Things went the Indians’ way for the first seven innings of Sunday night’s 10-8 Northwest League defeat to the Yakima Bears.
Despite the Bears’ two runs scored in the first, the Indians kept it close by playing good defense.
Indians first baseman Ian Gac saved the Indians from going down 5-1 in the third inning with a spectacular double play with the bases loaded.
Then the Indians loaded the bases in the fourth, and catcher Jonathan Greene delivered a grand slam to left field that put the Indians up 7-3.
“The last time I hit a grand slam homer was in high school, which doesn’t really count,” Greene said. “This was the first one that I’ve hit since then.”
But the four-run cushion that Greene provided wasn’t enough in the end as the Bears slowly chipped their way back into the game.
Johan Pimentel drove in two runs for Yakima with a triple in the fifth to make the score 7-5.
In the eighth inning, everything unraveled for the Indians, who led 8-5 at the time.
Right-handed reliever Jordan Stewart struggled on the mound with the bases loaded. Stewart faced five batters and gave up three runs before he was replaced by Andrew Laughter.
For the second night in a row, a manager was tossed out of the game.
Indians manager Tim Hulett was ejected after he got into a hot debate with the second-base umpire when the umpire ruled Yakima’s Evan Frey safe even though it looked as if he were tagged out en route to second base. Yakima manager Mike Bell was ejected from Saturday night’s game.
Hulett was unavailable for comment.
The Bears batted around and scored five runs in the eighth.
Indians closer Anton Maxwell gave up two hits in a scoreless ninth inning, but despite a base hit from pinch hitter Kenny Smith, the Indians’ bats fell silent in the ninth.
“It was not the best situation to be in, but I think I did my job OK in the end, I held the score where it was,” Maxwell said.
Greene, whose fifth home run of the season puts him in a tie for second place in the league, said the game just unraveled out of control in the late innings.
“(Yakima) just picked up the tempo,” Greene said. “I thought we sort of got some momentum early in, but they got the momentum back and we didn’t hold them down when we had them.”
Stewart picked up the loss and is now 1-2 with a 4.67 earned run average. He gave up four runs and struck out one in two innings.
The Indians take on the Bears again tonight at Avista Stadium in the final game of the series.
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