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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Indians fall again to Bears

J.D. Larson Staff Writer

After a six-game home stand against the two worst teams in the Northwest League ended in a disappointing 2-4 record, the Spokane Indians will probably have to fight for a playoff spot with a decimated roster.

Yakima beat Spokane 7-1 Monday to knock the Indians two games back of Tri-City, who defeated Boise 5-2. Now, the Indians go to Yakima for three games before an important three-game series against Tri-City at Avista beginning Friday.

Last night, the Indians fielded a lineup with only one hitter batting over .260 and one with more than three homers.

Lizahio Baez continued to sit with a sprained left ankle, Steve Murphy sat out another game with a jammed right pinkie suffered in Friday’s game and German Duran was on the original lineup card only to be scratched because the broken blood vessel in his right hand hadn’t sufficiently healed.

Indians manager Greg Riddoch said Murphy was going to get X-rayed today, and Duran’s hand was so swollen he was unsure about his availability in the next series.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden, the Indians’ hottest hitter, sat due to an organization-mandated day off.

That left Spokane with a batting order thoroughly dominated by Bears starter Chris Kemlo (4-7), who had been throttled in the month of August, losing all five of his starts and accumulating an 11.14 ERA.

Kemlo pitched a complete game, a rarity in the pitch count-obsessed Northwest League, throwing only 95 pitches, allowing seven hits and one unearned run.

“It’s difficult times for us right now. We’re not pitching well and we’re not hitting well,” Riddoch said. “I’m not sure how healthy we’ll get the way it looks right now.”

Yakima broke a 3-1 game open in the top of the seventh inning when JoJo Batten led off with a single against Spokane reliever Juan Maldonado. Kevin Williams attempted to bunt Batten over, but third baseman Joey Hooft went for the ill-advised force play, and Batten beat the throw to second.

Leyson Septimo tried to bunt both of them over, but again, the Indians wouldn’t let him. Catcher Ben Crabtree scooped up the bunt and threw it down the left-field line, scoring a run. Lewiston High graduate and former WSU and L-C State player Derek Bruce added an RBI single, and Ramon Downing ended the scoring part of the inning with a two-run single – giving the Bears a six-run lead.

Riddoch gave the start to Tanner McElroy (2-2), who is replacing the ineffective Brett Zamzow in the rotation.

Yakima touched McElroy up for three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out seven.

With the struggles, Riddoch is trying to keep the Indians enjoying the game. Instead of an intense batting practice session the day after striking out 19 times in a tough 11-inning loss, Spokane played a sort of scrimmage, with players calling out the hits and hitting coach Mark Whiten playing for one team.

“I guarantee there’s teams in this league on the western side of the mountains who are doing double-cut relays and pressing, and worried about being two games back or one game back,” said Indians outfielder K.C. Herren, who drove in the only run with a sixth-inning single.

“Rid does a good job of keeping us loose and nobody presses. There’s no extra pressure on anybody. We want to win, but we want to get better. It’s good to do stuff like that to make sure nobody gets tight.”


Herren ran over Yakima catcher Manny Del Campo on a play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Del Campo held onto the ball for the final out, but took exception to Herren’s aggressiveness. The two had to be separated, and the benches briefly emptied. … Tonight’s starters: Spokane LHP David Smith (1-1, 1.36) vs. Yakima LHP Angel Rocha (2-8, 5.82)

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