This time there would be no comeback.
The Spokane Indians, just 24 hours after staging a dramatic late-inning rally to stun visiting Eugene on Thursday, came up with nothing in the way of an answer to the Emeralds’ third-inning offensive outburst Friday night and suffered an 8-4 loss to their Northwest League rivals in front of a sellout Avista Stadium crowd of 6,855.
Eugene (3-1), after spotting Spokane (1-3) an early three-run lead, scored four times in the third inning and twice in the fifth on its way to a ho-hum win that gave the Emeralds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series that continues tonight.
Spokane starter Victor Payano (1-5), staked to an early lead when Drew Robinson stroked a two-run single to highlight the Indians’ three-run second, breezed through 22/3 innings, allowing only two baserunners – one of which was gunned down on an attempted steal.
But after retiring the first two batters in the third, the 6-foot-7 right-hander got roughed up in a big way as the Emeralds sent seven more men to the plate, scoring four runs and taking a lead they would not relinquish.
“He quit throwing strikes,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said of Payano, who gave up six hits in watching his earned-run average soar to 7.39. “He started getting behind hitters, instead of staying ahead. He pitched well for 22/3 inning and then all of a sudden was behind on almost every count.
“And then they hit a couple of balls that found holes.”
Mykal Stokes started Eugene’s two-out surge in the third with a single up the middle and later scored on a single to left by Donovan Tate. But the big hit of the inning proved to be Kyle Gaedele’s bloop single to left that Spokane’s Ruben Sierra Jr. – the hero of Thursday night’s 11-7 win with a two-run homer in the eighth and walk-off grand slam in the ninth – seemed to lose in the sun.
Gaedele’s hit scored two runs, and even though Payano got the third out on a fielder’s choice grounder, he did not return.
The Emeralds loaded the bases against Payano’s successor, Philip Klein, in the fourth inning, but the right-handed reliever left all three runners stranded by striking out Lee Orr to end the inning. And that was pretty much the end of the excitement for Indians fans as Eugene added two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and another in the ninth to make a winner out of Matt Andriese (3-1), the second of three pitchers used by Eugene manager Pat Murphy.
Andriese and Jeremy Gigliotti, who earned his second save with three innings of perfect relief work, combined to shut out the Indians over the last 42/3 innings, allowing only one hit and retiring the last 14 Spokane batters.
The Indians, who have made a habit of falling behind early, didn’t seem at all comfortable with the 3-0 lead they forged in the bottom of the second.
“We’re not used to that,” Hulett said. “Maybe that’s why we didn’t win. We put up three runs and talked to our pitchers that next inning about how important it was to put up a zero.
“But, instead, we give up four runs, so …”
The only other run Spokane scored came in the third when Rougned Odor drilled a one-out triple to right-center field and scored on Edwin Garcia’s groundout to short.