PASCO – Things were looking good for the Spokane Indians on Saturday night – they’d won the first two games of a three-game series against first-place Tri-City and sent ace left-hander Robert Ross to the mound for the finale.
But the Dust Devils had other ideas.
Tri-City jumped on Ross for three first-inning runs and Sheng-An Kuo (3-3) scattered eight hits over five innings as the Dust Devils cruised to a 5-1 Northwest League victory.
The loss drops the Indians (29-32) six games behind Tri-City (35-26) with 15 games left in the regular season. Boise, which begins a six-game series against Spokane tonight at Avista Stadium, beat Yakima to pull into a second-place tie with the Indians.
Tri-City had a 2-0 lead before Ross (4-4) recorded his first out. Tim Wheeler was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jeremiah Sammy doubled to put runners on second and third base and Ben Paulsen drove in both with a double. Ross got Kent Matthes to fly out, but Paulsen took third on a wild pitch and Orlando Sandoval was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Paulsen scored on a sacrifice fly by Joseph Sanders. Leonardo Reyes singled before Ross struck out Jose Gonzalez to end the inning.
The Indians’ biggest threat of the night came in the top of the third, but produced just one run. Daniel Lima led off with a single, but was erased when Jared Prince grounded into a double play. Miguel Velazquez then tripled and Jason Ogata followed with an RBI single. Tommy Mendonca and Aja Barto each singled, loading the bases, but Zach Zaneski grounded out to first to end the inning.
Tri-City used a leadoff double, a hit batter, two sacrifice bunts and an error in the bottom of the third to score its final two runs off Ross.
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