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Spokane Indians implode on defense in loss to Hillsboro

UPDATED: Fri., July 27, 2018, 10:40 p.m.

The Hillsboro Hops reminded all why they won the Northwest League South Division first-half title.

Trailing 4-1 entering the ninth, the Hops scratched together three runs to tie.

In the 11th, with free runner Jake McCarthy at second, Keshawn Lynch ripped a double into the left-field corner to plate the go-ahead run. A sacrifice fly by ninth-place hitter Dan Swain provided insurance.

That’s how the Hops (3-1) ended the Spokane Indians’ three-game winning streak, beating the home team 5-4 in the start of a five-game series at Avista Stadium on Friday.

The Indians didn’t help themselves, committing four errors.

The Indians (3-1) remained in first place in the North Division.

Indians reliever Kyle Keith loaded the bases in the ninth with a pair of one-out singles and a misplayed ball at third by Diosbel Arias.

A run scored on a groundout, then shortstop Jax Biggers rushed a throw to first that sailed into the stands and two runs scored to tie it.

Biggers came up in the bottom half with a chance to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, but he flied out to left and finished 0 for 5.

“It’s one of those days we were making aggressive mistakes. Aggressive errors. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Indians acting manager Carlos Maldonado said. “Those things happen. And that’s part of the game. The kids are playing hard.

“It’s not how we want to lose, but as long as they are being aggressive, we’ll be fine.”

The Indians had runners at first and second with no outs in the 10th, but Curtis Terry grounded into a double play and Tanner Gardner flied to left to end the threat. They went quietly in the 11th.

Indians starter Ryan Dease came in 3-0 at Avista Stadium this season, but last time out against Hillsboro the 2017 fourth-round pick was hit hard, allowing six earned runs on seven hits.

He gave up his share of base hits and had trouble in a few innings, but he wiggled out of the jams and his overall line ended up looking pretty good.

Dease (3-2, 4.66) gave up one run – unearned – on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.

“He mixed it up. He was competitive,” Maldonado said. “There was a little bit of traffic, but be was able to make a pitch, get a ground-ball double play and that’s what got him through six innings.”

Dease struck out the side in the first, but not without issue.

Jorge Perez led off with a double to the right-field gap. With two down, he stole second, and Scott Kapers’ throw down skipped into left field. Perez jogged home with the game’s first run.

Francisco Ventura got that one back in the second with a leadoff solo homer. Ventura has hit all five of his homers for the season in the past nine games.

Lynch’s hard grounder to third bounced off Arias to load the bases in the fourth. But Dease got out of the jam with a strikeout and grounder to first.

Dease found more trouble in the fifth, as a walk and back-to-back soft line-drive singles loaded the bases with one out.

But Dease coaxed a 4-6-3 double play by Martinez to end the inning unscathed.

Dease had no such problems in the sixth, as he picked up a pair of strikeouts and retired the side in order.

The Indians broke out on top in the bottom of the inning. With one down, Arias drew a walk, then lefty Tanner Gardner cranked one to left field that carried to the wall and eluded Perez’s leap.

Arias raced home from first and Gardner ended up on third base after the throw home.

Ventura followed with a bouncer into the hole. L.T. Tolbert didn’t have a play at home and threw Ventura out instead and the Indians led 3-1.

Hillsboro reliever Wesley Rodriguez was met rudely in the seventh. He plunked Kapers, then the catcher to third on a opposite-field single by Tyler Depreta-Johnson.

J.P. Martinez came through, slapping one through the left side of a drawn-in infield to plate Kapers to make it 4-1.

Sean Chandler provided the Indians two perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts.


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