After a solid 11-start run with Low-A Fresno earlier this season, Breiling Eusebio has had a rough go of it at High-A. In his first four starts for the Spokane Indians, the 24-year-old lefty went 1-3 with a 10.47 ERA.
Eusebio entered play on Thursday looking to replicate the success of his last outing, when he went six innings and allowed just one earned run at Tri-City.
It didn’t turn out that way for Eusebio, but his batters got him off the hook.
Niko Decolati scored from first on a double by Isaac Collins in the bottom of the ninth and the Spokane Indians beat the visiting Everett AquaSox 9-8 in the third of a six-game High-A West series at Avista Stadium on Thursday.
[BOX SCORE courtesy MILB.com]
Spokane (40-41) has won three in a row over the league’s first-place team and have taken seven of nine in the season series from Everett (51-29).
Colton Welker, on rehab assignment from Triple-A Albuquerque, homered for the third straight game.
Daniel Montano led off the ninth with a bloop to left that fell in-between three fielders for a double, then Javier Guevara sacrificed him over to third.
After a pitching change, pinch-hitter Decolati slapped a 2-2 breaking ball from Bryan Pall up the middle and through a drawn-in infield to plate Montano and tie it at 8-8.
Decolati, who faced Pall earlier in the series, was looking slider all the way.
“I knew where that pitch needed to start for me to be able to put it in play,” he said. “I was able to spit on the two low sliders that kind of that bounced and then the ones that I got my swing off on I had the ability to put them in play and potentially do damage.”
That brought up Collins, the reigning High-A West player of the week. With Decolati running on the pitch, Collins’ hard-hit grounder got past base first base Dariel Gomez and into the right field corner. Decolati scored without a play at the plate.
Decolati said he never saw the hit, but knew it got through.
“I was halfway to second, so I had to kind of arch my turnout, but I saw it go down the line and I’m like, ‘I’m going.’”
It was a back-and-forth affair much of the night.
The Indians plated a run off Everett starter Stephen Kolek in the first inning. Collins (2 for 3, three runs) led off with a walk and went to second on a passed ball. He moved over to third on a flyout to medium deep centerfield and scored on a ground ball single through the left side by Grant Lavigne.
The AquaSox loaded the bases with one out in the second on back-to-back infield singles and a walk, but Eusebio came back to get a called strike three and an bouncer to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the third, Gomez lofted a fly to left that carried just over the wall for a solo home run, his third of the season, to tie it at 1-1.
“I thought (Eusebio) was pretty good early,” Indians pitching coach Ryan Kibler said. “Aggressive with the fastball on both sides of the plate.”
Kolek hit the first two batters of the third, then Hunter Stovall mashed a 2-2 fastball to right-center for his fourth homer of the season and a 4-1 lead.
Everett loaded the bases again with no outs in the fourth on a pair of singles and a walk off Eusebio. After a popup, Jake Anchia lined one off the left-field wall for a two-run double. Gomez followed with a double to the right-center gap to tie it and Indians manager Scott Little came out with the hook.
“When we put up a three-spot, four-spot there, we’ve got to come out there and have a shutdown inning,” Kibler said. “We didn’t do that.”
Eusebio allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw 65 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Kibler was as concerned about the infield singles in the second inning as he was about Eusebio’s performance.
“I think those two (pitcher fielding) plays that don’t get made, I think that’s pretty symbolic right there,” he said. “You get weak contact like that, now you’ve got to go get that out. You’ve got to go 100 miles an hour with your hair on fire to go get the out at first base.”
Trent Fennell came on and a groundout brought in another run to make it 5-4.
Spokane tied in the fifth. Collins led off with a double down the right field line, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on a balk.
Two batters later, Welker hit a no-doubt shot to left center for his third home run in as many games and a 6-5 lead.
“I’m seeing it okay,” Welker said of his string of home runs. “I mean, I’m just getting back to kind of, you know, what I’m used to feeling in the box.”
Welker will be with the Indians through the rest of the series before rejoining Albuquerque.
“I have a couple more games here and then should be should be on out of here,” he said. “I feel ready, ready for whatever’s in front of me.”
Kyle Datres smashed the first pitch of the sixth well beyond the fence in left center, his eighth round-tripper of the season.
Everett recaptured the lead in the seventh against reliever Moises Ceja. Matt Scheffler led off with a single and with one down he scored without a throw on a double into the left field corner by Justin Lavey.
The next batter, Kennie Taylor, launched one that left fielder Montano could only turn and watch for a two-run shot and 8-7 lead.
“He’s had five days off, I believe,” Kibler said about the normally reliable Ceja. “I hate when that happens, but there’s sometimes we can’t do much about that we got nine guys sitting down there (in the bullpen).”
Around the league
Hillsboro 5, Vancouver 1: Tristan English homered and the visiting Hops (36-44) topped the Canadians (37-44) in Hillsboro. The Hops got seven innings of shutout relief from four relievers.
Eugene 7, Tri-City 4: Armani Smith hit a two-run home run and the Emeralds (47-34) beat the Dust Devils (31-50). Marco Luciano, the San Francisco Giants No. 1 prospect playing his first game in High-A, drove in a pair of runs for the Ems.