Indians Catapult Over Chiefs 7-5

Tribe Jumps Ahead Early And Rallies Late For Victory

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Right fielder Brandon Moss blasted a first inning grand slam to give the Tribe an early lead, before center fielder Alex Presley came through with a clutch two-out two-run single in the ninth to catapult the Indianapolis Indians over Syracuse in the International League Wild Card race with a 7-5 victory over the Chiefs on Wednesday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.

The victory for Indianapolis improves their record to 55-51 on the season, while with the loss Syracuse falls behind the Tribe with a 54-51 mark.  The win also propels the Indians over the Chiefs in the International League Wild Card race, where they now stand just one half game behind West Division rival Louisville.

The dynamic duo of Moss (2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Presley (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB) continues to lead the Tribe on the path to victory as Moss accounted for the Indians’ first four scores and Presley capped the offensive evening with a hand in the final three tallies.

The Indians quickly jumped on former Major Leaguer Jason Marquis as following a lead-off walk by 2B Brian Friday and infield single by 3B Akinori Iwamura, Presley drew a hit-by-pitch to the load the bases and set the stage for Moss.  The left handed slugger would make Marquis pay as he launched the second pitch of the at-bat over the wall in right center-field for his second grand slam of the season.

The four RBI for Moss give him a team best 70 on the season, which ranks him second in the International League behind only Durham’s Dan Johnson and already surpasses the Indians’ individual season high from last season (Neil Walker — 69).

Marquis (5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) would however settle down after serving up the slam to Moss as he did not allow another run and surrendered just two singles, while striking out seven to keep the Chiefs with-in striking distance.

Syracuse got on the board in the third when former Indians’ C Carlos Maldonado drew a lead-off walk and eventually came around to score on a Chiefs’ double play.  LF Leonard Davis then moved the Chiefs to with-in one, when he blasted a two-run home run in the fifth, plating RF Kevin Mench, who led off the frame with a single.

Indianapolis would push the lead back to two with what turned out to be a key insurance run in the sixth, when Presley led off the frame with a single, stole second and came around to score on a base hit by 1B Jeff Clement.  The Tribe first baseman went on to lead all batters with three base knocks on the evening as he also collected base hits in the first and eighth innings.

The Chiefs, however, would not go away quietly as they battled back with a two-out two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score at 5-5.  3B Pete Orr began the rally for Syracuse when he ripped a triple to right field before trotting the final 90 feet when 2B Chase Lambin followed with a game-tieing two-run bomb over the fence in right.

This comeback set the stage for a true team comeback for the Indians in the top of the ninth as C Luke Carlin led off the frame with a base on balls, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by SS Argenis Diaz and, following a Tribe out, moved to third when Friday was intentionally walked and 3B Doug Bernier drew another key free pass.  Presley then stepped to the plate for the Tribe and after moving the count to 1-1 laced the eventual game-winning base hit to center.

Not to be overshadowed by the Indians’ continued excellence at the plate, Tribe starter Mike Crotta (7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) allowed just three earned runs on six hits, while matching a season high with six strikeouts over 7.2 innings.  Crotta would not however figure in the final decision as in his Triple-A debut RHP Derek Hankins (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER), despite blowing the save, would earn the victory to improve to 1-0 on the season.

Indians’ closer Jean Machi (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 SO) bounced back from a recent rough patch as he struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn his 14th save of the season.

On the other side, Syracuse reliever Atahualpa Severino (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 4-2 on the season after surrendering the Indians’ two ninth inning tallies.

The Indians continue their four-game series with the Syracuse Chiefs on Thursday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m. RHP Jeremy Powell is the expected starter for the Indians, while LHP Matt Chico is the probable starter for the Chiefs.

The contest will be carried by WXLW-950 AM and with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:40 p.m.

Post-game quotes — OF Alex Presley

(on his game-winning two-out two-run single)
“I figured he (Chiefs’ reliever Atahualpa Severino) was going to try and throw me some breaking balls when he got ahead in the count and that’s what I got and was able to hit.  I was just trying to stay to the middle of the field to be ready for his fastball and if he threw his breaking ball I would adjust.”

(on the offense doing the little things)
“We had everyone battling at the plate tonight.  In the ninth, Diaz (Indians’ SS Argenis Diaz) had the sacrifice bunt and then after the intentional walk to Friday (Indians’ 2B Brian Friday), Bernier (Indians’ 3B Doug Bernier) drew a key walk that allowed me to get the hit in the end.  We definitely battled as a team tonight.”

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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