From staff reports
PASCO – The Spokane Indians offense powered up on Sunday. It was all undone in the bottom of the ninth.
Reliever Angel Chivilli allowed three runs – including a pair of solo home runs – in the ninth and the Indians lost to the Tri-City Dust Devils 8-7 in the series finale at Gesa Stadium.
The Indians (26-24) split the series with Tri-City (26-25) and fell one game behind Vancouver (27-23) in the race for the first-half title with two weeks to play.
Sterlin Thompson hit two homers, Yanquiel Fernandez’s two-run shot gave the Indians a late lead and Jordan Beck mashed his league-leading 14th.
Chivilli allowed solo home runs to Adrian Placencia and Gabe Matthews in the bottom of the ninth, then with two down he allowed consecutive hits by Werner Blakely, Gustavo Campero and Osmy Gregorio to complete the Dust Devils’ rally.
It was Chivilli’s third blown save of the season and his ERA ballooned to 9.82.
Tri-City took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, and it stayed that way until the eighth. Benny Montgomery drew a leadoff walk and Fernandez clubbed a two-run home run to right, his 13th of the season, to put the Indians up 6-5.
Thompson added insurance in the ninth with his second homer of the game, a solo shot and his fifth of the season.
The Indians jumped on Tri-City starter Connor Van Scoyoc. Thompson hit the first pitch of the game over the right-center field fence for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Beck hit the first pitch of his at-bat for another solo shot.
The early lead was short-lived.
With one down in the bottom half, Placencia reached on a fielding error by Zack Kokoska at first base and Matthews walked.
Alexander Ramirez lined a triple to center to score both, and he came around to score when Nic Kent’s relay throw was off the mark.
Spokane grabbed the lead back in the third. Nic Kent singled and went to second on a one-out walk by Montgomery. Fernandez grounded out to move the runners up and Beck launched a double off the left field wall to knock both runners in.
Tri-City got RBI singles by Gregorio and Joe Stewart in the fourth inning to take a one-run lead.
Indians starter Brayan Castillo went four innings and allowed five runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Cullen Kafka and Bryce McGowan combined for four innings of shutout relief with 10 strikeouts.