Spokane Indians pitchers walked a tightrope Friday night against the Everett AquaSox.
Despite allowing nine hits and eight walks, a quartet of hurlers managed to keep the damage to the scoreboard at a minimum until the bats finally broke through.
Jonah McReynolds delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Indians beat Everett 4-2 in the finale of a three-game Northwest League series – and final home game of the regular season – at Avista Stadium.
The Indians (22-13 second half) found out their opponent for the divisional playoff series: Tri-City beat Vancouver 8-5 earlier in the day to clinch the second playoff berth from the North Division. Spokane leads the Dust Devils (20-15) by two games with three to play. The Indians face Tri-City in Pasco for three games to close out the regular season.
“We’re very familiar with those guys,” McReynolds said. “I mean, we played them probably 35-plus times in extended (spring training), so it’ll be a fun series.”
Everett (16-19) went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position and left 16 on base.
It was tied at 2 entering the bottom of the seventh. With one down, Luis Asuncion was hit by reliever Cristhopher Marte, then Alexander Ovalles singled to bring up McReynolds, who lined one into the left-center gap, scoring both runners.
“He’s been doing it all year,” Indians manager Kenny Hook said of McReynolds. “He seems to be in the middle of those clutch situations. He had a really good series, he’s just swinging the bat well.”
“It was a pretty emotional night,” McReynolds said. “We had some players came through, and we did really well on the pitching side toward the end. That’s what carried us through.”
Spokane lefty Josh Javier made his 11th start of the season – tops on the team. Entering play, he had allowed just 20 hits – but had walked 26 – over 34 1/3 innings.
He allowed back-to-back two-out singles in the first but blew Connor Hoover away with a 93-mph fastball. He faced a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the second, but struck out the next three to escape the jam.
For the second night in a row, the Indians’ first hit of the game was a solo home run. In the second, Ovalles wrapped a solo shot around the foul pole at the 296-foot mark in right field – his second of the year.
The AquaSox loaded the bases again with in the third, but Javier’s Houdini act continued as he struck out Trent Tingelstad and got Luis Joseph to pop out.
Spokane added on in the bottom half. With two down, Derwin Barreto singled, went to third on a double by Kellen Strahm and scored on a wild pitch.
Spokane’s Juan Castillo took over in the fourth and found his own trouble. He gave up a one-out RBI single to Cade Marlowe and a bases-loaded wild pitch to allow another run.
He came back out for the fifth. With a runner at first, he threw one to the backstop for a wild pitch and immediately went to the back of the mound in discomfort. The training staff came out and lifted him from the game without debate.
Spencer Mraz, who came on to get out of the fifth, threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Dylan Bice finished the final two innings for his first save.