Brian Harmon swung at the first two 3-and-2 pitches because he didn’t want an umpire to decide the game.
The third pitch, however, Harmon gladly watched.
Watch he did as Brent Kaysner’s third full-count pitch came inside to the right-handed hitter - even grazing him on the arm - and the Yakima Bears again edged the Spokane Indians, 4-3.
Friday night’s Yakima win at Yakima County Stadium took 10 innings. The game was in many ways a carbon copy of Thursday’s Northwest League baseball opener, also won by Yakima 4-3 in 10 innings.
The difference this time was Harmon, the Bears first baseman, who brought home the winning run without swinging the bat. The night before, Johnny Hilo, who hits before Harmon, doubled in the decider.
“I was in that (game-winning) situation earlier in the game and I lined to second on a 3-1 count,” said Harmon, who came up in the eighth with the bases loaded and the score tied at 2.
“I knew (Kaysner) had to come in with fastballs with the bases loaded.”
Kaysner (0-1), who entered in the ninth inning of a 3-3 game, might have escaped the 10th if not for a hooking liner to left by Yakima’s Kevin Gibbs. Spokane left fielder Adam Finnieston dropped what would have been out No. 2, putting runners on first and second base. Spokane had played errorless ball this year until Finnieston’s miscue.
“That’s just part of the game,” said Indians manager Al Pedrique. “You can’t blame anyone.”
Kaysner recorded an out and after an 0-2 count, walked Hilo to load the bases. The first pitch to Harmon came close to hitting the 220-pound infielder, but he instinctively backed out. Harmon later fouled off a pair of 3-2 pitches that he thought were too close to take.
Spokane left 13 runners on base during the 3 hour, 37 minute game mostly played in cool, windy conditions. The Indians grounded into four double plays.
“We’ve lost two tough games,” Pedrique said. “But the kids are playing (well). Sooner or later, we’re going to get a win.”
Jeff Keppen (1-0), Yakima’s third pitcher, earned the win. The right-hander threw the final 2 innings.
Yakima scored single runs in the second and fourth off Spokane starter Hal Hodge, who struggled through four innings. Hodge allowed nine hits but might have come away clean if not for a second-inning balk and Juan Sosa’s wind-aided RBI triple to right in the fourth.
Spokane tied the game in the fifth inning off starter Eddie Davis when James Vida, who is 6 for 10 for the series, singled home Leon Wethersby and Brett Schafer. Wethersby, 2 for 4 on Thursday, was on base four times.
Finnieston and Wethersby had back-to-back, one-out singles in the eighth. One out and a wild pitch later, Tony Miranda grounded to the left of third baseman Rafael Gross. When Gross didn’t have a shot at Finniston at the plate or Miranda at first, Spokane led for the first time.
Against Jonathan Albrecht, the fourth Spokane pitcher, Hilo walked on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded in the eighth. Neither team scored in the ninth.
Thursday’s loss, originally credited to Spokane’s Jose Santiago, was instead given to Israel Charles. Santiago relieved in the 10th after Charles walked the opening batter. Santiago recorded an out on a fielder’s choice, meaning the runner on first base was still Charles’ responsibility when Johnny Hilo hit the game-winning double… . Yakima’s Bryan Hoyle, of Vancouver, Wash., and Spokane’s Daniel Soto will start tonight in the Indians’ home opener. Game time is 7:05… . Kansas City’s vice president of baseball operations, George Brett, will attend Spokane’s games tonight and Sunday afternoon. Brett is the Indians’ co-owner… . Thursday’s 10-inning game was the third consecutive SpokaneYakima season opener to require extra innings.
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