Carlos Luis broke open a tie game with a bases-loaded double in a four-run sixth inning and the Tri-City Dust Devils beat the Spokane Indians 5-1 in the finale of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Tuesday.
The Indians (14-12) fell into a first-place tie with Everett with 12 games remaining in the first half.
Spokane was limited to six hits by six Tri-City pitchers.
The Dust Devils’ rally came against reliever Nick Starr, who hadn’t allowed a hit or earned run in nine innings this season.
“He’d been great (this season), he just didn’t have it tonight,” Indians manager Kenny Hook said.
“I think five consecutive guys reached base in the inning,” Hook added. “We go to the bullpen and I mean, it’s a bad recipe when you walk a .200 hitter and allow a double steal.
“You know, in the end, you’re gonna lose when you give up things like that. It’s just not smart baseball.”
Indians starter Leury Tejada, 19, made his short-A debut. The Texas Rangers’ 10th-round pick last year struck out two in the first inning and got a terrific play by right fielder Starling Joseph, who fired a rocket to second to throw out Reinaldo Ilarraza trying to stretch a single into a double.
Leadoff hitter Kellen Strahm got the Indians on the board in the bottom half, smashing his first professional home run to left center.
T-C got it back in the second. Jason Pineda led off with a single, went to second on a fielder’s choice, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single by Jonny Homza.
Tejada got into some trouble in the third with a pair of two-out walks, but he recovered to get Pineda looking. The youngster was lifted after 52 pitches – just 25 for strikes. He gave up three hits and two walks with a wild pitch, but kept the damage down to one run.
“He’s got a good arm,” Hook said. “I thought he handled himself pretty well out there. Made some really good pitches.”
Billy Layne Jr. entered and struck out five of six batters faced.
Ilarraza led off the sixth against Starr with a walk and went to second on a single by Kelvin Melean. The runners pulled off a double steal, then Starr walked Pineda to load the bases.
Luis’ liner down the right-field line plated two runs. Starr gave up a single to Sean Guilbe to put runners on the corners, and Hook pulled him in favor Sam Hellinger.
Hellinger picked up a strikeout for the second out, but a soft looper over a leaping Blaine Crim at first scored two more runners and the T-C lead grew to 5-1.
In the bottom half of the inning, the light pole in left went dark, prompting a 13-minute delay.
The Indians loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on a pair of walks and a single by Luis Asuncion. But Obie Ricumstrict and Cristian Inoa struck out to end the inning.
T-C put runners on the corners with two down in the ninth, and Hook called for infielder Stanley Martinez to pitch. Pineda drove the first pitch to the warning track in right, but it stayed in for the third out of the inning.
“You get into a point where it’s like ‘Who can come in where and who can throw strikes?’ ” Hook said. “Stanley is kind of one of those guys that can do a little bit everything. So he was the guy we went with.”
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