Matt Hagen sighed with relief.
“It feels a lot better to win,” the first-year manager said.
The Spokane Indians finally put an end to their eight-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils on Wednesday at Avista Satdium.
It was a win Hagen said the Indains needed before leaving for their next road trip to Boise. He credited it all to his players’ resilience in the box.
“We capitalized on some errors,” Hagen said. “We hit four or five balls hard that go right at people. … All you can do is hit the ball hard and hope it doesn’t go to somebody.”
It took the Indians three innings to finally find some open space and notch a hit. Spokane’s Curtis Terry knocked a single to shallow right field.
Terry’s bat came in handy again in the seventh, when the 20-year-old slugger forced a number of mistakes by the Dust Devils an another short single.
Tri-City relief pitcher Andres Munoz loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks and allowed Yohel Pozo a free trip home on a wild pitch. The score extended Spokane’s lead to 3-1.
With the bases loaded, Terry chopped a bouncer between second baseman Felipe Blanco and first baseman Chris Mattison. Both went after the ball, leaving first base wide open.
Munoz raced across the field to save what should have been an easy out, but Terry beat the right-handed pitcher to the bag.
Blanco made a bad toss to Munoz, which sent home another run for the Indians. Blanco recovered the ball and attempted to toss out Cristian Inoa when the shortstop headed to third on the throwing error. Blanco made another bad throw to the bag and sent Inoa home to cap off the three-run play.
Pozo had led off the inning with a hard bouncer to Blanco. But Blanco bobbled the ball, Tri-City’s first error of the night, and he couldn’t get the throw to first base quickly enough to toss out Pozo.
Blanco’s three errors gave the Indians a comfortable 6-1 lead heading into the eighth.
“It was a crazy play, but it just worked itself out,” said Terry, who led the Indians with two hits in three at-bats. “That just gave us momentum the rest of the game.”
The Indians ended the eighth with a double play and Indians relief pitcher Reiver Sanmartin (2-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end the game.
The Indians struggled early in the game against one of the San Diego Padres’ top prospects Adrian Morejon. The 18-year-old lefty from Cuba caught a number of Indians on his fastball, which consistently broke the plate in the 92- to 95-mph range.
“We were facing a kid with a good fastball tonight. He was beating us with it and we were late and late,” Hagen said. “We challenged them and said, ‘Hey, we know what he’s throwing, so make an adjustment and somebody get ahead out there early.’ ”
Kole Enright certainly listened to Hagan’s advice.
The first-year player got Spokane on the board with a two-run homer against Morejon in the fourth. It was Enright’s first home run with the Indians and the team’s 10th this season.
“That’s a good arm. I kind of just had a feel for (Morejon) the whole game,” Enright said. “I took a couple good pitches, worked it to 3-2 and got a fastball. And I didn’t miss it.”
The Indians threw no-hit ball for five innings, but walks were a problem.
Spokane’s left-handed starter Cole Ragans was quick to give Tri-City a few free passes early in the game with three walks in less than two innings. He had three strikeouts, including two called, to escape both innings without a score.
Luis Asuncion spoiled Spokane’s no-hitter in the sixth with a double to center field. He was tagged out when he attempted to take third on a grounder to Inoa at shortstop.
Blanco knocked in Tri-City’s only run of the night in the sixth with a groundout to shortstop.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.