Perhaps it was a good thing the Spokane Indians lost at home – they were getting a little cocky.
Indians players had been using words such as “afraid” and “intimidated” when talking about their homestand opponents these past few weeks. So, was Wednesday’s 8-2 loss to the Yakima Bears a wake-up call?
“I mean, yeah,” Jason Ogata said, hesitantly. “But we’re all confident hitters and players, and one game’s not going to ruin our confidence as a good-hitting team.”
Ogata did his part for the Indians. He went 3 for 5, leading Spokane (22-7) into three promising offensive innings, but the Indians never finished what he’d begun.
In the first inning, Ogata singled and moved to third base on Joey Butler’s single, but a Yakima double play on a strikeout/caught stealing shut down the rally. In the bottom of the third, Ogata singled and made it to second before designated hitter Matt West struck out.
In the seventh inning, Ogata moved David Paisano to second base with a two-out single to center.
But by then, the game was all but lost. The Bears (12-17) hammered Indians starter Carlos Pimentel for four runs in as many innings, quickly jumping out to a lead they never relinquished.
“You know, Pimentel really actually pitched pretty well. They just seemed to get some timely hits,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said. “And for us, it was just the opposite.”
The Indians twice left the bases loaded, and three times they abandoned two runners on base.
For Spokane, it was a game of missed chances.
By the time Butler hit a solo homer over the center-field wall and gave his team its first run, the Bears already had five.
But a little life seemed to return to the Indians. Reliever Yoon-Hee Nam struck out six batters in two innings and gave up a solo homer to Alfredo Marte in the fifth. All hope disappeared in the seventh, when reliever Justin Gutsie gave up three runs.
Just one of them was earned. Third baseman Matt West committed an error trying to throw out Ariel Urena at first.
Four batters and two runs later, a ball off the bat of Ryan Babineau rolled under the mitts of both first baseman Dennis Guinn and second baseman Ogata.
That play seemed to sum up the Indians’ evening well. It just wasn’t their night.
“You know, it’s just one game,” Ogata said. “You gotta expect that with baseball. You can’t do it every time.”
The loss snapped Spokane’s six-game winning streak and its nine-game streak at home.
But the Indians are still five games ahead of the Boise Hawks (17-12) and six games ahead of the Tri-City Dust Devils in the East Division of the Northwest League.
The Indians head to Yakima today for three more games against the Bears. The Indians will be back at Avista Stadium on Sunday for a five-game homestand against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
Yakima’s Marte went 3 for 5 and scored three times, and David Cooper had a 2-for-4 night with two runs. … Spokane’s Butler, one of the league’s leading hitters, went 2 for 4 with one RBI on a solo home run. West went 0 for 4 and committed a fielding error. … Former Indians player Taylor Teagarden was selected to the U.S. Olympic baseball team. Teagarden, who played in Spokane in 2005, is one of 14 Triple-A players headed to Beijing. This season, the 25-year-old Texan is playing for the Oklahoma RedHawks, the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A farm team.