The professional debut of first-round pick Alex Gonzalez didn't pan out like he had hoped. In fact, it didn't quite go according to the Spokane Indians' plans.
The Indians were unable to recover from a sloppy start to the season opener and the Everett AquaSox came away with a 6-4 win at Avista Stadium on Friday evening.
Gonzalez, the No. 23 overall selection in the 2013 draft by the Texas Rangers' 2013, stumbled out of the gates. He didn't allow too many hard-hit balls, but combined with spotty defense, it spelled an early exit.
"I felt comfortable out there, nothing shocking or anything," said Gonzales. "I didn't make the pitches when I needed to. My offspeed wasn't that great. When I did miss it was down, [but] I didn't really make that adjustment right away."
The right-hander was on a two-frame limit or a maximum of 35 pitches in order to protect him due to the large volume of innings he tossed in college this season.
The AquaSox were able to get to Gonzalez early without hitting a ball hard. James Zamarripa led off the game with a slow groundball up the middle. Two batters later, Martin Peguero hit a slow roller that second baseman Evan Van Hoosier was able to field cleanly, but his throw to first went wild and Zamarripa scored on the play.
Gonzalez exited the game after 1 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. The righty struck out one and walked one on 34 pitches. He was credited with the loss.
"It was a little shaky," said manager Tim Hulett on Gonzalez. "I thought he was nervous. The pitches that were down were effective and the ones that were up got hit."
Reliever Kyle Castro didn't fare much better. He was unable to throw strikes with consistency and walked four in two innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on just two hits in three innings of relief.
But the Indians made a game of it.
Down 5-2 in the seventh and with just three hits to show for six innings of offense, Alberto Triunfel and Brandon Garcia led off the inning with walks. after a sacrifice bunt and strikeout, Chris Garia laced a two-run triple to the wall in center to bring the Indians within 5-4.
"We could have folded pretty easy," Hulett said. "I think they had butterflies early. Fourth inning they settled down, scored a run. Everything kind of worked good for us at that point.
"I think it's huge to come back and not get shutout or maybe get one hit. We made the most of our hits. The guys that hit the ball can run, so they ended up on third base and scoring position. That was good to see."
The AquaSox got a run back in the eighth when Alfredo Morales launched a solo home run into the parking lot beyond the right field fence.
AquaSox starter Rigoberto Garcia stymied the Indians for six innings. He allowed two runs on just three hits. He walked two and struck out three.
"His fastball was very hard," Garia said. "He threw us away and then he come in 2-0, 2-1. The slider he had was very good."
Richard Vargas struck out five of the six batters he faced in two innings to earn the save.
The Indians and AquaSox are back at it again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. for the second contest of the three-game set.