The Boise Hawks are no longer 0-for-Spokane.
The Hawks belted three homers, five doubles and 12 hits en route to a 7-3 Northwest League baseball win Saturday in front of 6,823 at Avista Stadium, Boise’s first win in six tries on Spokane’s home field.
“Finally,” said Boise manager Mark Johnson, whose team hadn’t led in a road game since July 28. “We have to have one of the worst road records. We just haven’t got the big hits at the right times, but these kids have played hard and it’s a long-awaited win for us here.”
Spokane opens a three-game series tonight against East Division-leading Tri-City, the first of eight straight road games.
“Nobody in this division has played well on the road except Tri-City,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.
Tri-City won the East first-half title. If the Dust Devils win the second half, the team with the next-best overall record will meet T-C in the playoffs. Spokane leads Boise by one game in that chase.
Boise (12-13 second half) took control early Saturday as Ryan Cuneo’s run-scoring double made Spokane (10-15) pay for a two-out error in the first.
Brad Zapenas clubbed a two-run homer, his first homer in 120 at-bats this season, in the second and the Hawks continued to rough up Indians starter Santo Perez in the third. Cuneo’s towering two-run homer to right boosted Boise’s lead to 5-0. Perez prevented additional damage by fanning Oliver Zapata with runners at second and third.
Hawks starter Jose Rosario, who registered 97 mph on the scoreboard radar gun a couple of times, allowed just one hit through three innings. He retired the Indians on four pitches in the third inning before Spokane finally began putting together some quality at-bats.
“He’s pretty good,” Hulett said of Rosario. “He’s got a good fastball, a sharp breaking ball. Your only hope is sometimes he gets himself in trouble, but early on he didn’t get himself in trouble. We had to battle and we finally scored a few runs but not enough.”
Brett Nicholas got Spokane on the scoreboard with a two-run homer to right in the fourth. Hanser Aberto reached on an error and scored on Edwin Garcia’s groundout as Spokane trimmed Boise’s lead to 5-3 in the fifth, but the Indians failed to deliver with runners at second and third in the sixth.
“We put guys in scoring position, but to have a big comeback you need that big two-out hit and we just didn’t get that tonight,” Hulett said.
The Hawks rebuilt their lead with Willson Contreras’ solo homer in the sixth and Pin-Chieh Chen’s RBI double in the eighth. Spokane pitchers walked six batters, but none came around to score. Cuneo knocked in three runs. He has 13 RBIs and is batting .346 in eight games.
“He’s been swinging the bat very well and doing some damage,” Johnson said. “He’s getting an opportunity to play every day and he’s taking advantage of it.”
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