PASCO, Wash. -- The Tri-City Dust Devils improved to 6-1 in the month of July and shut out the Spokane Indians 9-0 Saturday night in front of 3,204 at Gesa Stadium. The shutout was the second of the season for Tri-City, as they moved to within two games of the first place Yakima Bears in the Northwest League East Division first-half title race.
Tri-City (11-12) starter Ben Hughes (1-2) had his best performance of the season, throwing six shutout innings for his first win of the season. Hughes was dialed in all night, allowing two hits while striking out seven and walking two. Reliever Eric Federico followed Hughes' great performance with one of his own, throwing two perfect innings. Righty Andrew Brown then came in for the ninth inning for the Dust Devils and secured the victory.
Spokane (8-15) starting pitcher Jose Valdespina (1-3) had one rough inning that doomed his outing, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings. All three runs came in the second inning as the Dust Devils got two base-hits with two outs to jump in front of the Indians early. Relievers Ryan Harvey and Carlos Melo then combined to allow six runs over the final three innings.
Dust Devils catcher Michael Ramirez and second baseman Yafistel Roja were the batters with the clutch hits in the second inning, driving in one run and two runs respectively. Ramirez ended the night 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. Tri-City tallied 14 hits on the night, giving them double-digit hits in their last three games. Dust Devils outfielder Francisco Sosa was 1-for-4 with a run batted in on the night, extending his hitting streak to eight games.
Game two of the three game series between the Dust Devils and Indians is Sunday Night, which is also ALS Awareness Night at Gesa Stadium. Tri-City will look to win their third straight series as right-hander Peter Tago starts on the mound for the Dust Devils and righty Connor Sadzeck gets the start for the Indians, first pitch at 7:15 p.m.