After their second four-game losing streak of the young season, the Spokane Indians once again turned to starter Chad Bell to stop the bleeding and, once again, Bell delivered.
The 6-foot, 3-inch southpaw struck out eight hitters over five innings against Everett, working in and out of jams as the Indians’ offense broke through with a two-run seventh inning, giving Spokane the 5-4 win Sunday to even the series at 1-1 at Avista Stadium.
“At this point a win is huge,” said Bell, who did not earn the decision for his second straight start. “Hopefully we’ll carry our momentum into tomorrow. They all played great, everyone had heart and it was a good win.”
Bell added his defense helped pick him up in big spots, as he was able to scatter six hits, while allowing just the three runs. In his final inning of work, he followed up a solo home run from Kevin Mailloux with a three-pitch strikeout of Kevin Rivers.
“I felt like every time I missed a spot they were getting a hit,” Bell said. “But the defense picked me up and I felt like I made some good pitches when I had to.”
For the first time in five games, Spokane (2-7) was outhit by its opponent as the AquaSox (8-2) collected 10 hits, including three home runs.
Unlike the previous four losses, however, the Indians came through when it mattered most, cashing in with the bases loaded in the fourth and seventh innings.
With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh, Michael Olt walked on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run and Guillermo Pimentel drove in Ryan Strausborger with a sacrifice fly to give the Indians a 5-3 lead.
“We had to find a way to win a game,” said Spokane shortstop Jurickson Profar, who reached in the two-run seventh with a bunt single. “In the other games, we had the bases loaded but we can’t get them around, but today was different, this was the way to win a ballgame.”
Profar, who was 2 for 4, also came up with the stop of the night in the top of the eighth.
Rivers brought Everett within one with a leadoff blast off Indians reliever Colby Killian. Everett then loaded the bases Terry Serrano hit a hot shot up the middle of the infield. Profar stabbed it with a diving catch, stepping on second base before turning the inning-ending double play.
Holding a one-run lead in the ninth, the Indians handed the ball to Ovispo De Los Santos, who struck out the side to earn the save.
“I think just that last inning right there can give us momentum,” Bell said. “(De Los Santos) comes in and he strikes out three in a row, that’s momentum in itself.
“Promar making that play – that picked us up. We’re just trying to carry over the energy.”
In nine innings of work so far this season, Bell has 13 strikeouts while only allowing two walks. … The Indians, who earned their first home win of the year, are now 1-4 at home this season with three games left on the current homestand.