If one Spokane Indians player surrenders the Northwest League batting lead, another is there to take it back.
Indians second baseman Seth Spivey finished 3 for 4 on Monday to lead a 6-2 win over Vancouver at Avista Stadium. In the process, Spivey seized the top spot among league batters at .368.
Spokane outfielder Eduard Pinto, returning to the lineup after missing 10 games with an injured wrist, went 0 for 4 to drop out of the league lead at .350.
The league’s third-leading hitter, Indians outfielder Luke Tendler, took a rare day off. Tendler is batting .338 in 41 games.
“When you have three of the top leaders on one team, that’s always good,” Spivey said. “It’s kind of fun in the clubhouse just talking about it. … We just go out and compete and try to give the best for the team.”
Spivey led off the second inning with a single and scored on Jose Trevino’s 12th double, over the head of center fielder Roemon Fields. Pepe Cardona followed with a double to right for a 2-0 lead.
After Vancouver tied the game at 2 in the third, Spivey blasted a one-out triple to deep center in the fifth to score Marcus Greene, who had been hit by a pitch. Spivey scored on a wild pitch for a 4-2 edge.
“Spivey had a great night swinging the bat,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “It was like they couldn’t get him out tonight.”
Spokane is 6-2 against Vancouver this season and will attempt to sweep the three-game series tonight.
The Indians, North Division first-half champions, and Canadians entered the night tied for the league’s best overall record (27-17).
Spokane won its third consecutive game and improved to 16-4 at Avista and against divisional rivals.
The Indians did so against Canadians starter Chase Mallard, who entered with a 2-0 record and 0.51 earned-run average in 17 2/3 innings.
“We just stayed within ourselves and tried to pull it back up through the middle, and that seemed to work,” said Spivey, whose RBI triple ended Mallard’s night.
Spokane starter Andrew Barnett (3-1) threw 60 pitches through three innings but needed just 19 more pitches to make it through the fifth. Barnett retired the final seven batters he faced.
“Barnett’s fourth inning was real efficient … so we were able to get him through the fifth inning,” Hulett said. “It was a good night for him. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled and did a good job.”
Indians reliever Nick Dignacco worked a perfect sixth and seventh to extend Vancouver’s streak to 13 consecutive batters set down. Chris Dula relieved in the eighth and hit Tim Locastro with a pitch before striking out the side.
“Chris hasn’t pitched in that situation much this year,” Hulett said. “The first pitch, he throws a backup slider that hits the guy, but after that he really settled down and did his job.”
No. 8 batter Saquan Johnson had a one-out, two-run single to right against a drawn-in infield in the eighth to give Spokane some breathing room.
“That’s nice to see because the middle of your lineup can’t carry you every night,” Hulett said.
Adam Parks worked the ninth and lowered his ERA to 1.26.