The pitch that Patrick Hallmark couldn’t hit made the biggest impression on him.
Spokane’s frustrations finally ended on Thursday, courtesy of Hallmark’s runscoring single with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Hallmark went with Kurt Takahashi’s 1-1 outside fastball and lashed the hit to right field with pinch-runner Tony Miranda on third base. Miranda, in the game after Scott Kortmeyer singled to open the ninth, had advanced to third on Takahashi’s 0-1 wild pitch.
“The wild pitch (on a breaking pitch) was what made me start thinking fastball,” Hallmark said after the Indians’ 4-3 Northwest League win over Bellingham that ended a six-game losing streak.
A Seafirst Stadium crowd of slightly less than 4,700 was rewarded for attending a game that started 25 minutes late because of a passing thunderstorm.
Spokane (7-14), which had lost eight of its previous nine, almost gave away the game in the top of the ninth.
The Indians led 3-2 when Spokane shortstop Mark Melito tried to short-hop Joseph Nathan’s inning-opening grounder. Melito couldn’t handle the bounce, and Nathan soon made third on a sacrifice and passed ball. Deivi Cruz’s one-out single to left tied the game.
“We almost let that (game) get away,” said Hallmark, who was 0 for 4 when he connected for the game-winner. “Who knows? We might win four or five games in a row and pick up some ground.”
Bellingham (11-10) lost a chance to break a first-place Northern Division tie with Yakima, which lost to Everett.
Catcher Hallmark praised the sliders of starter Modesto Villarreal and the fastballs of Allen Sanders (1-1), the winner in relief. Villarreal, shelled his last time out, allowed five hits and one earned run in five innings. Sanders struck out three in his four innings; the run in the ninth wasn’t earned.
Bellingham scored in the first when second baseman Dwayne Lewis, making his first Indians start, couldn’t handle a high toss from third on the start of an attempted double play. Ricardo Calderon’s sacrifice fly scored Alex Morales, who was on first with a walk when the error occurred.
Lewis made up for the miscue with an RBI triple in the third after Tyrone Frazier led off with an infield single. Spokane first baseman James Vida, with hits in 15 of his last 16 games, followed two outs later with a lined home run to right. Vida is tied for the club lead with two homers.
The runs came off starter Lorenzo Barcelo, who hadn’t allowed any earned runs in 16 innings this year.
Cruz singled to open the fifth and, after a wild pitch, scored on Jon Watson’s single to right. Hallmark threw out Watson at second after the throw home from the outfield.
Joe Blasingim (0-1), the third Giants pitcher, took the loss.
Cruz went 3 for 4, with a double. Lewis, Vida and Frazier had two hits apiece.
First baseman Scott Pinoni, who played for Eugene last year, arrives today from Visalia, an independent team in the Class A California League. Pinoni hit .320, with 14 homers and 45 RBIs for Visalia. … Darin Blood (0-2, 3.60) of Post Falls and Gonzaga is Bellingham’s tentative starter for Saturday.
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