Chris McMahon, Spokane Indians Blast Hops, 6-1
Chris McMahon (W, 7-3) did not start the game for the Indians, but he sure finished it. Going seven innings, he held the Hops to just one run while his teammates were swinging the bats for six runs. In the end, the Spokane Indians stood above the Hillsboro Hops 6-1.
Peter Lambert Starts, Chris McMahon Finishes
Not until the third inning did Chris McMahon take over for Peter Lambert. Prior to that, Lambert did his job holding the Hops to just one hit and no runs. But, the game was just starting. Seven more innings loomed ahead.
From the third through the seventh, McMahon did not allow the Hops an inch. He faced the minimum 15 batters and retired them in order. The only blip during that time was Jorge Barrosa’s one out single in the third. But, McMahon took care of that easily by picking Barrosa off first base before the next batter could move him to second.
The time the Hops came closest was in the eighth. The first four Hops’ batters reached base safely. Normally, that would add up to at least one run. But, like erasing Barrosa in the third, the Indians erased lead off batter Blaze Alexander when he tried to score. Before that, the Hops slowly built their presence on the base paths.
Hops Threaten in Second
Both Alexander and newcomer Ronny Simon led off with singles. Then providence turned an error into a run saving play. Nick Dalesandro sent a grounder to second baseman Jack Blomgren. An error on Blomgren’s part made throwing the speedy Dalesandro out at first a lost opportunity.
But, Blomgren’s awareness caught sight of Alexander trying to round third and make it home for the Hops’ first score of the game. A quick toss and Dalesandro was tagged out by third baseman Aaron Schunk. The Indians still had to deal with runners at first and second. Walking Leodany Perez to load the bases with only one out didn’t make it any easier.
Still, Chris McMahon was on the mound. He struck out Jorge Barrosa for the second out. Then Cam Coursey knocked a grounder to Blomgren who tossed it to first for the third out. Even though the Indians had scored their six runs already, the threat felt like more than just one run crossing the plate.
Andy Yerzy Home Run Off Chris McMahon Hops’ Only Run
Chris McMahon faced his last challenge in the final inning. Three outs away from putting the game to bed, the Hops’ Andy Yerzy sent a bomb sailing out for the Hops’ first, last and only run for the game. Retiring the next three batters in order afterwards was not a stiff challenge.
Bats of Spokane scoring the runs to give the home team the 6-0 lead did their part in keeping the pressure off of McMahon. But, it was a slow start to build the lead. Hops’ starter Blake Walston (L, 2-2) gave three innings with three strikeouts. In the second inning was where Hillsboro ran into some trouble. Singles by Grant Lavigne and Daniel Montano paired with an error by Hops’ shortstop Alexander allowed Lavigne to scoot around the bases and put the first run on the board.
Josh McMinn came on for the next three innings and ran into some more trouble. Back to back singles by Brenton Doyle and Montano and an error from Hops’ right fielder Leodany Perez allowed Doyle to score in the fourth.
Fifth Inning Explosion
The biggest hurt came in the fifth. Six Indians went to the plate and three came home. With one out, three consecutive singles by Blomgren, Ezekiel Tovar and Hunter Stovall brought Blomgren home. After a strikeout, Lavigne smacked a two-run single to score the other two. That gave Spokane a six run lead and they cruised past the Hops efforts to take the game.
A Doyle lead off home run in the sixth capped the scoring for Spokane. Relief pitcher Kai-Wei Lin took over for the last two innings and held the Indians to one hit and no runs.
The win helped the Spokane Indians keep pace with Eugene, seven games ahead of them. The win also gained them a game on Everett who lost tonight. Meanwhile, Eugene, who has been trying to catch Everett most of the season, is now just one game out of first place.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops another game back of Spokane. Four games now separate the two teams. This loss, counting the last two against Eugene the previous week, gives the Hops a three game losing streak. Before the streak started, the Hops were knocking on Spokane’s door and threatening to take third place in the standings.
The two teams meet again for game#2 Wednesday. Spokane leads the series 1-0.