Some days pitchers feel good and just dominate the opposition. Some days they may feel great and get knocked around. Quality pitchers find a way to get outs even when they don’t have their best stuff.
And some days it’s a little bit of everything.
Spokane Indians starter Nick Bush didn’t feel great early on, but he got better – much better – on Saturday as the evening progressed.
After some early trouble, the Colorado Rockies’ 2018 eighth-round pick pitched six shutout innings and the Indians beat the Vancouver Canadians 5-2 in the fifth of a six-game High-A West series at Avista Stadium.
Bush (3-1) allowed three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Two of the hits and the free pass came in one inning.
[BOX SCORE courtesy MILB.com]
“Early on I didn’t, obviously, didn’t have my command where I wanted it to be,” Bush said. “Early on the first two innings I kind of was a little bit hinky with my command, but I knew I just kind of had to get through it and then once I got back in rhythm and just composed myself I got back in it.”
Bush made his fifth start of the season, and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his appearances. He was coming off back-to-back nine-strikeout performances.
Indians manager Scott Little professed not to notice Bush’s second-inning struggles.
“I don’t really notice because I know he’s out there, he competes, he gets the job done,” Little said. “He has ice water in his veins and never seems to get real rattled out there. He just sits there and he gets his job done.”
After an 1-2-3 inning for Bush in the first, the Indians (15-20) went right to work. Isaac Collins singled and went to third on a single by Aaron Schunk. Schunk was caught stealing, but a groundout by Willie MacIver scored Collins for a 1-0 lead.
Bush fought his way through a rocky second, allowing a pair of singles and a walk. Faced with a bases-loaded situation with two down, he coaxed a groundout by No. 9 hitter DJ Neal to maintain the lead.
He cruised through the next four innings, allowing one base runner and striking out three.
“It wasn’t anything special,” Bush said. “I mean, I just kind of felt good once I kind of got out of those first two innings.
“I kind of felt myself locking in and just sort of hitting my spots where all my pitches were working. Once you can do that, I guess, it’s hard to hit.”
The Indians doubled their lead in the fifth. Hunter Stovall drew a leadoff walk from reliever Brandon Eisert, advanced on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a groundout by Daniel Cope.
Collins led off the sixth with his third homer of the homestand down the right-field line. Schunk followed with a double. On the next pitch, MacIver homered to right to make it 5-0. It was the catcher’s seventh homer of the season, tied for second in the High-A West.
“I’m just thinking about my approach, you know, get the barrel to the ball,” Collins said of his recent power surge. “Just let the pitcher’s velo(city) handle it and, you know, finally put it up in the air.”
“Isaac Collins put a good stroke on it,” Little said. “At times, he seems to overswing and want to hit it real hard, and he was really short and hit the stuff out of it.”
The Canadians (20-15) got one in the seventh off reliever Boby Johnson, but Niko Decolati kept it from being worse with a leaping grab against the wall in center to rob Ronny Brito of extra bases.
The Canadians’ Sam Ryan (0-2) made his first start after 11 relief appearances between Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire this season.
He went four innings and allowed one run on three hits and no walks with one strikeout.
Around the league
Tri-City 2 Hillsboro 1: The game between the visiting Dust Devils (12-22) and the Hops (15-18) was suspended in the fifth inning due to rain. It will be completed before Sunday’s scheduled game.
Everett 6, Eugene 1: Austin Shenton hit his fifth home run of the season and the AquaSox (21-13) beat the visiting Emeralds (20-13). George Kirby allowed one earned run on four hits and no walks with three strikeouts over five innings.
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