Last night: Josh Javier struck out six over four innings and the Indians beat the Tri-City Dust Devils 7-0 in the first of a three-game Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Sunday.
The Indians (14-10) won their fourth in a row and maintained a two-game lead over Everett (12-12) and three over Tri-City (11-13) in the North Division.
Javier gave up one hit and one walk and hit a batter. He retired the last seven batters he faced and nine of the last 10.
Kellen Strahm went 2 for 5 with an RBI and is hitting .302 in 13 games. David Garcia went 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.
The big play: After hitting a batter and issuing a walk with two down in the first inning, Javier recovered to strike out Carlos Luis looking to end the inning. Manager Kenny Hook already had a reliever warming and if Luis had done some damage the ballgame could have had a completely different complexion.
The good: Warner Leal and Daniel Robert combined for five innings of shutout relief with six Ks. The pair allowed four hits and no walks. Starling Joseph, in as a defensive replacement in the ninth, made a spectacular diving catch in right with a runner on base to end the game.
The bad: Blaine Crim went 0 for 4 and stranded four out of the No. 5 spot in the order.
The ugly: Kenen Irizarry has gotten off to a good start with the bat – he’s hitting .327 with an .832 OBP – but his defensive lapses are recurring. In the first inning the Indians had a runner picked off that would have ended the inning, but Irizarry failed to cover second base and the runner was safe without a throw.
Unfortunately, Irizarry was hit on the hand – ruled a foul ball – in the eighth inning. After a lengthy consultation with Hook and the trainer, he came out of the game.
The takeaway: After winning three on the road in Hillsboro – for the first time in Indians history – it was good to see the club carry that over to the first game of the abbreviated homestand. The Indians are two games up on Everett and three over Tri-City with 14 games left in the first half.
Next game: Tri-City (11-13) at Spokane (14-10), 6:30 p.m.
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