Sometimes in baseball you run into a team or player on a hot streak. On Sunday, the Spokane Indians ran into just such a player.
Vancouver Canadians starting pitcher Adam Kloffenstein was the Toronto Blue Jays third-round pick in last year’s MLB Draft and he has rapidly moved up that organization’s prospect lists, ranked ninth according to MLB.com.
Kloffenstein dominated over the first five innings and the Canadians topped the Indians 6-0 in the finale of a three-game series at Avista Stadium.
The Indians (3-3 second half) had a streak of five straight series wins snapped. Spokane pitchers walked nine and the Indians committed three errors.
“Their starter was good,” Indians manager Kenny Hook said. “Really good, heavy sinker. And we struggled with it. He was making some really good pitches down in the zone, and the guy had us off balance. We were kind of in between, you know, didn’t know what to do with it. So, runs tough to come by there.”
Kloffenstein (3-2) allowed just two hits and four walks with seven strikeouts, lowering his season earned run average to 2.27 over eight starts. He has given up one earned run over 20 2/3 innings in his last four starts.
“Tonight he just made quality pitches on both sides of the plate,” Hook said.
“Their starter definitely had a good day,” Indians second base Jake Hoover said. “Good stuff, two-seam sinker, moves well – had a lot of movement on it, a little deceptive. You know first time seeing the slider it was tight.”
It’s the second straight night the Indians had to match up against one of the Jays’ top prospects. On Saturday, they faced Alek Manoah, the No. 11 overall pick in this year’s draft. Hoover said players recognize when they have to face another organization’s top prospects.
“We all watch the draft when it happens,” he said. “So most of us are pretty aware when their big guys are throwing.”
The Canadians started the scoring in the second against Indians starter Teodoro Ortega. Cameron Eden laced an RBI double into the right field corner that landed fair by a matter of inches to make it 1-0.
The Canadians loaded the bases in the fourth with one out on consecutive singles and a hit batter. Ortega walked Morris to force in a run and that brought Hook out to make a pitching change.
Warner Leal entered and struck out Rodriguez for the second out but he walked Trevor Schwecke to bring in another run.
The Indians got the leadoff hitter on in the fourth when Derwin Barreto walked, and he went to second on a wild pitch. But Kloffenstein struck out Kenen Irizarry and Jonah McReynolds to keep Spokane scoreless.
Francisco Ventura led off the Indians half of the fifth with a walk and Hoover added a two-out single but Kloffenstein got Alexander Ovalles to pop up to end the inning.
Juan Castillo took over in the eighth for Spokane. He walked No. 9 hitter Adrian Ramos then allowed him to steal second – standing up. He walked the bases loaded, and a run scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-0.
Will Robertson bounced a routine grounder to Hoover, who tried to get the force at second base but his throw was off target to load the bases again.
Hook went to the pen for Joe Corbett, who coaxed a short fly to center and Ovalles made a diving catch charging back toward the infield, but he couldn’t recover quickly enough to make a throw home and another run came in on the play.
The Indians got two on with one out in the ninth against reliever Gage Burland, a 2014 graduate of East Valley High School who pitched at Lewis-Clark State College. McReynolds bounced into a double play to end the game.
“It was exciting,” Burland said. “I didn’t know they were gonna throw in the high school (when he was introduced). But yeah, it was a good time.
“I had some family, some friends here and they were excited to see me out there. It’s fun to finally get to throw here.”
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