The Spokane Indians took one on the chin Friday night, a 12-3 loss in which they allowed four home runs and 19 hits.
They needed a stoppage effort on Saturday, and that’s exactly what they got.
Starter Joe Rock allowed a run in seven solid innings, Julio Carreras and Bladimir Restituyo both homered in the seventh inning and the Indians beat the Hillsboro Hops 3-1 in Game 5 of a six-game series. the North West League at Avista Stadium.
“The way they came out today after yesterday was a really tough night for us, especially with the pitching,” Indians interim manager Julio Campos said. “The way we bounced back…we came, we competed. We find a way to win this game.
Rock (6-3) allowed four hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The 21-year-old southpaw, No. 68 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft, threw 89 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“I felt good,” Rock said. “I had all three pitches working for me. It’s been a big priority for me throughout this year, so it was good to come in and have three pitches to work on.
“We just have to warm up here, to try to win the first half. Coming here and getting a win is a good feeling.
“Oh man. Throwing strikes, pounding the area. He was awesome,” Campos said of Rock. “Not afraid to throw anywhere, any court, any count. A great outing for him.
The Indians went up the board in the first as Eddy Diaz started with a single, stole second, went to third on one pitch and headed home on a sacrifice fly by Colin Simpson.
Hillsboro equalized in the fifth as Caleb Roberts doubled up, went third on a pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly from Shane Muntz.
It stayed that way until the seventh, when Carreras activated a 1-2 pitch and bludgeoned it over the wall to left center for his eighth of the season. Two batters later, Restituyo ripped one down the line for his third of the season and a 3-1 lead.
“I just try to do my best to help the team win,” Carreras said. “That’s what we’re here for, you know, to help the team win and win games. If we lose two in a row, it doesn’t matter. We will have them tomorrow.
“I mean, focus, you know, try to dominate somehow,” Campos said. “We tried to find a way early in the game, using speed, doing different things. But if that doesn’t happen, the solo shots, we take them.
The Hops ranked the runners second and third with one out in eighth. Tim Tawa flew to middle left field and Robby Martin Jr’s pitch to the plate caught Danny Oriente to complete the end-inning double play.
Anderson Pilar made a save, his first, with two shutout innings.
• Web nuggets: Cristopher Navarro made a few sparkling plays at third in the third, first diving to his right to make a backhand stab and hard throw, then crossing the infield on a high chop to get the runner from a half -not.
In the fourth, Simpson played a line drive to the left field wall and fired a strike to second to catch Ryan Bliss trying to stretch a doubles single for third out of the inning.
“The whole group works hard every day,” Campos said. “They show what they are capable of. They have fun outside. I’m sitting in the dugout watching these guys play and it’s really fun.
• Scary show: In the sixth inning, Indians catcher Ronaiker Palma went down to block a pitch in the dirt and it bounced back and hit him in the throat area.
Palma was down for several moments and was taken care of by the coaches of both teams. He was eventually helped off the field and replaced in the lineup by Drew Romo.
Campos said Palma was hit more on the side of the neck and was able to speak as he ran off the pitch. Palma was taken to hospital as a precaution and observation.