The Tri-City Dust Devils averted one major disaster Sunday night at Gesa Stadium — a smoking line drive off pitcher Ryan Warner’s head from which the big left-hander recovered quickly.
But after putting that first-inning scare behind them, the Dust Devils went ahead with their horror show against the Northwest League-leading Spokane Indians, dropping the series finale 14-1.
The Indians pounded out 14 runs on 17 hits against six Tri-City pitchers, handing the Dust Devils their fourth consecutive loss and sixth defeat of the last seven games. Spokane outscored Tri-City 49-17 over their last six games against each other, averaging 8.2 runs and 12.3 hits a night.
Spokane (22-8) got a monster night from Eduard Pinto, who went 5-for-6 with four runs scored to raise his average to .378. Four other players — Jose Trevino (3-for-5, three RBIs, two runs), Luke Tendler (3-for-5, three runs), Seth Spivey (2-for-6, two RBIs) and Diego Cedeno (2-for-4, three runs) — had at least two hits apiece for the Indians, who lead the North Division by four games over Vancouver (18-12).
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Spokane’s magic number to clinch the first-half division title is five games.
Tri-City (11-19) could only manage two hits of Indians starter Andrew Barnett (2-0), who picked up the win with six strong innings.
Warner, on the other hand, couldn’t get out of the first inning for the second consecutive start. He retired the first two batters in the first inning before Trevino lined a 2-2 pitch right back through the circle and off Warner’s right temple.
He went down momentarily, coming to rest on his back in front of the mound. Trainers and coaches rushed to his side immediately, but after only a minute or two, Warner got back up on his feet.
He threw several warm-up pitches and indicated to Dust Devils trainer Casey Pappas that he was all right to continue.
But after Trevino’s single, he allowed another single to Tendler and walked two more batters. His pitch count climbed to 31, and — because of a Colorado Rockies directive about inning pitch counts — he was replaced by Dylan Thompson.
Warner (1-3) took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in just 2/3 of an inning.
Of the six Dust Devils pitchers, only Huascar Brazoban was remotely productive, allowing just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.