The Spokane Indians needed a big hit to end their recent slump, but a few big breaks also helped.
Ryan Cordell’s three-run home run capped a five-run first inning Wednesday as the Indians erased a four-game losing streak by strolling to a 10-4 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils at Avista Stadium.
Cordell, making his first start since Aug. 14 after reaggravating a wrist injury, jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Ryan Warner (3-4) for a lined shot to right field that stayed just fair.
The homer came one batter after Janluis Castro grounded a potential inning-ending double-play ball to shortstop Alec Mehrten, who couldn’t handle a tricky hop. Evan Van Hoosier and Cam Schiller scored on the play, and Jordan Akins and Castro were aboard for Cordell’s third homer of the season and his first since July 29.
“I knew (Castro) was going to run it out hard and I was hoping if it wasn’t a double play, I could come up and get a good two-out hit,” Cordell said. “Fortunately, he booted it and we were able to score a few more runs after that.”
The win allowed Spokane (13-14 second half) to stay tied for first place in the Northwest League’s North Division with Everett, which knocked Vancouver (12-15) into third place with a 10-2 decision. Tri-City (11-16), which had won four straight, dropped two games back.
Spokane is 9-1 against the Dust Devils, with six consecutive wins. The teams meet today and Friday before Spokane heads to Vancouver for three games.
Spokane equaled its biggest offensive output at home this season, which occurred July 4 against Eugene, and had its best scoring night since an 11-3 win at Hillsboro on July 22. The Indians entered the game having scored three runs in their last 30 innings of a 1-4 home series against Hillsboro.
The Indians grounded into eight double plays in the Hillsboro series. Castro’s first-inning grounder had Indians manager Tim Hulett cringing.
“You’re thinking, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Hulett said. “But (Mehrten) got a tough hop.”
So did Dust Devils first baseman Sean Dwyer in the second inning, when Joe Jackson’s hot grounder took a wicked hop and bounced over his head to score Van Hoosier from second base for a 6-1 lead.
The next batter, Akins, caught a break when his liner stayed just fair past first base and rattled around in the Indians’ bullpen for a two-run double. Castro followed with an RBI single and the Indians had five consecutive hits and a 9-1 lead.
“We did some things we haven’t done for a while,” Hulett said. “We used the whole field instead of trying to be a bunch of pull hitters. We sprayed the ball all over the field tonight.”
Cordell stung his wrist when he attempted a diving catch on Mehrten’s leadoff triple in the seventh.
“There are always a few things that will tweak it here and there, but all and all it felt pretty good tonight,” Cordell said.
Spokane’s Eric Brooks, making his fourth start, improved to 2-3 with five innings of six-hit ball. Brooks struck out six, walked one and allowed an earned run in the first. His other win came June 22 in relief.
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