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Luis Terrero’s home run guides Spokane Indians over Tri-City

Luis Terrero’s emergence this season is no surprise to Spokane Indians manager Tim Hulett.

After all, he claims Terrero was the best hitter he saw at the Texas Rangers’ extended spring training in Surprise, Arizona, this season.

Terrero led off the sixth inning with a go-ahead home run to right field to guide the Indians’ 5-4 win over Tri-City on Tuesday as the second half of the Northwest League season began at Avista Stadium.

Terrero started the season slowly, posting a .207 batting average in Spokane’s first 15 games. But lately, he’s shown why he received high praise from Hulett.

“He was one of those guys I expected to be a really good hitter,” Hulett said of Terrero, who has raised his average to .301. “He struggled there for a while, but he’s really got it going … he gives you good at-bats every night. He’s a threat at the plate, no matter what the situation is. He can handle the bat and he can obviously go deep.”

While Terrero can do damage with the long ball, he’s best when he’s squares up and sprays the ball around the field.

Straying away from his plate approach was the root of his lackluster start to the season. Terrero advanced to the final round of the team’s preseason home run derby on June 15, but it did a number on his swing after getting in the habit of pulling the ball.

“I’m not a home run hitter,” Terrero said. “During the home run derby, I changed my swing to go deep. I’m just trying to get back into hitting more line drives. Back into my game.”

Baseball is a popular sport in Terrero’s hometown of Bani, Dominican Republic. He said most of his friends growing up shared the dream of signing a Major League Baseball contract.

“It’s really important where I live,” Terrero said.

But unlike most of his childhood friends, that dream became a reality for Terrero.

“I’m just happy the Rangers gave me the opportunity,” Terrero said.

Spokane, trailing 2-0, broke through in the third when Josh Merrigan scored on a throwing error by shortstop Jose Savinon.

The Dust Devils scored two runs in the fourth to establish a 4-1 lead. Wilifri De La Cruz, who also had and RBI single in the third, added one in the fourth.

Spokane’s Stephen Lohr ripped a two-run homer in the fourth to cut Tri-City’s lead to 4-3.

Indians catcher Clayton Middleton slugged a homer to lead off the fifth, tying the game at 4.

Kevin Lenik (1-1) picked up the win, throwing three scoreless frames in middle relief. Alex Daniele earned the save, pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth.

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