The losing streak continues for the Spokane, but there were steps in the right direction for the slumping Indians.
The Indians blew a one-run lead in the ninth, missed scoring chances in walk-off situations and fell 3-2 to Tri-City in 11 innings on Sunday at Avista Stadium. The Dust Devils (13-17) completed the three-game Northwest League series sweep and Spokane (9-21) lost its 10th straight game.
Anderson Tejeda slugged a pair of solo home runs for Spokane.
“This game was a lot different kind of a loss than a lot of them in the streak have been,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “Even though we lost, it’s a lot more encouraging. … It was a pretty good all-around game there, except for the final score.”
With one out in the 11th and runners on second and third, T-C first baseman G.K. Young hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Nate Easley and put the Dust Devils up 3-2.
Easley led off the inning with a single to left field, Buddy Reed walked and Hudson Potts laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.
The Indians failed to protect a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, as Tyler Stubblefield walked Fernando Tatis Jr. with the bases loaded and two outs. Kaleb Fontentot surrendered a single to Wilfri De La Cruz, a double to Buddy Reed and intentionally walked Hudson Potts to load the bases before Stubblefield entered the game.
Hulett said Stubblefield, a left-hander, entered the game for a better matchup with the left-handed slugging Young, who he struck out. But he struggled to find the strike zone against Tatis and couldn’t get out of a 3-0 hole.
“He made a pretty good pitch first pitch and we didn’t get it,” Hulett said. “It’s tough, but that’s part of putting guys in tough positions and developing them.”
It could have been worse for the Indians in the top of the ninth, but Preston Scott made a nice grab on a line drive from Boomer White, tracking back to his left to keep the game tied at two.
“My hat goes off to him for making that catch,” Stubblefield said.
Spokane threatened in the bottom of the ninth after Leody Taveras’ lead off double, but couldn’t muster a run. Luis Terrero flied out to second base with runners at first and third and Scott struck out on three pitches after Darius Day walked to load the bases.
The Indians had another chance in the 10th as Clay Middleton doubled to right field and Taveras walked and advanced to second after a wild pitch with two outs. But Seth Spivey grounded out to second and reliever Diomar Lopez squelched the threat.
Tejeda gave Spokane a one-run lead entering the ninth, as he slugged his second solo home run of the game to right-center field in the eighth off Lopez.
His first came in the fifth inning. Tejeda launched a home run off reliever Braxton Lorenzini to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
The Dust Devils tied the game in the eighth, as White scored Young on a sacrifice fly to center field. Young reached on a lead off double to right field and advanced to third on Tatis single to center field.
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