Aside from a few ailments, not much has stopped Spokane’s Xavier Turner.
Turner went 4 for 4 and launched a grand slam to lift the Indians in a 9-3 thrashing of the Vancouver Canadians on Monday night at Avista Stadium. He leads the Northwest League with a .367 batting average and is hitting .655 in his last 10 games.
Injuries have prevented the Indians from receiving Turner’s lift on a regular basis. He suffered an ear infection during Spokane’s series at Everett, sitting out two games. He’s prone to infections dues to surgery when he was 12 to repair a broken eardrum. In his first game back Wednesday, Turner left the game against the Volcanoes after spraining his finger.
Despite only seeing action in two games in seven days, Turner hasn’t lost his approach to the plate.
“This is the most consistent I’ve been in my career,” Turner said. “I’m just happy with that. Being able to be consistent and be mature and grow up. It gives me confidence, and it gives the team confidence too.”
He showed that confidence with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, as Turner sent a fastball on a 2-1 count over the left-field fence, pushing the Indians lead to five.
“He comes up behind me and was able to pick me up, so that was an awesome sight to see,” said Chad Smith, who struck out in the previous at-bat before singling in his first three plate appearances.
While it’s Turner’s bat that put the exclamation mark on the game, Indians manager Tim Hulett is equally impressed with the other aspects of his game. Especially his base running, which Hulett says is surprising for the 230-pound Turner.
“He’s been impresive defensively all year long and running the bases,” “He’s very aggressive on the bases, he does a fantastic job,” Hulett said. “It’s a little deceptive. He looks big like he can’t run but he’s not a lumbering big guy. He’s a very quick fullback.”
Spokane jumped out to a two-run lead in the first lead after Smith singled to left field with the bases loaded. Turner followed with an RBI double to put the Indians up 3-0.
The Canadians cut the deficit to 3-2 after Deiferson Barreto lined an RBI single to left field and Lance Jones ripped an RBI triple to center. Both hits were with two outs.
The Indians added a run in the fifth, as Stephen Lohr grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to score Smith from third. Vancouver answered in the sixth with an RBI single from Andres Sotillo.
Charles LeBlanc added an insurance run for the Indians in the eighth with an RBI single up the middle.
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