AP NEWS

Spokane Indians fight back to win after Tri-City’s four-run first inning

August 24, 2017 GMT

The Indians got a surprise visit when Colby Lewis flew to Spokane Wednesday morning to join the team on the field before its 8-7 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils.

The former Texas Rangers pitcher put in some work with the Indians’ bullpen, offering some advice to the young pitchers looking to move up the minor league ladder. It was Lewis’ chance to briefly step into a minor league coaching role for the Rangers, a position he and the club’s front office are considering for future seasons.

“I feel like I owe a lot to this organization. I was here for a long time,” said Lewis, who pitched nine seasons for the Rangers.

Now, the former big-leaguer is looking to use his experience to better some of the Rangers’ top prospects in the farm system.

“I was there one time, being 19 years old,” Lewis said. Lewis played a couple of months in short-A after he was drafted by the Rangers in the first round in 1999.

“I didn’t really get a guy like me stepping in who had a lot of big-league time and I feel like maybe that can kind of help a little bit with these younger guys going through the process,” Lewis said.

His presence was certainly appreciated by the pitching crew, particularly by the youngest arms who have had their minor-league debuts this season.

“For the guys to see a big-leaguer come back and a guy that actually played at our level before and pitched at the age of 19 … to hear him talk and for him to be on our side is great,” first-year Indians pitcher Alex Speas said.

Lewis will be in Spokane for the entire three-game series against the Dust Devils. Throughout the next couple of days, Speas said he plans to “pick his brain about what it takes.”

“He made it,” Speas said. “I just (want to) ask him what it takes. When he went through hard times, what did he do to get through them.”

Speas has already felt the hard times this season, falling to an 0-6 record while working to his ERA to as much as 10.89.

On Wednesday, he finally earned his first win of the season, fanning five batters and allowing no hits in two innings on the mound.

“It took a while to get here,” Speas said. “For me to start off the season with not the best outings, and then finally come out and get my first win, it feels like a big accomplishment.”

The win put the Indians (15-13 second half) within a game of the first-place Dust Devils and Vancouver Canadians, both 16-12.

Tri-City jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Indians starting pitcher Hever Bueno hit Tri-City’s Robbie Podorsky with his first pitch of the game. Podorsky stole second and scored on Justin Lopez’s single to center field.

Lopez scored on Luis Asuncion’s single to right for a 2-0 lead. Jose Lezama’s two-out, two-run single to left extended the lead to 4-0.

The Indians had no immediate answer for Tri-City’s big inning, which took 30 minutes. T-C starter Will Stillman (1-4) retired the Indians 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.

Curtis Terry fired up the Indians in the second with a three-run home run to right, cutting Tri-City’s lead to 4-3.

The Indians added a three-run fourth that started with Austin O’Banion’s one-out solo homer to left-center, tying the score at 4.

After Terry and Kole Enright singled, Terry scored on Miguel Aparicio’s single up the middle, getting just under the tag at home to give the Indians the lead for good at 5-4.

Chris Seise’s single to shortstop drove in Enright to put the Indians up 6-4.

The Dust Devils pulled within a run in the sixth, beginning with Lopez’s leadoff homer to right-center. The second run scored on a two-out throwing error by Indians third baseman Enright.

The Indians added a run in the sixth on Clay Middleton’s bases-loaded walk.

The Dust Devils cut Spokane’s lead to 8-7 in the eighth when Kelvin Melean reached third on two throwing errors and scored a wild pitch. Indians reliever Joe Kuzia got Tre Carter to fly out to center to end the inning.

Bueno pitched one-third on an inning, allowing three hits and four earned runs, with one walk and one hit batter.

The Indians outhit Tri-City 14-7. Seise went 4 for 5 and O’Banion was 3 for 4 followed.

The teams pick up the series Thursday 6:30 p.m.