Eugene may be known as the Emeralds, but it was Spokane pitchers Jason Gooding and Scott Key who were the gems Sunday night at Seafirst Stadium.
Gooding and Key combined on a four-hitter to lead the Indians to a 5-1 Northwest League baseball victory. Spokane remained four games behind division-leading Boise, a 6-3 winner over Everett.
Gooding (4-0) was untouchable. The left-hander allowed only a fifth-inning infield hit and a second-inning walk in six shutout innings. His ERA fell to an impressive 2.26.
“I just tried to keep the ball down and get ahead of the hitters,” said Gooding. “The team played great defense behind me.”
Key took over for Gooding to start the seventh inning and came within one out of completing the shutout. He got Emeralds shortstop Al Castro to pop out to first with runners on first and second for the final out, earning his third save of the season.
“This was a good win for us,” said Indians manager Jeff Garber. “Jason came out and had good stuff and great command of his pitches.
“Scott’s been our most consistent reliever all season, and although he struggled a little bit out there he came up with some key pitches when he had to.”
Spokane took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off Eugene starter Ben Wyatt. Rod Metzler led off with a single and later scored on a Juan LeBron single to right field.
The Indians made it 2-0 in the second. Merrell Lyons drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a single by Dermal Brown.
Carlos Pagan scored on a botched double play attempt in the fourth to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Pagan also had a clutch two-out single in the fifth that scored Brown and LeBron for the final two runs.
The Indians take on Eugene tonight at 7 in the final game of the homestand. Spokane’s Justin Pedersen (5-2, 2.69) pitches against Eugene’s Ryan Schurman (4-5, 2.59).
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