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Spokane Indians pregame: Leury Tejada faces Hillsboro in battle of first-place teams

The Spokane Indians (17-12) host the Hillsboro Hops (19-10) in the second of a four-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

The two teams sit atop the North and South Divisions with 10 games to play in the second half.

The Indians send righty Leury Tejada (1-2, 2.75) against RHP Ryne Nelson (0-0, 1.32) for the Hops.

Tejada is coming off his best start with the Indians, tossing four scoreless against Eugene on Aug. 17 while allowing just one hit with four strikeouts. He’s allowed six earned runs in six games this season.

Nelson was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ second round pick in this year’s draft out of Oregon. He’s given up two earned runs over eight appearances and hasn’t allowed a run in his last three games while striking out nine over seven innings.

Lineup: 1) Barreto-SS; 2) Strahm-CF; 3) Crim-1B; 4) Garcia-C; 5) Asuncion-LF; 6) Irizarry-DH; 7) Inoa-3B; 8) Hoover-2B; 9) Joseph-RF.

Weather: First pitch – Mostly sunny, 81. Final out – Clear, 69.

Player to watch: David Garcia. His average (.284) ranks second on the team and eighth in the NWL. He’s driven in four runs and scored three more in his last five games – but he’s just 0 for 4 in his career against Hillsboro.

Last game: Ryan January drove in three runs out of the No. 8 spot in the order, including his second home run of the season, and the Hillsboro Hops topped the Spokane Indians 8-2 in the first of a four-game series between the two first-place teams in the Northwest League at Avista Stadium.

The Indians (17-12) stayed one game ahead of Tri-City in the North Division second-half standings. Hillsboro (19-10) maintained a four-game lead over Salem-Keizer in the South with 10 games to play.

After a 1-2-3 third inning in relief of starter Zak Kent, Layne (2-1) allowed eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits and two walks in the fourth and fifth innings. His season ERA climbed more than two runs to 3.72 when his three-inning stint was complete.

Kent made his sixth start and ninth appearance of the season. He had allowed one run in two innings in each of his last three outings, but gave the Indians two clean innings on Friday, striking out two.

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