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Spokane Indians

Starter Case Williams hit hard early, Spokane Indians fall to Tri-City 7-4

The Spokane Indians got down big early Saturday and clawed their way back to within one run late.

But the bullpen faltered and there wasn’t a second comeback.

Tri-City No. 9 hitter Kyle Lovelace hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning and the visiting Dust Devils beat the Indians 7-4 in the fifth of a six-game High-A Northwest League series at Avista Stadium.

The Indians (23-23) are 5 1/2 games behind Eugene in the NWL second half and 1 1/2 games behind Vancouver in the overall season record playoff tiebreaker.

Hunter Goodman went 2 for 4 with a double and homer, his fourth in as many games for the Indians. The 22-year-old is hitting .307 with seven homers since his promotion to High-A on July 6 and has 29 homers total this season.

“It’s a tough way to go down,” Goodman said. “But you got to reset really quickly in this game because we got an early game tomorrow.”

Goodman wasn’t sure if he had ever hit homers in four straight games. 

“Maybe in college, I think,” he said. “But other than that, no.”

After trailing 4-0 in the second, the Indians made it a one-run game in the seventh. Robby Martin drew a two-out walk, went to third on a bloop hit by Braiden Ward and scored on an infield single by Drew Romo.

With reliever Robinson Hernandez on the hill in the eighth for his second inning of work, the first two Tri-City batters reached. A sacrifice moved the runners up and with two down, the Indians intentionally walked Christian Sepulveda to face Lovelace.

The Tri-City catcher, hitting .110 on the season, hit a soft liner to short center to score two runs.

“It seemed like the odds were in our favor to get out of that inning,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “Give the hitter credit. We didn’t make a good pitch and he put it in centerfield.”

Tri-City (19-28) went after Indians starter Case Williams right away in the first. Leadoff hitter Kyren Paris singled and D’Shawn Knowles doubled to the wall in center. The relay throw got away, and Paris hustled in for the game’s first run.

Osmy Gregorio’s ground ball to third got through to score Knowles, and Gabe Matthews’ RBI double made it 3-0 after four batters.

“I think definitely they were just hunting the fastball early,” Williams said. “And they were hitting it and I was leaving it a little bit too middle.”

The Dust Devils scored again in the second on a two-out RBI double by Gregorio.

The Indians got on the board in the third on a single by Ronaiker Palma and a double high off the left-field wall by Bladimir Restituyo.

Paris erased that run with a solo homer in the fourth, his sixth of the season.

In the bottom half, Goodman just missed a homer by a few feet. He doubled off the top of the wall in left-center and scored on a single by Eddy Diaz to make it 5-2.

“I got it really well,” Goodman said. “I didn’t know if I hit it high enough, but I mean, you always take it double. You can’t get mad at a double.” 

Williams retired eight in a row to end his outing. He went six innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, including three of the final four batters he faced. He threw 96 pitches, 73 for strikes.

“I felt good,” Williams said. “My first inning I was trying to search for what was working on the day and especially with what they’re hitting.

“I had to make some adjustments for the rest of the game. The solo home run in the fourth was a mistake and other than, just a solid battle. Would love to win, but they can’t all go your way.”

Goodman’s solo shot in the sixth made it 5-3.

“I looked for a fastball and he threw it in, and I put a good swing on it,” Goodman said. 

“He really lets it fly,” Little said. “I’m glad we’ve got him, we just gotta get somebody on base in front of him so he can start knocking them in.”