LOWELL, Mass. — The first handful of games following the New York-Penn League’s All-Star Break did not go the Lowell Spinners’ way.
However, a new opponent’s arrival to LeLacheur Park quickly proved to be just what the doctor ordered on Monday night.
The Spinners jumped out of the gates fast and ultimately held on against the Vermont Lake Monsters, scoring eight times over the first four innings en route to a 10-6 win.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak and was Lowell’s first since Aug. 16, and lifted the Spinners to an even 31-31 mark for the season.
“Dropping six and knowing we could have won four or five of those was a tough little stretch there,” Spinners manager Joe Oliver said. “It was good that we rebounded the way that we did today to come out, score some runs and get some confidence back.”
Following a three-game home sweep at the hands of Staten Island over the weekend, the Spinners started off on the right foot with a three-run first inning. Each of the first four Spinners batters reached base against Vermont’s Kyle Friedrichs, Oakland’s seventh-round draft selection this June.
After center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe walked and second baseman Chad De La Guerra knocked a base hit, third baseman Victor Acosta’s deep double to left-center field scored a pair of runs to get the Spinners off to a 2-0 lead.
Designated hitter Kyri Washington was next up and added to the lead, dropping a single into shallow left field to bring home Lowell’s third run of the ballgame.
“We had a meeting yesterday and just talked about getting back on track, doing the small things,” Washington said following his third consecutive multi-hit effort. “I think tonight we came out rolling a little bit and helped the pitching out in that first inning.”
It was clear the team meeting Washington spoke of paid off as the Spinners strung together three more hits and scored twice two innings later. Acosta walked and scored from first base on an error before first baseman Josh Ockimey doubled to right field, bringing home Washington.
Lowell sent all nine men to the plate in the fourth, scoring twice on three base knocks to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Catcher Jhon Nunez and shortstop Jeremy Rivera posted back-to-back singles to open the inning before runs scored on Basabe’s single and a sacrifice fly to center field from Basabe.
“We haven’t been scoring a whole lot of runs, early especially, and have been flirting with some two, three and four-hitters,” Oliver said. “To put some runs up early and continue to really got some confidence going. You could really start to see some of the guys relax when they got to the plate.”
Second baseman Trace Loehr put the Lake Monsters on the board in the fifth with a two-run home run off a sign in the top row of advertisements in right field.
Loehr’s second home run of the season was Spinner starter Jose Almonte’s lone blemish over five innings. En route to his third win of the year, Almonte walked five but allowed just two other hits while striking out five.
Boston College alum John Gorman struck out three of the four Spinner batters he faced over the next couple frames, but uncorked a wild pitch that brought Rivera across with Lowell’s ninth run of the night.
Left fielder Brett Siddall scored Loehr on an eighth-inning double for Vermont, but the Spinners matched that mark as Ockimey lifted his third home run of the year out to right field in a hurry with two outs in the bottom half.
“It felt pretty good,” Ockimey said. “I got a pitch I was looking for and put a good swing on it. I think I’m feeling good getting back in the box again, so I’m trying to keep it moving.”
Oliver turned to Trevor Kelley to shut the door and he did just that after Vermont damaged the Spinners’ comfortable lead. The Red Sox’ 36th-round selection out of North Carolina retired the final three Lake Monsters batters on the game, striking out one, to preserve the 10-6 victory.
The offense early and often was a great sign for the Spinners as they had combined to score just eight runs during the six-game skid, a stretch which dropped them 3.5 games back in both the Stedler Division and Wild Card races.
Washington knew that the team’s offense, which proved more than capable earlier in the summer, would come around.
“We knew we could do it,” said Washington, Boston’s 23rd-round pick from Longwood University. “Earlier in the year, a little bit before I got here (from the Gulf Coast League), they were on a roll. It’s all about getting back to the basics and playing the game the right way.”
The Spinners continue their second-to-last homestand of the season on Tuesday night with the second of three contests against Vermont. Kevin Steen will take the ball for Lowell as it looks for a seventh win over the Lake Monsters this year.