July 22, 2009 in Sports

Ross tosses gem, leads Indians to win

Ace left-hander handcuffs Everett
By The Spokesman-Review
 
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON photo

Spokane’s Aja Barto gets a fist bump after scoring a run Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

It’s nice to have a pitcher who can put the brakes on a losing streak.

Whether he likes it or not, maybe Spokane Indians pitcher Robbie Ross is in the process of earning a reputation as someone who begins winning streaks.

Ross, an opening-day winner, got his team-leading third victory Tuesday – his last two victories coming after defeats – as the Indians silenced the Everett AquaSox 8-2 in a Northwest League game before a crowd of 4,662 at Avista Stadium.

The left-handed Ross (3-1), a second-round draft choice out of Lexington, Ky., ran his NWL-leading strikeouts to 48 with seven in five innings while handcuffing the AquaSox, who had just two hits off Ross, one in the first and one in the fifth.

“I’d rather know him as a guy who starts a winning streak,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said. “Just another quality outing. Every time out, we know we’re going to be in the game when he pitches.”

Ross started with a strikeout and ended with a strikeout.

“I just tried to work on getting the ball down,” Ross said.

It was effective. Everett (20-11) got a single with two outs in the first and then didn’t get another hit until a double with two outs in the fifth.

Ross, quick to deflect praise, said his teammates made his job much easier.

“We hit the ball really well,” he said. “When you get runs it’s a lot easier to throw.”

Spokane (12-19) gave Ross a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Miguel Velazquez had a run-scoring single and Denny Duron knocked in a run with a groundout.

The Indians made things comfortable for Ross in the third with three more runs. Aja Barton knocked in two with a double and Tommy Mendonca had a run-scoring single.

Spokane made it 7-0 with two more in the fifth. Velazquez had an RBI single and Joe Bonadonna reached on a bases-loaded walk.

“The offense came out and scored early,” Hulett said. “It was a pretty clean game for us.”

Hulett said his team expects to win when Ross is on the mound.

“He had live stuff and was working ahead of hitters a lot,” Hulett said. “When you’re a lefty that’s throwing 90 plus and pounding the zone like that, you’re tough.”

Ross hopes the win was the start of a breakout stretch for the Indians.

“I think we’re going to come out and bust it soon,” Ross said. “I hope tonight was the day that it started.”

The teams will conclude their five-game series with a rare afternoon contest today at 3:30.

Spokane then hits the road for a five-game series against the Vancouver Giants before returning home Tuesday to entertain the Eugene Emeralds in a five-game series.


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