The Spokane Indians entered play on Tuesday second in the Northwest League in runs with 69, an average of 6.27 per game. Their average took a hit.
The Indians were limited to seven hits by five pitchers and fell to the Tri-City Dust Devils 3-1 in the first of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Tuesday, snapping a four-game win streak.
“We had some quick at-bats early in the game where I thought we could have been more patient there,” Indians manager Kenny Hook said. “When you’re down, you’ve got to work yourself back into it with some longer at-bat strategy, draw some walks or work yourself into a hitter’s count.”
The Indians had two on with one out in the eighth and ninth innings but failed to get a runner home.
“I liked where we were at in the eighth,” Hook said. “We had (Starling) Joseph up there, we had the go-ahead run up twice there late. So I mean, that’s all you can ask is to put yourself in a position to be one swing away from taking the lead.”
Indians starter Florencio Serrano had a rough go in his first start against Salem-Keizer on June 18, allowing two earned run on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings.
On Tuesday, he didn’t fare much better.
Tri-City leadoff hitter Jordy Barley smacked a single up the middle, then Serrano threw a pick-off attempt down the right-field line allowing the runner to move up a base. After a strikeout, Matthew Acosta ripped a single into right to score Barley.
Serrano helped himself, though, by picking off Acosta before striking out Jason Pineda got get out of the inning.
Robert Luis led off the second with a hard-hit single to center and Serrano issued walks to Jonny Homza and Luke Becker to load the bases. Tyler Benson grounded one to first and Blaine Crim was able to get the runner at second, but the relay throw was late and Luis hustled home to give the Dust Devils (5-7) a 2-0 lead.
Serrano was done after three. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
“I thought it was better than his last outing,” Hook said. “It’s still command and, early on, you got to come out, pitch down in the zone early and then be able to move the ball around. You’ve got to establish that you’re going to get ahead of hitters early.”
The Indians (9-3) made some noise in the bottom half. Jake Hoover and Obie Ricumstrict led off with consecutive singles, then Tanner Gardner’s broken-bat looper made it over the infield into center and Hoover scored ahead of the throw. They couldn’t add on, though, as Crim flied out to short left and Luis Asuncion and Joseph went down on strikes.
Tri-City added a run in the fifth. Sean Guilbe bounced one off the third base bag for a double and scored on a single up the middle by Acosta.
Meanwhile, three Tri-City relievers combined to retire 16 out of 17 Indians hitters, with Joseph’s sixth-inning walk the only blemish during the stretch.
Spokane’s Jonah McReynolds made a terrific diving stop to his left and made a strong throw to rob Homza of a base hit in the sixth. In the eighth, Hoover stretched all of his 5-foot-11 frame and leapt to snare a liner by Becker to end the frame.
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