Seth Spivey ordered up one of those birthday presents a minor league baseball player only dreams about.
And then his Spokane Indians teammates came bearing gifts, too.
Spivey celebrated his 22nd birthday Sunday by hitting a home run in his first at-bat, finishing 3 for 5, as the Indians handled the Vancouver Canadians 9-3 in a Northwest League game before a crowd of 3,755 at Avista Stadium.
Spivey’s homer, a solo shot, was one of three in the first inning that eased Spokane to a 6-0 lead before many of the fans found their seats.
“The whole clubhouse was talking about ‘You’re going to hit a home run on your birthday’,” Spivey said. “I was like ‘No, there’s a lefty throwing, I don’t hit home runs off lefties.’ Then I got a pitch in my wheelhouse and I just turned on it. My first pro home run on my birthday.”
Spokane manager Tim Hulett said it was another day at the office for Spivey.
“He’s been swinging a hot bat all year,” Hulett said. “He’s put some quality swings up day in and day out. For him to have a good game like this is really another game for him.”
The 6-0 cushion was all starter Reed Garrett (2-0) needed. He pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs, all coming in the third with two outs.
“He did a nice job,” Hulett said of Garrett. “He did have the one hiccup in the third inning. He went to his offspeed stuff too much. He didn’t really set it up well. We’re OK with throwing offspeed with guys in scoring position but he just went to it too many times.”
Spokane (17-7) increased its divisional lead over the three-time defending NWL champs (14-10) to three games.
The Indians will celebrate the first of two days off by staying away from the stadium today.
“We’re going to put in a full-day workout,” Hulett said, pausing before smiling. “Guys are probably going to go to the lake and take it easy and just relax. We don’t get many of these, especially at home. If we do get one we’re usually traveling. They’ve definitely earned it.”
After Spivey’s homer, Luke Tendler hit a solo homer a batter later. Then with two outs, Spokane added four more runs – two coming on a homer to left center by Fernando Vivili.
“That’s a great start to the game,” Hulett said. “The ball was carrying well today. We put some good at-bats together and got on a starter that was struggling in the first inning, which a couple of times in Eugene we let the starter off the hook. That was good to see.”
Vancouver cut the lead to 6-3 with its only runs in the third. Spokane added insurance runs in the third and fourth.
Spokane entertains Tri-City for three games beginning Tuesday before going on the road for eight games.
“We’re just going to try to keep staying focused and keep playing hard,” Spivey said. “We’ve done a good job of that so far. Our pitching staff has been lights-out. If we put up runs they’re going to stop them for us.”
In a roster move announced by the Indians on Sunday, outfielder Diego Cedeno was promoted from the Arizona Rookie League to the Spokane roster while the team said outfielder Jamie Jarmon had retired. Jarmon was hitting .189 in 37 at-bats. He was drafted by the Rangers in 2012 and played in 37 games for the Indians last season.