Martinez steers Indians to Game 1 win

Rangers No. 3 prospect collects three hits, scores twice

Julio Pablo Martinez batted .269 with 38 runs scored in 46 games after June 30. (Jared Ravich/

By Josh Horton / | September 6, 2018 2:16 AM

EVERETT, Wash. -- It hasn't always come easy to Julio Pablo Martinez in his first season playing professional baseball in the United States, despite his sturdy frame and blazing speed on the basepaths and in center field. 

In his first taste of playoff baseball, however, he made the game look easy.

The Rangers' third-ranked prospect went 3-for-5 with a double, two stolen bases and two runs scored as Spokane beat Everett, 7-3, to capture Game 1 of the best-of-3 Northwest League semifinals at Everett Memorial Stadium. 

Gameday box score

"It's outstanding the way he's come along," Spokane manager Kenny Holmberg said. "I think people need to keep in mind that this is a transition for a lot of these kids, whether it's coming from high school, college or somewhere internationally, and he's done a really, really nice job accommodating himself to the game, the pace of play. It's a pleasure to have a player like him." 

The Cuba native thumped a double off the wall in right off rehabbing Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1) in the first inning, stole third and scored on Diosbel Arias' sacrifice fly. He chopped a single over the head of third baseman Bobby Honeyman, who crept in to for a potential bunt, in the second and raced home on a two-run double by Northwest League MVP Curtis Terry.

In the eighth, Martinez singled to right and swiped his second bag of the game. 

"Heads-up baseball is what he's been playing," Holmberg said. 

Martinez struggled initially in his first action in the U.S., posting a .188/.328/.399 slash line in June. He eventually acclimated himself and raised his average to .252 and his OPS to .789 by the end of the regular season. The Rangers gave him a $2.8 million signing bonus in March 2018 after he defected.

Francisco Ventura clubbed a two-run homer and Terry, who led the league with 60 RBIs, added a two-run single as Spokane built a 7-2 lead.

John King (1-0) got the win in relief, striking out four and walking one over four hitless innings. Rangers No. 30 prospect Yerry Rodriguez started for the Indians and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks with a pair of strikeouts in four frames. 

Connor Kopach drove in all three runs for the AquaSox, slugging a two-run homer and drawing a bases-loaded walk. 

Iwakuma (0-1) was tagged for three runs on four hits while walking four in two innings in his third rehab start. 

The series moves east to Avista Stadium, where Spokane can complete a sweep on Thursday.

In other Northwest League playoff action

Emeralds 3, Hops 2

Fernando Kelli tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth inning and scored the go-ahead run on a balk as Eugene took the opener of the other semifinal series. Peyton Remy (1-0) tosses three innings of scoreless relief for the win and Ivan Medina shut the door in the ninth. The Emeralds erased a 2-0 deficit after D-backs No. 15 prospect Andy Yerzy belted a solo homer in the second and 21st-ranked Gerardo Perdomo delivered an RBI triple. Box score

Josh Horton is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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