Cam Schiller gave David Ledbetter the two biggest plays he needed Tuesday night.
Ledbetter (3-0) continued the strong start to his professional career by pitching five innings of one-hit, shutout ball as the Spokane Indians edged the Tri-City Dust Devils 2-1 in a 2-hour, 9-minute game at Avista Stadium.
Schiller’s run-scoring single in the fourth inning staked the Indians to a 1-0 lead. After Ledbetter handed the 1-0 lead to Spokane’s bullpen, Schiller robbed Patrick Hutcheson of extra bases in the sixth when he made a diving stop at first base and shoveled the throw to Abel De Los Santos covering the bag.
“You just kind of go after it and do whatever you can,” said Schiller, who can also play second and third. “Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s a good feeling when it actually goes in the glove.”
Spokane (17-15) kept the Dust Devils (15-17) from forging a tie for third place in the North Division. Tri-City had won four consecutive games, including Monday’s series opener, but the Indians are 4-1 against T-C this season.
Ledbetter threw four no-hit innings before opening the fifth with Ashley Graeter’s walk and Sean Dwyer’s clean single. He ended his outing with a double play and strikeout, dropping his earned-run average to 1.00 in six starts over 27 innings.
“Ledbetter went right after them and really breezed through five innings,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.
“You can make it hard by trying to do too much,” said Ledbetter, who threw 42 of his 64 pitches for strikes. “We have this thing called KISS: Keep it Super Simple. That’s what I try to do when I go out on the mound.”
De Los Santos, Ryne Slack and Mike Zouzalik, who earned his third save, checked T-C on one hit for four innings: Graeter’s two-out homer in the seventh. Kevin Torres’ long solo blast in the previous inning had given Spokane a 2-0 edge.
Schiller leads the Indians with 31 games played, but began the day with a batting average of .193. His 2-for-3 effort put him at .205.
“It’s always a battle,” Schiller said. “I feel like I’ve been having good at-bats and that’s the reason (Hulett) trusts me to keep going out every single day, knowing that it would eventually come around.”
“Last year he got hot in the second half of the season and raised his average maybe 50 points, so he’s very capable of doing that,” Hulett said.
Relief pitcher Keone Kela is scheduled to join the Indians today. “He’ll be fun to watch,” Hulett said. “He runs it up there anywhere from 97 (mph) to 99.” … Indians outfielder Jamie Jarmon, who has battled hamstring problems, is on the seven-day disabled list.