EUGENE, Ore. – What was once within the Spokane Indians’ grasp is slipping away with every loss at Civic Stadium.
Kyle Brule (4-0) and Luis De La Cruz combined to throw four hitless innings of relief Saturday night as the Eugene Emeralds stopped the reeling Indians 5-1 in Northwest League play.
Eugene, 25-12 at home, has won the first four games of a five-game set that ends this afternoon.
The Indians began the series with a solid shot at earning the East Division’s second berth to the playoffs.
Now East first-half champion Tri-City has been caught in the second-half standings by Yakima (both lead the division at 17-15) and Spokane (32-38) is just one game ahead of Boise for the second-best overall mark in the East. The team with the second-best record advances if T-C duplicates its first-half championship.
Saturday’s game was tied at 1 when Spokane’s Richard Alvarez (0-2) replaced starter Nicholas McBride in the bottom of the sixth. Alvarez immediately got in trouble as Alberth Martinez singled, Jose Dore and Jace Peterson walked, and Justin Miller was hit by a pitch to bring in the go-ahead run.
Alvarez nearly escaped more damage when Casey McElroy struck out and Dore was out on the play while trying to advance from third base. But Duanel Jones followed with a two-run single to center.
The Indians scored in the third when Drew Robinson walked to lead off, moved to third on Rougned Odor’s single, and came home on a double play. Peterson’s sacrifice fly in Eugene’s third tied the game.
McBride worked five innings, allowing three hits while striking out two and walking none.
The Indians play their final five games of the regular season at home against Everett, starting Tuesday night.