The Spokane Indians already knew it was going to be a long night, what with two seven-inning games scheduled at Avista Stadium.
But the night grew longer when Game 1 stretched into 10 innings and took 3 hours, 28 minutes.
Pinch-hitter Juan Kelly singled home Ryan Metzler in the top of the 10th inning Friday night as the Vancouver Canadians edged Spokane 8-7 to open a Northwest League doubleheader.
“It’s not the way you want to do it on a doubleheader night,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.
The second game, which started at 9:10, was brisk (1:49) and more to the Indians’ liking. Starter Blake Bass threw three perfect innings and Omarlin Lopez (3-2) four innings of one-hit relief as the Indians (12-18 NWL second half) ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over Vancouver (14-16).
The one hit, Kelly’s single to lead off the fifth, dropped in front of right fielder Todd McDonald, who made no effort to charge and dive. McDonald atoned with a lined two-out, two-run homer to right in the sixth.
Lopez loaded the bases in the seventh on a hit batter and two walks, but Rolando Segovia grounded out to end the night.
The Indians had lost eight of their previous nine games.
In the opener, Indians center fielder LeDarious Clark nearly made a spectacular play on Kelly’s liner into the gap, but the ball squirted loose to allow Metzler to score from second base. Sean Hurley, who had been on first base, was thrown out at home on the play for the third out.
“It looked like (Clark) went to dive and it looked like his foot kind of came out from under him and he didn’t get a good push-off and just came up short on it,” Hulett said.
Spokane’s final chance in the 10th ended with a double play.
Spokane rallied three times to tie the Canadians, from deficits of 2-0, 5-3 and 7-6. The Indians also led 6-5 after Ti’Quan Forbes’ RBI single to left in the fifth.
The Indians’ 14 hits were an encouraging sign after combining for eight hits in their previous 25 innings.
“We’ve been talking a lot about how our two-strike approach hasn’t been very good, really for the whole season,” Hulett said. “We’ve been talking about how the guys did a much better job at least battling with two strikes and not just swinging through everything, except for that one inning (the eighth) when we really needed a ball in play.”
Spokane, after forcing extra innings with Yeyson Yrizarri’s sacrifice fly deep to center in the seventh, started the eighth with Darius Day’s double to right. With one out and Day on third base, Canadians closer Andrew Case struck out Dylan Moore and Tyler Sanchez.
The Indians also escaped big trouble in Vancouver’s eighth when their third reliever, Dario Beltre, loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Beltre struck out Hurley to end the threat.
Canadians starter Tayler Saucedo allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in four innings. In two previous starts against Spokane, Saucedo had allowed no earned runs for 12 innings.
But Vancouver relievers Stuart Holmes, Case and Turner Lee (2-1) combined to check Spokane on four hits and one earned run over the last six innings, with five strikeouts.
In the second game, Moore and Sherman Lacrus had back-to-back one-out RBI doubles in the first to ignite Spokane.
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