Before this Northwest League season began, Marcus Greene was momentarily stumped on the question, “What was your biggest highlight last season?”
Greene has an early favorite for his 2014 highlight – his two-run homer in the fourth inning Monday night that led the Spokane Indians to their fourth consecutive win to start the season.
Greene’s liner to right field stayed just fair, scoring Alberto Triunfel and giving the Indians a 3-2 lead on the way to a 6-4 victory at Avista Stadium. The Indians are 4-0 for the first time since 1997.
“That’s a little short porch over there, but a home run is a home run,” said the Indians catcher, who had his first RBIs of the season. … “I hit it off the wall a couple of times last year and it kind of feels good to finally get it over that.”
“Not really a team full of power, but guys with good swings, and if you put a good swing on the ball and catch it right, these guys are strong enough to hit it out,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.
Spokane has outscored Eugene 23-12 in the series while outhitting the Emeralds 38-26.
For the fourth time in four games, Spokane’s starter worked long enough to earn the win. Right-hander Reed Garrett, drafted in the 16th round this month out of Virginia Military Institute, shook off trouble in the first and third innings but settled down by the fourth.
“Some of that’s the newness and just trying to get a feel and getting rid of the nervousness of playing pro ball,” Hulett said. “But he did a nice job in the fourth and fifth innings there.”
“(The starters) are attacking the zone early,” Greene said. “We’re getting ahead in counts and it’s paying off really well.”
The Indians gave Garrett two more runs in the fifth, as Juremi Profar doubled home Eduard Pinto and scored on Alberto Triunfel’s sacrifice fly for a 6-2 lead.
Spokane’s relief pitching was a mixed bag.
David Perez, Spokane’s opening-day starter in 2011, pitched the sixth. Two walks and an error loaded the bases, but Perez got Trae Turner on a ground out to shortstop to maintain the 6-2 lead.
“It was big for him and big for us,” Hulett said. … “He went through a spell (in recent years) of mentally having trouble feeling the ball in his hand and he couldn’t really command it at all. Having him go out there, even though he got in a little bit of trouble, showed a lot of good emotional control for me.”
Third Indians pitcher Adam Parks, making his pro debut, struck out four in two innings, including the side in the eighth. Chris Dula opened the ninth, but two walks, a hit batter and Yale Rosen’s two-out, two-run single allowed the Emeralds to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate.
John Fasola, who pitched a perfect ninth inning on Friday, struck out Edwin Moreno on three pitches to clinch the win.
Rosen, drafted in the 11th round out of Washington State, went 1 for 3 with two walks in his debut.