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Eugene reliever stymies Indians for 6 innings

The Spokane Indians had Adbert Alzolay in an unenviable position during the third inning Thursday.

Alzolay turned the tables and put Spokane in a difficult spot.

Alzolay, a 20-year-old Venezuelan, pitched six hitless innings to allow the Eugene Emeralds to rally for a 6-4 victory over the Indians at Avista Stadium.

Alzolay (2-2) relieved Ryan Kellogg with the bases loaded and nobody out in a 2-all game. Although he surrendered Tyler Sanchez’s sacrifice fly for a 3-2 Indians lead, he coaxed flyouts to right by Dean Long and Connor McKay to end the threat.

The Indians were set down 1-2-3 in four of the next five innings, limited to Sanchez’s leadoff walk in the sixth.

“Adbert’s been one of the big guys that we can rely on,” said Emeralds leadoff batter/center fielder Donnie Dewees, who hit a two-run homer in the third and snapped a 3-all tie in the seventh with a two-out RBI double. “He’s always around the strike zone, competitive, and doesn’t walk a lot of guys.”

“He had good stuff,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “We were just talking about that. We hadn’t had a hit since the (third) inning, but their pitcher had something to do with that. He had a good breaking ball and a good cutter, too, that he was throwing up there. Guys don’t see that very much at this level.”

Eugene has won the first two games of the five-game Northwest League series to improve to 3-1 in the season’s second half. The Indians are 1-3 in the second half with three consecutive losses.

Alzolay lowered his earned-run average to 1.04 over 26 innings.

Sanchez’s sacrifice fly to left had the home crowd pulling for a grand slam.

“I thought initially it might have a chance of getting out and then we scored just the one run,” Hulett said. “(Alzolay) did a good job of getting out of the inning. But it felt like a little bit of momentum and it shows that we have it in us – and then he just shut us down.”

Indians starter Peter Fairbanks was in line for his first professional win after allowing four hits and two earned runs for six innings.

But reliever Dario Beltre (0-1) continued his recent struggles, allowing five hits and four earned runs without making it through the seventh. Kevonte Mitchell tied the game with an RBI grounder to second base for the second out, and Dewees followed with his RBI double over the head of center fielder Darius Day.

“(Beltre) had a lot of command issues with his off-speed stuff,” Dewees said. “When that happens, as long as you can lay off his curveball and changeup, you have a good chance. He has to throw you a fastball. He has to throw you a strike.”

“He’s having trouble repeating his pitches right now and that’s unfortunate because he has a great arm coming out of the pen,” Hulett said.

Day replaced Indians all-star LeDarious Clark in center after Clark didn’t run out a pop up in the second inning.

“That’s just part of playing the game the right way and he didn’t play it the right way, so he’ll remember that one,” Hulett said. “The physical mistakes are one thing. The mental mistakes are unacceptable.”

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