SPOKANE, WASH. --- Starling Joseph's two-run home run and diving catch in center, as well as a perfect four innings from the Spokane bullpen, led the way to an Indians' 2-1 win over the Hops in the series finale on Tuesday night at Avista Stadium.
Hillsboro struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on a single by Jake McCarthy, an errant pickoff throw, and a double by Geraldo Perdomo. But Spokane would come back in the bottom of the inning.
Spokane catcher Isaias Quiroz led off the Indians' third with a tap single along the third base line --- the first runner allowed by Hops starter Ryan Weiss. Two outs later, Quiroz was at third when Joseph lined a ball over the left-field fence to put the Indians up 2-1.
Hillsboro got just one run in five innings off Spokane starter Hans Crouse, but they made him work. Hillsboro left the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. Jorge Perez --- who was 4-for-7 with 10 RBIs in bases-loaded situations entering the game --- popped out to end the threat. Crouse threw 29 pitches in the inning, which seemed important, as the Hops were eager to get Crouse out of the game and try their luck against the Spokane bullpen.
Crouse was done after tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, and the Indians' 'pen was up to the task. Bobby Eveld (one inning), Austin Pettibone (two innings) and Emmanuel Clase (one inning) combined for four perfect frames to preserve the 2-1 win. And they had help. Ryan January made a bid for a momentum-changing extra-base-hit leading off the seventh against Pettibone, but Joseph made a full-layout diving catch in center.
Beginning with Perez's pop-out to end the fourth, the final 16 Hops went down in order.
Crouse (5-1) got the win, Weiss (0-1) took the loss, and Clase earned his league-leading eighth save.
The loss spoiled a strong outing from Hops reliever Kenny Hernandez. He worked the final five innings, allowing no runs on three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts.
Hillsboro (5-3 in the second half, 29-17 overall) maintained a one-game lead over Salem-Keizer in the South Division second-half race. Spokane (5-3, 21-25) remains in a first-place tie with Vancouver in the North.
The Hops come home to face the Vancouver Canadians on Wednesday in the opener of a five-game series at Ron Tonkin Field. The radio broadcast begins at 7:00, with first pitch at 7:05 on Rip City Radio 620 AM and www.RipCityRadio.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.