Curtis Terry keeps on mashing.
The starting first baseman for the Northwest League all-stars has led the circuit in home runs, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage much of the season.
Over the past few weeks, the soft-spoken Georgia native has raised his batting average and on-base percentage to creep up into the top-5 in both categories as well.
In fact, he is making a sincere case for league MVP.
Terry added to his totals on Thursday, with a two-run homer, a walk – and even his first stolen base of the season – and the Spokane Indians edged the Everett AquaSox 3-2 in the finale of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium.
Terry is two home runs short of tying the Indians’ home run record as a Texas Rangers affiliate, set by Ian Gac in 70 games in 2007.
The Indians (12-9) draw within one game of division-leading Vancouver, who fell 6-0 at home to Tri-City. Spokane starts a three-game series at Vancouver on Friday.
“These are going to be huge games,” Terry said. We’re going to have to go there locked in and ready to play. It’s going to be a great series to see what we’re made of.”
“Every game from here on out is going to be a playoff game and we’re going to treat it like that,” said Jonah McReynolds. “Going to Vancouver – it’s a rough place to play, but we’ve been there before. We know what to expect, we just have to play baseball.”
Indians starter Ryan Dease exited after four innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He threw just 60 pitches – 37 for strikes.
Brett Eibner (1-1) provided two scoreless innings of relief. He allowed one hit with one strikeout.
Eibner, 27, is on rehab assignment recovering from Tommy John surgery. He played in the major leagues last year as an outfielder and is attempting to come back as a hitter/pitcher.
“(Eibner) used the ground ball, got us two clean innings,” manager Kenny Holmberg said. “He’s featured a really good slider in his previous outings. I don’t think he had much of a feel for it tonight but he still has a good enough fastball to make pitches and get outs.”
The AquaSox (10-11) got to Dease in the first, but his defense helped him out to keep the damage at a minimum.
Ryan Ramiz led off with a single and stole second, then Cal Raleigh walked. With one down, a grounder to third moved both runners up.
Ryne Ogren roped one into left and Ramiz scored easily. Raleigh tried to score from second but Jonah McReynolds made a strong throw home and Isaiah Quiroz tagged Raleigh high on the slide and the runner was ruled out.
Everett manager Jose Moreno came out to discuss the play with home plate umpire Mitch Leikam, but the call stood.
The defense was at it again in the fourth.
With Ogren at second, Geoandry Montilla slashed one just inside the first base bag and into the corner.
Ogren scored easily but Starling Joseph came up firing and nailed Montilla trying to stretch the hit into a double.
The Indians got something going in the bottom of the fourth.
Diosbel Arias and Jax Biggers hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Arias advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Biggers stole second as Joseph struck out for the first out of the inning.
But McReynolds struck out and Troy Dixon flied to center to end the threat.
The runs came in the fifth.
With one down, J.P. Martinez reached on a infield single that deflected off the glove of first base Nick Rodriguez. After Tyler Depreta-Johnson struck out, Terry hit the next pitch 424 feet to left center for his 15th home run of the season.
The Indians took the lead in the sixth without the benefit of a hit.
With one down McReynolds reached via walk. He went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground out and scored on another wild pitch.
Martinez led off the seventh with a bunt single that cradled the third base line and stopped 15 feet short of the bag. He went to third as Terry reached via wild pitch on a strikeout.
Terry then stole second, but Arias struck out on the pitch and Biggers grounded out to strand the runners.
“Kenny gave me the steal sign,” Terry explained. “I went and hustled hard, man.”
Emmanuel Clase pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save of the season.
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