Indians top Hawks, continue historic streak
The Spokane Indians know they’re on a roll, but they never know who will be the hero on any given night.
Tuesday night the role fell to slick-fielding shortstop Alberto Triunfel, whose two-run homer highlighted a three-run fifth inning that gave the Indians some needed distance on Boise.
The Indians used that 5-1 advantage to subdue the Hawks 7-3 at Avista Stadium, pushing their Northwest League record to 10-1. The 1911 Indians, who started 13-1, are the only other Spokane professional baseball team that began the season 10-1.
“It was a huge homer,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “(Triunfel) did a good job tonight. He’s working on making some adjustments and he was able make it in the game tonight, which is unusual to be able to do it that quick.”
“Everyone on the team is swinging the bat well,” said Indians outfielder Zach Cone, who added two runs batted in. “It’s fun and easy then.”
Spokane, 8-0 at home this season, will aim for a sweep of the five-game series tonight before starting an eight-game road trip on Thursday. Boise (4-8) is stuck in a seven-game losing streak for the first time since July 2010.
The Indians were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Jasvir Rakkar relieved Boise starter Ben Wells (0-2) in the fifth. Spokane leadoff hitter Eduard Pinto greeted Rakkar with a double to left-center before Triunfel crushed his first homer of the season to left.
Triunfel, who entered the game with a .222 batting average, hit two homers for the Indians last season while batting .217. His major value has been his glove work at shortstop, although sometimes he’s a bit too flashy for Hulett’s tastes.
“What I liked about him tonight is he played more under control,” Hulett said. “His throws were over the top and he wasn’t making the plays bang-bang. He was throwing them out by five or six steps.”
Cone capped the fifth with an RBI single to center to score Marcus Greene, who singled with two outs and stole second base.
“All the new young guys are coming in with confidence,” Cone said. “They got the jitters out early with some wins.”
The 5-1 edge was more than enough for starter Richelson Pena (2-0), who allowed four hits and one earned run in six innings, striking out five and walking none. Pena’s last outing had been limited to one inning because of a rain-suspended game in Vancouver.
“But that just made him fresh for today,” Hulett said. “He probably could have gone another two or three innings. But I wanted him to be good all season long. It’s a long season and he’s going to get a lot of starts.”
Luis Pollorena worked the final three innings to earn his second save, although he allowed Jesse Hodges’ two-run homer to left-center in the seventh that trimmed Spokane’s lead to 5-3. The Indians answered with a two-run seventh as Cone had an RBI walk and Juremi Profar a sacrifice fly.
Luke Tendler had Spokane’s first triple of the season in the third, scoring Jose Trevino after a two-out infield single.
Spokane still leads Vancouver by 3 ½ games in the North Division.
League batting leader Seth Spivey (.500) missed his third consecutive game for Spokane with an injured neck suffered in batting practice. … Indians outfielder Doug Votoloto is out with a leg injury. He’s been limited to two games and seven at-bats.