solo homer near the line in right field. Filchner has three homers for the season, including a blast on Friday.
Pedrique saw nothing unusual with Villarreal’s form.
“Not really,” he said. “They just came out swinging their bats.”
Spokane didn’t. The Indians had four singles, including two in the sixth, when they scored. Leon Weathersby led off with an infield single, advanced on wild pitch and groundout, then scored on Emiliano Escandon’s single.
Escandon, who has five RBIs in two days, injured his right throwing elbow in the eighth while successfully turning a double play. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
Spokane first baseman James Vida extended his hitting streak to a league-best 11 games with a secondinning single.
Filchner went 3 for 5, scored twice and had two RBIs.
Spokane starts Hal Hodge (1-0, 3.00) today against Scott Rivette as the teams complete the five-game series. Rivette is making his debut.
Today is the second of three Indians games with an afternoon (3:05) start. A noon-2 p.m. youth baseball clinic precedes the game.