Two weeks ago, Grant Lavigne went 1 for 19 during a six-game road trip in Hillsboro, Oregon – five of the six games ending as losses.
He’s heated up considerably on the Spokane Indians’ longest homestand of the season.
Lavigne went 2 for 4 with a homer and double, extending a hitting streak to eight games coinciding with the homestand, and the Indians beat the Everett AquaSox 6-5 in the second game of a six-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Wednesday.
Lavigne’s home run leading off the sixth made the difference.
“After the tough series in Hillsboro where things don’t really go our way, it’s good to get back on the winning side and just get back in first place,” Lavigne said.
The 22-year old first baseman is hitting .433 (13 of 30) during the stretch in which the Indians (23-16) have won seven of eight.
Lavigne said he isn’t doing too much different at the plate.
“I think just being aggressive early in the count,” he said. “You know, I think having (at-bats) when I can get a pitch I can drive. So I just try to avoid being in two-strike counts.”
“Lavigne’s a heck of a player,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “I really like him a lot. He’s improved defensively and he always gives you good a good at-bat.”
Indians starter Tony Locey got two quick outs in the first then things turned just as quickly. Trent Tingelstad doubled to the right-center gap and Locey got Justin Lavey to ground to second – but Eddy Diaz tried to reach for the routine grounder and whiffed on it.
The ball went into right field and Tingelstad came around without a throw.
The miscue may have rattled Locey. Alberto Rodriguez ripped a double to score Lavey, then Dariel Gomez jumped on a first-pitch fastball and crushed it over the batting cages beyond the right-field fence for a 4-0 lead after a half-inning.
“We made an error early in the first inning and yeah, they’re unearned (runs),” Little said. “But come on. He can’t let them score three or four more runs like that. Some of that is on his shoulders.”
The Indians’ bats got going in the second. Lavigne led off with a double and scored on a single by Daniel Montano. Colin Simpson stepped in and sent the first pitch he saw over the 356-foot sign in right-center for a two-run shot, his sixth of the season.
Julio Carerras tied it in the fourth with a two-run homer, his fifth of the season. Two innings later, Lavigne untied it with a moonshot of a home run that bounced halfway up the scoreboard above the wall in right-center.
“As an offense you just want to chip away, get runs here and there,” Lavigne said. “We were able to do that and we got the lead back at end of the game, which was nice.”
Spokane’s Anderson Pilar and Luke Taggert pitched two scoreless innings of relief apiece with six total strikeouts.
“Pilar did a great job, went in there and got the job done,” Little said. “And then Tag, you know, he’s been awesome all year.”
• Goin’ streaking: With an RBI single in the first inning, Daniel Montano extended his hitting streak to eight games. He went 3 for 4, his second straight three-hit game, and is batting .576 (15 for 26) with eight RBIs during the streak.
“Danny’s awesome,” Little said. “Love Danny. Trust Danny. He’s gonna give me a good at-bat. He’s gonna pick-up and bunt guys over, he can hit and run. He can play defense. Steal a base if he needs to. Danny’s a player.”
• Unearned: Locey allowed five runs over five innings, but due to the errors committed behind him none were earned. He gave up six hits and three walks, with just three strikeouts.
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