Indians struggling at plate
The Tri-City Dust Devils used a centered approach Sunday to hand the Spokane Indians their third shutout of the Northwest League season.
Wilson Soriano tripled to center field on the second pitch of the game and Sean Dwyer homered twice to center as the Dust Devils piled up a season-high 16 hits during a 7-0 victory in the middle game of a three-game series at Avista Stadium.
“Both were pretty similar swings,” Dwyer said after his first multiple-homer game as a professional. “I was trying to keep the same approach, middle of the field, and got lucky and got them out. … If they go out, I don’t care where they go out.”
The Indians’ other shutouts were June 20, during a seven-inning game at Vancouver, and Friday’s 1-0 setback to the Dust Devils at Pasco. Spokane has scored one run in its last 27 innings, but that run gave the Indians a 1-0 win during Saturday’s series opener.
“When your three top dogs aren’t swinging it great, (Luke) Tendler, (Seth) Spivey and (Jose) Trevino, the slack has to be picked up somewhere and nobody’s picked up the slack,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “It’s just one of those things.”
Tendler, tied for the league lead with nine homers and second with 47 runs batted in, injured his ankle in the first inning while stepping on the first-base bag in an attempt to avoid a double play. He stayed in the game in right field in the second but was replaced by Diego Cedeno in the third.
“Hopefully, it’s not too serious,” Hulett said. “Maybe just a day. We have a day off coming up Tuesday, so I think he’ll be all right.”
Until then, the Indians roster is limited to three outfielders because Pepe Cardona suffered a concussion during a collision with Tendler on Wednesday in Pasco.
Saquan Johnson, filling in for Cardona in center field, misplayed Soriano’s deep drive on the second pitch of the game by Jason Hoppe (1-4). Johnson was originally charged with a three-base error, but both managers requested that the play be ruled a triple.
Drew Weeks, who finished 4 for 5, singled home Soriano and scored on Richard Prigatano’s one-out sacrifice fly to left for a quick 2-0 lead.
Spokane had a chance to cut into the lead when Josh Morgan led off the second with a double to left. But Tri-City second baseman Sam Bumpers made the play of the game by backpedaling on Juremi Profar’s pop to shallow right, catching the ball and doubling up Morgan at second base.
“It’s your chance to get back in the game,” Hulett said. “Even if we score one run, it’s 2-1 and it’s a different ballgame. It was tough read for Morgan at second base and the guy made a great, running catch.”
Hoppe’s throwing error to first base allowed the Dust Devils to tack on two runs in the fourth. Dwyer led off the fifth with his third homer of the season and added a two-run shot in the seventh.
“Being a first baseman, people expect me to hit home runs, but I don’t consider myself a home-run hitter,” Dwyer said. “If I get one, I’m very happy with that.”
Winner Logan Sawyer (3-2) threw six innings of five-hit ball, only needing 44 pitches through the first five innings.
Tri-City (12-12 second half) kept pace with Vancouver for first place in the North Division. First-half champion Spokane and Everett are 10-14.