Northwest League teams take their final day off of the regular season today.
The most exhausted players are probably from the Spokane Indians and Tri-City Dust Devils.
Designated hitter Miguel Dilone drove in eight runs with two homers, a single and a sacrifice fly Monday night to lead the Dust Devils to a 21-12 win in a 3-hour, 38-minute Northwest League game at Avista Stadium that featured 36 hits.
Tri-City (13-12 second half) banged out 19 hits to win the series 2-1. The Dust Devils took over first place alone in the North Division when Vancouver (12-13) lost to Everett 8-6.
Spokane (10-15) woke up from its three-game offensive slumber with 17 hits, but Indians pitchers were knocked around for a four-run second, five-run third and seven-run fifth. Entering the night, the Indians had scored one run in their last 27 innings.
After 4 1/2 innings, the Indians trailed 16-4 and had allowed their highest run total of the season. Spokane made it interesting with one run in the fifth and seven in the sixth, but Dilone answered in the seventh with his second homer of the game, a long blast to right field.
“You get behind that much and you can cash it in and swing at anything, but our guys really had some good at-bats and made their guys work and throw strikes,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “We got some hits and actually got back in the game, if you can call 16-12 back in the game. It really felt like we had a chance, then we turn right around and give up a three-run homer.”
Spokane won the season series from Tri-City 7-5, but the North first-half champion Indians have found the Dust Devils a different kind of team in the second half. Spokane was 5-1 against the Dust Devils in the first half, with a 49-17 advantage in runs, but Tri-City went 4-2 against the Indians in the last six days, outscoring them 39-23.
“They’ve added a couple of different guys, so that moves a couple of their other hitters down in the lineup instead of having to be four-, five- and six-hole guys, and they’ve started swinging the bats a whole lot better,” Hulett said of the Dust Devils.
The regular season is down to 13 games, but if the season ended today the Indians and Dust Devils would be matched up in the best-of-3 divisional series.
Both teams have tough schedules ahead, with five games apiece against South Division first-half champion Hillsboro and another five against top South challenger Salem-Keizer.
Spokane jumped ahead 2-0 in the first as Jose Trevino lashed his club-best 19th double and knocked in his 45th run before scoring on Josh Morgan’s two-out single.
But Dilone’s two-run homer to left-center highlighted a four-run second and the Dust Devils worked their way toward six multiple-hit innings.
Spokane begins a five-game series Wednesday at Hillsboro. The Hops are 4-1 against the Indians this season.
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