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Spokane Indians done in again by Salem-Keizer’s Franklin Labour

UPDATED: Tue., July 2, 2019

The Spokane Indians will be perfectly happy to see Franklin Labour leave town. They have one more game to go.

Labour added two home runs to his Northwest League-leading total – giving him four in two days and nine overall – and the Indians lost to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 9-3 in the second of a three-game series at Avista Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Indians (10-9) lost their fourth game in a row and seventh out of eight while the Volcanoes moved to 12-7.

“He’s obviously a good hitter,” Indians manager Kenny Hook said. “But you’ve got to get ahead of good hitters here.”

On the fourth pitch of the game with a 1-2 count, Indians 19-year-old starter Florencio Serrano hit S-K leadoff hitter Alex Canario on the top of his helmet with a curveball that didn’t break. After a several-minute consultation with manager Mark Hallberg and trainers, Canario jogged to first.

Serrano recovered to retire the next two batters, but Labour made him pay for the mistake, crushing a 2-1 fastball just inside the left-field foul pole but well over the fence for his eighth home run of the season. Luis Asuncion helped limit the damage with a diving catch of a liner in right, ending the inning.

“(Labour)’s in an advantage count, like 2-1, 3-1,” Hook added. “It’s just a different animal when you’re ahead in the count.”

The Indians hurler found more trouble in the second. Armani Smith led off with a single and went to third on a double by Jeff Houghtby. Yorlis Rodriguez’s broken-bat single down the line at third scored both runners, putting S-K up 4-0.

The Indians got on the board in the bottom half. David Garcia led off with a walk, went to third on a single by Luis Asuncion and scored on Obie Ricumstrict’s double-play grounder.

Ricardo Genoves led off the Volcanoes’ third with a single. Labour took one to the wall in center, but Kellen Strahm crashed into the wall, robbing him of extra bases.

It mattered little as the next batter, Tyler Flores, clubbed a two-run shot to right-center that the outfielders didn’t even have to break on.

Smith followed with a line-drive single, then Houghtby hit a blast deep to right for his second homer of the season and an 8-1 lead.

“It’s a learning process,” Hook said of Serrano. “He’s such a young kid. When you’re facing a lineup like that, I think early on you have to show something to make them feel a little bit uncomfortable. He didn’t really do that. They got super comfortable and took some really good swings off of him.”

Labour added his second home run of the night, leading off the seventh against lefty Triston Polley.

The Indians rallied for two in the bottom half with two down. Asuncion drew a walk and scored on a double by Ricumstrict, and Blaine Crim followed with an RBI single.

“It’s tough when you get down that big early,” Hook said. “I thought some of the at-bats later were good. I’m glad to see the effort was still there throughout the game, but it was tough going down 8-0 in the first two or three innings.”

Joe Corbett struck out five in two innings of hitless relief for the Indians. Daniel Robert allowed a hit and a walk with a K in two scoreless frames.

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