Casey Craig has been playing out of his league lately. Craig, who was in Double-A 10 days ago, has pestered the Indians all series long, but no more so than the last two games.
Craig got on base four times, stole second base three times and scored three runs to lead the visiting Everett AquaSox past Spokane 9-5 Wednesday night in front of 5,672 at Avista Stadium.
Selected in the 2003 draft, Carig leads the Northwest League in on-base percentage (.531) and batting average (.458) after starting the season with the Seattle Mariners’ Single-A team in San Bernardino, Calif., the Inland Empire 66ers.
From Inland Empire, where he batted .345 in eight games, Craig moved up Double-A San Antonio before coming to Everett.
“He’s tough to stop with that experience,” said Indians manager Greg Riddoch.
Spokane twice came back to tie Everett after falling behind by two runs, but the Indians, who stranded eight runners, were unable to take advantage of opportunities to take the lead.
“We didn’t get timely hitting,” said Riddoch. “It seemed like every time we came back to tie, they scored again.”
After getting the first two outs of his professional debut, Jessie Hall struck out Craig, who still reached first when the ball got away from catcher Jonathan Higashi. Hall then walked J.B. Tucker on five pitches. Daniel Santin drove in Craig with a double down the right-field line for the first score of the game. A single by Jeff Flaig scored Tucker to give the Frogs a 2-0 lead.
The Indians answered with two of their own in the bottom of the first, though they squandered a bases-loaded, no-outs opportunity in failing to take the lead. Freddie Thon drove in the first run and catcher Higashi doubled in the tying run.
In the third, Craig lead off with a single, stole second and scored three batters later on Flaig’s second RBI single. A walked batter and another RBI single forced Riddoch to bring in Cain Byrd to relieve Hall.
Craig has stolen five bases in the last two games and has been on bases in eight out of his 10 plate appearances.
“They were making it a little bit easy,” said Craig of the Indians pitchers not keeping him close.
Byrd went through the fourth inning with out allowing a run, but gave up a leadoff home run to Flaig in the fifth. Flaig finished 2 for 5 with three RBIs. Nate Fogle relieved Byrd two batters later, but AquaSox outfielder David Hall greeted him by taking a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall.
Everett’s starter Nick Allen (1-0) pitched five innings and gave up four runs on 10 hits. Jon Lockwood pitched three shutout innings in relief before giving away to Juan Colon who closed out the game for the AquaSox.
Joe Kemp, who did not play in Tuesday’s game, went 4 for 5 with three singles and a triple for Spokane. His triple in the ninth led to the Indians’ fifth run in the game.
Before last night’s game, a moment of silence was observed for Clemencia Santana Café, grandmother of Indians’ Julio Santana who died on Tuesday in the Dominican Republic.
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