Garia Ends Extra-Inning Affair With Two-Run Homer - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Garia Ends Extra-Inning Affair With Two-Run Homer

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Spokane Indians manager Tim Hulett had one message for his team before the bottom of the 11th inning.

"Just find a way to get it done," Hulett said to no one in particular in the Indians dugout.

Chris Garia answered the skipper's call, launching a towering two-run, two-out home run over the left field wall to give the Indians a 5-3 walk-off win over the Boise Hawks in 11 innings.

The home run has capped a powerful couple of days for Garia, who has now hit three home runs in the last two contests. The speedy outfielder isn't known for his clout and claims he has never been on a power surge remotely close to what he's experiencing.

For his part, Garia says he's just trying to hit the ball hard and on the line. His approach in the 11th inning on Monday was no different.

"Yesterday he pitched me outside, outside and then when I go hit [today], I think he throw me outside," Garia said. "Then after two balls, one strike, I look for a good pitch to hit and I hit it."

After a slow start to the season, Garia has boosted his average to .289 after going 5-for-9 at the plate the last two games. During that span, Garia has hit three home runs and a double, stolen a base and knocked in four runs from the leadoff spot.

"Really, you want your leadoff guy to get on base, but he's not only getting on base, he's swinging the bat with some authority, he steals bases, he puts a lot of pressure on the defense," Hulett.

The towering home run off Hawks reliever Matt Iannazzo snapped a streak of 13 straight extra-inning losses for the Indians that dates back to July 2011.

Spokane has now won four straight and have seized the momentum that seemed so elusive during a 1-6 start to the season.

"It's a big deal," Hulett said. "A lot of times in baseball, we don't think about momentum and we need to ride this thing out as long as we can. The momentum can swing the other way. That was a big deal."

The Indians were three outs from closing out a 3-2 win in nine innings, but the Hawks' Carlos Penalver led off the frame with a single and advanced to third on a Jacob Hannemann double. With the Spokane infield playing in, Shawon Dunston hit a ground ball up the midlde that shortstop Alberto Triunfel stopped with a dive.

After looking Penalver back to third, Triunfel got the out at first. But Penalver took off for home following the throw to first and Ryan Cordell didn't see him break for the plate.

Reliever Abel De Los Santos was able to get out of the jam with just the one run given up, but the game was tied 3-3 and went to extras.

De Los Santos ended up with the win after he threw three innings, allowing just the one run on two hits. With a thin bullpen, Hulett was prepared to call on catcher Brandon Garcia to throw the 13th inning if the game got to that point.

The Indians jumped on the board early as Garia walked to open the first. After stealing second and advancing to third on a fly ball to center, Cam Schiller plated him with a single for a 1-0 lead.

Schiller brought Spokane's second run home, as well, taking a pitch in the foot with the bases loaded in the fifth to force home Marcus Greene.

Down 2-1 in the seventh, Hannemann tied the game for the Hawks with an RBI double down the left-field line to score Penalver from second. The Indians stranded Hannemann -- a third-round pick out of BYU -- at third, though, when Kevin Encarnacion grounded out to shortstop Alberto Triunfel.

Indians starter Kelvin Vasquez labored through four innings, but was adept at escaping trouble. He allowed just one run on five hits and a walk, leaving runners on base in each frame.

Spokane continues its eight-game homestand on Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. contest against Vancouver at Avista Stadium.

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