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Spokane Indians rally to down Canadians

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A shaky start wasn’t too much to overcome, thanks to John Kukuruda and Cody Kendall.

Kukuruda and Kendall combined for five innings of no-hit baseball on Saturday night and Gonzaga University product Royce Bolinger drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth as the Spokane Indians beat the Vancouver Canadians 8-6 in Northwest League play.

After the Indians scored two runs in the top of the first, Vancouver beat up Spokane starter Eric Brooks in the bottom of the inning.

Brooks was yanked with two outs in the first after giving up five hits and four runs.

After striking out the Canadians’ lead-off batter, Brooks gave up three singles, a double, a triple and walked one batter before he was replaced by Shawn Blackwell, who gave up two more runs in the fourth.

Kukuruda, who relieved Blackwell and gave up his only hit in the fourth, finally shut things down in the fifth, striking out five over the next three innings.

Kendall (2-2) pitched the eighth and ninth and dropped his ERA to 0.93, getting good backup from his infield, which put together five of six putouts in the final two innings.

Spokane plays at Vancouver today and Monday to close out the five-game series along with the first half of the season – something the cellar-dwelling Indians (11-25) want to leave behind.

The Indians open the second half with a three-game road swing at Tri-City, beginning Tuesday, before hosting first-half East champ Yakima for a three-game set.

Everett clinched the West Division’s first-half playoff berth on Friday night.