Since joining the Spokane Indians in late July, Jose “Pepe” Cardona has become known for his aggressiveness on the basepaths.
That’s resulted in a mixed bag for the Indians – as was the case again Friday – but nobody can deny what Cardona provides to the team.
Cardona singled twice during an eight-run fourth inning as the Indians snapped a three-game losing streak with a 10-1 waltz past the Everett AquaSox in Northwest League play at Avista Stadium.
Cardona started the big inning with a one-out single to center field. He stole second base, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Everett starting pitcher Luiz Gohara (0-4) threw wildly to home plate after a comebacker.
“I’m trying to score for my teammates,” said Cardona, who played his 12th game with Spokane since his promotion from the Arizona Rookie League. “On contact, you have to go with every swing. … You have to keep running, no matter what.”
“On the contact play at third base, Cardona got a good jump and forced their pitcher to throw the ball away in that big inning,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “I think that kind of opened the floodgates.”
Cardona came up later in the inning with two outs and the Indians leading 8-1. He singled to center to score Jose Trevino from second base.
The Indians sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, collecting five singles, walking three times, and taking advantage of three errors, two wild pitches and one passed ball.
Cardona was a bit too aggressive in the second inning of a 1-all game when he tried to advance from first to third on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s no-out single. Right fielder Corey Simpson threw Cardona out at third, a play that has happened before during his short tenure with Spokane.
“It’s a bouncing ball into right field and he runs pretty good, so you think he can make it pretty easy,” Hulett said. “But here in Spokane, right field is pretty shallow … and the guy made a great throw.”
Indians starter Andrew Barnett (4-2) fought through five innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine but walking five. Barnett knuckled down after allowing a solo homer to the second batter he faced, Chris Mariscal, by striking out two apiece in the second, third, fourth and fifth.
Barnett escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth, picking up his ninth strikeout on his 97th pitch and coaxing a fly to center with his 100th.
Spokane is 6-2 against Everett this season and will attempt a series win when the teams complete the three-game set tonight. The Indians had lost six of their last seven games and 15 of 22.
Spokane improved to 30-23 overall and 5-10 for the second half. Everett (8-7 second half) leads the North Division by one game over Tri-City.