Other people might have predicted a mismatch on Thursday, but Kyle Castro didn’t think that way.
Facing Eric Brown, who boasts the Northwest League’s second-best earned-run average, Castro ignored his last three poor starts and gave the Spokane Indians their first win of the second half of the season.
Castro, who entered with a 0-3 record and 10.71 ERA, tossed five innings of three-hit ball as the Indians capped a three-game series at Avista Stadium with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canadians.
“You can’t be out on the mound thinking, ‘Oh, no, my last outing I did this, I did that,’ ” Castro said. “That’s the only thing that made me successful tonight, coming back and thinking, ‘It’s a new year for me now.’ ”
The Indians scored single runs in the first and second off Brown (5-1, 1.37 ERA) to snap a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless innings against Vancouver pitching. The Canadians outscored Spokane 5-2 in a series in which the teams combined to hit .172.
Castro allowed 14 hits and 14 earned runs over 9 1/3 innings during his last three starts, all losses.
“We’re trying to get him to pound the strike zone a little bit more with his fastball and speed the hitters up a little bit,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “He has good off-speed, but I think he falls in love with it early in the game …”
The 6-foot-5 right-hander from California was drafted in the third round in 2011. He played in the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 and missed the 2012 season after suffering a partial tear in his right elbow during extended spring training.
Castro came out of the bullpen for his first four appearances with Spokane before making his first start on July 6. That start, and ones on July 13 and 19, didn’t go well.
“It’s almost like you have to start over,” he said. “Let’s say you throw a ball. You have to get it out of your mind and say, ‘OK, now let’s throw a strike.’ ”
Chris Garia’s hustle gave Castro an early run. Garia led off the first with a single to center, stole second base, took third when the throw sailed into center field, and scored on Kevin Torres’ sacrifice fly.
Barrett Serrato singled to center with two out in the second and scored on Gabe Roa’s triple that center fielder Ian Parmley misplayed.
“Their guys caught everything until tonight, so I think it was about time we got one to fall in front,” Hulett said.
Vancouver scored on Mike Reeves’ single to right in the fourth, which took a wicked hop on Torres at first base.
Spokane’s Ryne Slack struck out five in three innings of relief and Mike Zouzalik earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth. Indians pitchers struck out 36 Canadians during the series.
Five Indians were selected to represent the North Division at the Aug. 6 NWL All-Star game in Everett. Pitchers Eric Brooks and David Ledbetter, infielders Janluis Castro and Kevin Torres, and outfielder Chris Garia were Spokane’s selections. Vancouver placed eight on the North’s team, Everett seven and Tri-City five. … Indians catcher Joe Jackson was ejected in the fourth after arguing from the dugout about his second strikeout of the game.