The Spokane Indians returned to Avista Stadium on Sunday night, hoping to regain some early season momentum after dropping four of five games during last week’s disappointing Northwest League road trip to Everett.
But the Tri-City Dust Devils nixed that idea by pushing across five runs in the top of the 10th inning to post a 12-7 win and saddle the Indians with their fifth straight loss.
Tim Wheeler, a first-round pick of the Tri-City’s parent club, the Colorado Rockies, in this year’s Major League Baseball draft, finished the night with four hits, including a three-run homer in the fourth inning, and teammate Joseph Sanders capped the scoring in the Dust Devils’ 10th with a towering three-run shot over the left-center field fence.
The win kept Tri-City (7-2) atop the NWL’s East Division standings and kept the Indians (3-5) entrenched in third.
Wheeler was a problem for Spokane’s pitchers all night, pounding out a pair of doubles – one of which drove in another run in the sixth inning – and a single. The Dust Devils outhit Spokane 15-8, but made four errors and frittered away an early 6-0 lead before putting the Indians away in the ninth with the help losing pitcher Chris Matlock (0-2), who walked one batter and hit two others.
Tri-City failed to take advantage of several great scoring chances in the late innings, leaving two runners on base in the seventh, eighth and ninth. And Spokane did the same in the bottom of the ninth.
The Indians looked primed to end their skid after overcoming their early deficit with the help of four runs batted in from Aja Barton, who blasted a two-run homer – his third of the season – to get Spokane on the scoreboard int eh bottom of the fourth inning.
Indians starter Trevor Hurley lasted only 3 2/3 inning and allowed six hits. He gave way to lefty relievers Joseph Ortiz after giving up back-to-back singles to Bo Bowman and Leonardo Reyes and then striking out Austin Rauch to open the fourth.
Joey Wong attempted to move the runners up with a bunt, but ended up forcing Bowman at third. It mattered little, however, as Wheeler, the next hitter, pounded an Ortiz fastball over the fence in right-center field for a three-run home run that gave the Dust Devils their early 6-0 lead.
Tri-City roughed up Hurley in the top of the second, as well, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, an error and a sacrifice fly. The big hit for the Dust Devils in that inning was Wong’s two-run double to left-center field.
Kyle Walker (3-1), the fourth of five Tri-City pitchers, picked up the win.
The same two teams will meet again tonight at 6:30 at Avista Stadium.
Dust Devils 12, Indians 7 (10)
E—Sanders 2 (4), Clark (2), Duron (4), Lima (2). DP—Tri-City (Sammy-Wong-Bowman). LOB—Tri-City 10, Spokane 7. 2B—Wong (1), Matthes 2 (5), Wheeler 2 (3). HR—Wheeler (1), Zuanich (2), Barto (3). S—Sanders 2. SF—Reyes, Clark, Rhoad. SB—Sanders. (1), Clark (2). CS—Matthes (1).
|Matlock L,0-2||2 1/3||2||5||5||1||2||9.53|
HBP—Podraza (by Perkins), Lima (by Bennigson), Clark (by Matlock), Zuanich (by Matlock), Feinberg (by Matlock), Matthes (by Matlock). WP—Perkins. T—3:33. A—4,010.