Boise builds 5-2 lead behind Wagner, holds off late rally
BOISE – The Spokane Indians don’t have second place sewed up yet.
Bobby Wagner drove in four runs with a homer and triple Thursday afternoon as the Boise Hawks defeated Spokane 5-4 at Memorial Stadium.
Boise won the series 2-1, but Spokane won the season series 8-4.
Spokane (35-38) leads Boise (33-40) by two games with three left in the season. Both teams are well behind champion Tri-City in the Northwest League’s East Division.
The Indians finish their season with home games today, Saturday and Sunday against last-place Yakima. Boise hosts Tri-City for three games.
Wagner’s two-run triple off the right-field wall gave Boise a 2-0 lead in the first inning. He hit his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot to right, in the fifth for a 5-2 lead.
Spokane trimmed Boise’s advantage to 5-3 in the seventh. Kyle Rhoad was hit by a pitch with one out, took second on Edward Martinez’s single to center, and moved around on a wild pitch and passed ball.
The Indians also scored a run in the eighth on Rhoad’s two-out single to left. But Steve Grife coaxed an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded.
Spokane also had its chance in the ninth when Clark Murphy singled with one out. Grife got Billy O’Conner to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat and earn his first save.
Starter Robert Hernandez (4-3) notched the win, allowing four hits in five innings. The Indians reached Hernandez for two earned runs, on Daniel Lima’s RBI groundout in the fourth and Martinez’s RBI single in the fifth.
Chris Matlock (1-7) took the loss, allowing three hits and three earned runs in three innings.
Jason Ogata went 1 for 4 for Spokane and continues to lead the league with a .372 batting average. Ryan Wheeler, the only player close to Ogata, brings his .363 average to town the next three days.
Despite Wheeler’s effort, Yakima trails the NWL in team batting average at .252.
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