Tim Hulett was heading toward the dugout to prepare for an 11th inning when something interesting caught his eye.
Serving as third-base coach, the Spokane Indians manager looked toward the infield and realized there would be no reason for another inning.
The Indians defeated Vancouver 3-2 in 10 innings on Wednesday night on a two-out throwing error by Canadians shortstop Dickie Thon.
Thon’s throw in the dirt allowed Chris Garia to score from third base and evened the three-game Northwest League series at one win apiece. The teams will complete the series tonight as Spokane wraps up eight consecutive games at Avista Stadium.
Garia drew a one-out walk in the 10th against Justin James (0-2). Garia scooted to second base on a wild pitch with Alberto Triunfel at the plate. Triunfel also walked, and both runners moved up on Cam Schiller’s groundout to third base.
Ryan Cordell bounced a 1-1 pitch to Thon, who fielded the ball cleanly despite having Triunfel in his line of sight. The throw bounced away from first baseman Justin Atkinson.
“I was kind of watching the play, but I was walking in (toward the dugout), and as soon as I saw him let it go I thought, ‘Oh that ball’s low,’” Hulett said. “It was a tough pick. We’ll take it.”
Spokane improved to 5-5 at home and 6-7 overall, one game behind second-place Vancouver in the NWL’s North Division. The Indians are 5-2 on their current homestand.
The Indians were two outs away from a nine-inning win when Atkinson crushed his first homer of the season to left field off Josh McElwee, the Indians’ third pitcher of the night.
“Mac’s been our guy, you know,” Hulett said. “He’s in there because he’s our closer. He can shut it down. He just got behind their fifth-hole hitter. The ball was supposed to be down and away and it just ran back to the middle of the plate on him.”
The Indians, held to four hits through seven innings, took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Garia started a two-out rally by singling to right off Vancouver sidewinder Brandon Dorsett. Garia stole second base and scored on Triunfel’s single to right.
“Garia’s been doing a great job for us in stealing bases and doing some of those things, and it rubs off on those other guys as well,” Hulett said.
Spokane, shut out on Tuesday, broke a 13-inning scoreless streak on Kevin Torres’ two-out RBI double to right in the fifth that scored Barrett Serrato for a 1-all tie.
“I’ve been working with Bobby (Rose), the hitting coach,” said Torres, who also played for the Indians in 2010. “I finally got my hitting going tonight.”
Torres also doubled to right-center in the third. Marcus Greene, on first with a single, was waved home by Hulett but was thrown out at the plate.
“With no outs early in the game right there, there was no reason to take a chance,” Hulett said. “That was just a bad move on my part. Even I make a mistake once in a while.”
The game, played in windy conditions, was delayed for 14 minutes in the bottom of the seventh when the lights went out after a power surge.