The Tri-City Dust Devils missed out on an opportunity to build on their North Division lead Thursday night, falling 3-2 to the Spokane Indians in a Northwest League game in front of 2,908 fans at Gesa Stadium.
Still, the Dust Devils are in first, just tied with two other teams — Spokane and Everett, which beat Vancouver 4-2.
The Indians got a leadoff double from Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the top of the ninth off Dust Devils reliever Josh Michalec, and Falefa came around to score on Diego Cedeno’s one-out infield grounder to give Spokane the go-ahead run.
Tri-City got another strong outing from Blake Shouse, who has an ERA of 2.37 over his last four starts after a slow start. Shouse, a former fifth-round draft pick out of Middle Georgia College in 2013, gave up just one run on three hits over five innings and left with a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth.
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The Dust Devils went up 1-0 in the bottom of the third, as Robbie Perkins drew a two-out walk, took second after Spokane starter Nick Gardewine hit Chris Rabago with a pitch and scored on a double to right by Drew Weeks.
The Indians, who won the North Division first-half title, tied the score in the top of the fifth after Josh Morgan led off with a single, took second on a walk to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and scored from second on Eduard Pinto’s RBI single to left.
Tri-City took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the fifth, however, as Perkins hit a two-out double to right, took third on a wild pitch by Gardewine and scored on Rabago’s bloop single to center.
The Dust Devils had a chance to tack on a run in the bottom of the sixth, when Shane Hoelscher stroked a leadoff triple to the right-center field gap. But their hopes for an insurance run were dashed when the next batter, Sean Dwyer, hit a flyball to Luke Tendler in short right field.
Hoelscher got the green light at third to head for home, but Tendler’s throw was on the money and well ahead of Hoelscher’s hook slide around the back side of the plate.
Spokane took advantage of some free passes in the eighth inning to score the tying run. Dylan Stamey allowed a leadoff single to Diego Cedeno and walked Seth Spivey and Tendler to load the bases. Stamey then plunked Morgan to bring home Cedeno and tie the score at 2.
Shane McCain (2-0) picked up the win for Spokane, striking out seven over four scoreless innings.
Michalec (1-2) took the loss, allowing a run on one hit through 1 2/3 innings.
w Jack Millikin; 582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org