By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — The Spokane Indians pitching staff tossed nine no-hit innings Sunday, yet it still wasn’t enough to decide the game.
So the Indians just continued chugging along and ended up with an even more impressive feat.
Four Spokane pitchers combined on an 11-inning no-hitter as the Indians defeated the Everett AquaSox 3-0 at Everett Memorial Stadium. It was the first extra-inning no-hitter in league history.
Derek Thompson, Shane McCain, Adam Parks and Luis Pollorena were each dominant on the mound for Spokane, facing just three more than the minimum and combining for 14 strikeouts. When Pollorena caught Everett pinch hitter Kyle Petty looking at an inside fastball for strike three to end the game, the Indians raced to the mound to conduct a championship-like celebration.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Spokane manager Tim Hulett, who had not managed a no-hitter in his eight seasons guiding the Indians. “I’ve seen a few no-hitters in my long career, but I’ve never seen an 11-inning no-hitter. So that’s quite an accomplishment by our pitching staff. They did a great job today.
“Every guy pitched well,” Hulett added. “I think sometimes when you have that kind of opportunity it can lock you in a little bit, because you don’t want to be the guy who gives it up. They all rose to the occasion tonight.”
Spokane’s pitchers not only pitched a no-hitter, they allowed just one scoring opportunity, when the Sox had runners on second and third with two out in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of a walk and a hit batter. After that Everett managed just two baserunners over the final seven frames, one of which was erased by a double play and the other being stranded at first. From the fifth through the 11th Spokane’s pitchers set down 18 consecutive Everett batters.
For the record: Thompson pitched five innings with one walk, two hit batters and five strikeouts; McCain threw three perfect innings and also struck out five; Parks went two perfect innings with three punchouts; and Pollorena had a walk and a strikeout in his lone frame. It was the first no-hitter by Spokane since Gregory Atencio and Justin Taylor combined on a no-hitter against Yakima on Sept. 3, 2002.
Parks was credited with the win while Pollorena picked up the save.
“We sure made them look good, didn’t we?” Everett manager Dave Valle responded when asked about Spokane’s pitching.
“It’s tough to win when you don’t score runs.”
Despite the quality of the pitching, Spokane couldn’t breath easy until the top of the 11th, when Luke Tendler clubbed a three-run home to break the scoreless tie. Seth Spivy lined a one-out double off the right-field wall, and Jose Trevino was intentionally walked so that left-handed reliever Cruz Pereira could pitch to the left-swinging Tendler. But Tendler turned that strategy upside down by tomahawk chopping a high fastball into the homer porch beyond the right-field wall to give the Indians the chance to polish off their no-hitter.
“He hits lefties pretty well,” Hulett said of Tendler, who came into the game among the league leaders in most offensive categories. “It didn’t surprise me. It just felt all along that somebody was going to pop one, especially with the short porch out there in right-center. He just went ahead and hit it far.”
The lack of offense meant a strong performance by Everett’s pitching staff went for naught.
Sox starter Ryan Yarbrough did his usual thing. The tall left-hander, who was the Seattle Mariners’ fourth-round pick in this year’s amateur draft out of Old Dominion University, had yet another three-inning start — all eight of his professional starts have gone exactly three innings. And for the second consecutive time out Yarbrough was perfect in his three frames, this time striking out three as he used a fastball in the low 90s and a variety of off speed pitches to confound the Spokane batters.
Yarbrough has retired the last 24 batters he’s faced over his last three appearances, and his ERA is now a tidy 1.88, with just two walks and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings.
Reliever Brett Ash picked up right where Yarbrough left off. The righty followed with four scoreless innings, striking out five as he twice worked out of jams after Spokane put two runners on base. Then Kody Kerski chipped in with two scoreless innings of his own, and Pereira tossed a scoreless frame before Spokane finally scored in the 11th.
“Our pitching was phenomenal,” Valle said. “Yarbrough, I’ll tell you what, he’s a special kid. Ash came in and did a tremendous job, so did Kerski. We made one mistake at the end of the ballgame by Pereira. Their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters (Trevino and Tendler) are two of the best hitters in the league. We had to pick our poison, we picked the lefty, we made one mistake and they took advantage of it.”
The loss, combined with Tri-City’s victory, means Everett (8-9 second half, 19-36 overall) and Tri-City are tied for first place in the North Division’s second-half standings. Spokane improved to 7-10, 32-23.