Tri-City Dust Devils

Indians shut out Dust Devils to close series

The Tri-City winds stayed silent Thursday night at Gesa Stadium and so did the Dust Devils' bats as they were shutout by the Spokane Indians 2-0.

The story of the game was one the Dust Devils (5-9) had heard before this season: a great pitching performance followed by missed opportunities at the plate.

Dust Devils manager Ben Fritz said that trend will have to change if the team hopes to climb back into the divisional race.

"We need a spark plug, we need someone to break the ice with a big hit," Fritz said. "Even the games we've won, there hasn't been that dagger of a hit."

After going 4-4 on their post-all-star break home stand, the Dust Devils trail the Everett AquaSox by five games in the second-half Northwest League North Division standings.

Left hander Sal Mendez (4-3) got the start for the Indians, and the Dust Devils were never able to figure him out. Over 6 2/3 innings, Mendez scattered five hits and struck out six Dust Devils to pick up the win.

"He was effectively wild," Fritz said of Mendez. "He pitched inside and it made his change-up better. He got our guys on their heels and we were kind of in between pitches - a little tardy on the fastball, a little early on the change-up."

Spokane drew first blood in the top of the fifth courtesy of a line-drive single by Leody Taveras, but diving catches by center fielder Buddy Reed and shortstop Chris Baker kept the Indians from doing more damage.

Like in his three other starts for the Dust Devils, lefty Eric Lauer had to battle through adversity to work through some shut out innings.

The Indians looked like they would blow the game open in the top of the second when they led off the inning with three singles to load the bases with no outs. But Lauer gritted his teeth and struck out Carlos Garay and got Todd McDonald to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to escape the inning unscathed.

"It's definitely higher pressure pitches you have to make in a spot like that, but I like to make it interesting," Lauer said. "I just try to make sure I make better pitches when I go deeper into innings like that."

Other than the three consecutive hits, Lauer was nearly perfect in his 4 innings, only allowing one more runner to reach base. At one point he set down five consecutive Indians on strikes en route a seven strikeout performance.

"(Lauer) was on tonight," catcher Kyle Overstreet said. "He was locating all of his pitches and just putting them wherever I put the mitt. He did a fantastic job, and it's just fun to catch when a guy is pitching like that."

Lauer has now pitched 14 innings for the Dust Devils and has yet to allow a run.

Kyle Overstreet was the lone bright spot in the Tri-City batting order as he started off his day with a single in the second and then hit a double to lead off the fifth.

"It feels good to finally get the bat rolling in the second half of the season," Overstreet said. "I struggled a little bit in the first half, felt like I was putting good swings on balls but they were just getting caught. So to see some starting to fall is really good for my confidence."

The Dust Devils will begin an eight game road trip with five games against the Boise Hawks, starting at 6:05 p.m. Friday. The Dust Devils won three-out-of-five against the Hawks to open their home stand last week.

Indians 2, Dust Devils 0

Spokane ab

r

h

bi

Tri-City ab

r

h

bi

Taveras cf

4

0

2

1

Reed cf

4

0

0

0

Prsctt 2b

4

0

0

0

White 3b

4

0

0

0

Leblanc ss

4

1

1

0

Baker ss

3

0

1

0

Lohr dh

4

0

1

0

Young 1b

4

0

0

0

Terrero lf

3

0

2

0

Overstrt c

4

0

3

0

C.Smith rf

4

0

1

0

Asuncion rf

4

0

1

0

Garay c

4

1

1

0

Mattison dh

4

0

1

0

T.McDnld 1b

4

0

1

0

DeLeon lf

2

0

0

0

Perez 3b

3

0

0

0

Mgdlno 2b

3

0

0

0

Totals 34

2

9

1

Totals 32

0

6

0

Spokane

000

010

010

2

Tri-City

000

000

000

0

E—T. McDonald 2 (12), Prescott (12). DP—Spokane 1, Tri-City 1. LOB—Spokane 7, Tri-City 8. 2B—Garay (2), Terrero (3), Overstreet (3). 3B—LeBlanc. SB—Tavares (1). CS—Terrero (3).

Spokane

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Mendez W, 4-3

6 2/3

5

0

0

3

6

Stubblefield S, 1

2 1/3

1

0

0

0

5

Tri-City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Lauer

4

3

0

0

1

7

De Horta L, 0-1

3 1/3

6

2

2

1

1

Erb

1 2/3

0

0

0

0

0

PO—Mendez 2 (Baker, Asuncion). WP—De Horta. Umpires—Home, Harrison Silverman; First, Randy Wilmes. T—2:38. A—2,321.

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