Offense carries the day; Spokane Indians hold off Vancouver to sweep opening weekend series

Apr. 7—The first two games of the Spokane Indians season the pitching staff led the way to two victories over their Northwest League rival Vancouver Canadians.

On Sunday, while the pitching was still pretty good — at least until the latter stages — the offense carried the day.

Cole Carrigg hit a three-run homer to break things open and the Indians held on to sweep the three-game opening weekend series with a 7-6 win over the Canadians at Avista Stadium.

Kyle Karros went 4 for 4 with a two-run double. The Indians pounded out 14 hits against five Vancouver pitchers. They led 7-4 entering the ninth inning and got the final out with a runner in scoring position.

Indians starting pitcher Victor Juarez went 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

"It feels good," Carrigg said about the offense coming alive. "The pitching staff always does a good job, especially with (Chase) Dollander and (Sean) Sullivan. Juarez did a good job today, he got us through four or five and gave us a chance to win."

"It's taken us a while as an offense to figure out who's in what role," Karros said. "We've got to give a lot of credit to (the pitchers) for picking us up when we were down the first two days. I don't think we had any doubt that the bats would come through and they did today. It was a good team win and a well-rounded series win."

Karros, a fifth-round pick of the Rockies in last year's draft, is the son of former big leaguer Eric Karros. He wasn't sure the last time he had a four-hit game.

"Probably last year at some point in the college season," he said. "You know, it's huge. You love to have those days and the biggest part is just once you're 3 for 3 just kind of not just giving away that last at-bat — just staying with it, sticking with the approach and finishing the day."

After Juarez completed a 1-2-3 top of the first, the first five Indians batters reached in the bottom half, chasing Canadians starter Pat Gallagher. Carrigg and Dyan Jorge walked, then Karros ripped a double to the right center gap to plate both.

Karros then scored on a single by Bryant Betancourt and Gallagher got the early hook.

"I knew good things were coming my way. I'd been putting together good at bats hadn't had anything to show for it," Karros said. "I got a good pitch over the plate. I've been tearing myself apart trying to come through for the team and it meant a lot to do that there. Get the first one out of the way, in a big spot."

Vancouver got a run back in the third on a double by No. 9 hitter Jean Arnaez and consecutive singles by Dasan Brown and Ryan McCarty. After a strikeout, Juarez walked Nick Goodwin to load the bases, then two runs scored on a wild pitch and error to tie it up.

The Canadians had runners at second and third with two down in the sixth, but catcher Jesus Ordonez threw out Dylan Rock at third on a back pick to end the inning.

Spokane took the lead back in the bottom half. With two down Ordonez doubled to the right center gap and scored on a single by Parker Kelly.

Jean Perez followed with a single, then Carrigg cranked the Indians first home run of the season, a no-doubt opposite field shot over the left center fence for a 7-3 lead.

Vancouver scored once in the eighth off reliever Braxton Hyde and picked up two more in the ninth off Luis Amoroso — who was drilled in the arm on a comebacker and had to leave the game — and Tyler Ahearn. But Ahearn was able to coax a routine grounder to Karros at third to strand the tying run at second.

The Indians start a six-game series at Tri-City on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.