Mother Nature threw down some ungodly high temperatures at the Tri-City Dust Devils during Monday’s 3-1 Northwest League loss to the Spokane Indians.
The thermometer peaked at a record-breaking 107 degrees 21⁄2 hours before game time at Gesa Stadium and still hovered at a smothering 104 by first pitch.
But it wasn’t so much the heat that bothered the Dust Devils as much as their ice-cold offense, which generated just one run off six hits despite bringing the winning run to the plate in the ninth.
Tri-City manager Drew Saylor refused to blame the elements or the pitcher-friendly home park.
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“This is our home. We can’t use that as an excuse,” he said. “Everybody else comes here and hits. People have found a way to win here.”
But lately, that hasn’t been Tri-City. The Dust Devils (6-12) suffered their eighth loss in the last 10 games and fourth in a row at home.
“You have to keep looking at the positives. We’ve been good about putting the winning run on in the ninth, and we did it again tonight,” Saylor said. “The more we put ourselves in that position, the more likely good things are going to happen.”
Spokane gradually built its lead, starting with a run in the top of the third. Brandon Garcia doubled to lead off the third. One batter later, Garcia scored on a bouncing single up the middle to make it 1-0.
The Indians pushed that lead to 2-0 two innings later, as Janluis Castro hit a leadoff single in the fifth. Garcia drew a one-out walk, and Saquan Johnson hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Castro at third. Garcia advanced to second on the play and scored on Chris Garia’s slow single to right field.
Tri-City starter Johendi Jiminian was haunted by the leadoff batter all night, allowing the lead man to reach base in five of his six innings he began. Two of those came in to score as Jiminian fell to 0-2, giving up three earned runs on eight hits.
Yohander Mendez (1-1) was efficient for Spokane, allowing an unearned run in the fifth on just three hits over five innings to lower his ERA to 1.02.
The Dust Devils, who dropped nine games behind Everett in the NWL North Division, scored their only run when Mike Tauchman reached base on an throwing error by third baseman Cam Schiller to lead off the fifth, and headed to second when the ball skipped past first baseman Barrett Serrato.
Tauchman then scored on a single to right by Wilfredo Rodriguez, who finished 3-for-4.
“That was the guy of the night, Wilfredo Rodriguez, with three knocks,” Saylor said. “I think (reliever) Marc Magliaro did a great job, and Bruce Kern was exeptional.”
Magliaro, Kern and Trent Daniel combined for four scoreless innings in relief of Jiminian.
Michael Benamin went 2-for-4 for Tri-City. Alec Mehrten, the NWL’s leading hitter who carried a nine-game hitting streak into the game, went 0-for-4.
w Tri-City right-hander Ryan Warner will face Spokane right-hander Collin Wiles at 7:15 p.m. today at Gesa Stadium. ... No heat-related injuries were reported during Monday’s game, according to Gene Tolley, the Dust Devils’ first-aid supervisor.