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Spokane loses its first matchup with Hillsboro

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Hillsboro Hops have the worst record in the Northwest League, but they’ve never lost to the Spokane Indians.

The Hops (9-25) sent eight runners to the plate during a three-run seventh inning Thursday to turn back the Indians 5-3 at Hillsboro Ballpark.

It was the initial meeting between the Indians and the first-year franchise that moved out of Yakima after last season.

The teams will play four more games before Spokane returns home to kick off the second half of the league season.

The loss eliminated Spokane (18-16) from earning a first-half postseason berth. Although the Indians could conceivably catch Everett (22-12) and Vancouver (20-14) with four games remaining, both teams hold the first tiebreaker over Spokane (head-to-head record).

Spokane wasted early opportunities, fell behind 2-0 in the fourth and tied the game at 2 in the sixth before third pitcher Travis Dean (1-1) struggled in the seventh. Dean allowed three singles, walked two, uncorked a wild pitch and committed a throwing error.

The Indians loaded the bases in the first with no outs and didn’t score. They put runners at second and third with one out in the second and came up empty. They advanced a runner to third with one out in the third and couldn’t cash in.

Spokane’s Evan Van Hoosier doubled with two out in the fifth and scored on Joe Jackson’s single to cut the Hops’ lead to 2-1. Marcus Greene hit his first professional homer to lead off the sixth, tying the score at 2.

Kevin Torres, who leads Spokane with a .313 batting average, added an RBI single in the eighth after the Hops took a 5-2 lead.

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Baseball players in minors to lose minimum wage protection

UPDATED: 11:53 a.m.

Minor league baseball players who make as little as $5,500 a season stripped of the protection of federal minimum wage laws under a provision in government spending legislation. The provision appears to pre-empt a lawsuit filed four years ago by three players alleging Major League Baseball and its teams violate the Fair Labor Standards Act and state minimum wage and overtime requirements for a work week they estimated at 50-to-60 hours.