Syracuse Avoids Sweep With 8-6 Win Over Indians

Tribe 2006 MVP Maldonado Plays Key Role In Chiefs’ Victory

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Catcher Carlos Maldonado, who was named the Indianapolis Indians’ MVP in 2006, gave the Chiefs an early 3-1 lead with a three-run double in the second inning, before the backstop successfully laid down a critical sacrifice bunt in a four-run seventh to help Syracuse avoid a four-game series sweep and earn an 8-6 win over the Tribe on Friday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.

The loss for Indianapolis drops its record to 56-52 on the season, while the victory snaps Syracuse’s nine-game losing streak and improves the Chiefs’ record to 55-52 on the year. The Indians’ defeat, coupled with a win by the Louisville Bats, gives the Tribe’s West Division rival a 1.5 game cushion in the Wild Card race.

With the score tied at 4-4 and runners standing at first and second with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Maldonado laid down a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to advance both base runners into scoring position. Following the successful sacrifice, pinch-hitter Kevin Mench lifted the sixth pitch of his at-bat out to deep left field for a sacrifice fly and a 5-4 Chiefs’ lead.

Syracuse, however, wasn’t satisfied with scoring just a single run in the frame as the Chiefs’ offense quickly turned a 5-4 advantage into a comfortable four-run cushion. Following a single and a stolen base by LF Boomer Whiting, CF Justin Maxwell collected a two-run single to plate both Whiting and 3B Luis Ordaz, who moved to second base on Maldonado’s sacrifice bunt.

The Chiefs’ capped their seventh inning scoring rally when Maxwell, who stole second and third base following his two-run single, touched home on a balk to give Syracuse the 8-4 lead.

The Tribe cut the Chiefs’ lead to two runs at 8-6 in the top of the eighth with a two-out, run-scoring double by RF Brandon Moss and a two-out RBI single by 1B Jeff Clement, but Syracuse quelled any further notions of a comeback and claimed the victory.

After Indianapolis scored a single run in the top of the first inning on a fielding error by Chiefs’ SS Seth Bynum, Syracuse struck for three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead. With the sacks packed and one out in the frame, Maldonado stepped to the dish and, on the second pitch of his at-bat, cleared the bases with a line drive double to center field to give the Chiefs the early 3-1 edge.

The Tribe responded with a run of their own in the top of the third inning to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 3-2. CF Alex Presley and Clement collected singles mixed around an out, before LF Jonathan Van Every delivered a two-out, run-scoring single to pull the Indians to within a single run of Syracuse.

The Chiefs regained their two-run advantage with a single score in the home half of the third to take a 4-2 lead. Maxwell opened the inning with a double to center field, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and later scored on a sacrifice fly by 1B Jason Botts to give Syracuse a two-run cushion.

Indianapolis scratched across single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to even the score at 4-4, before Syracuse put the game out of reach with its four-run seventh inning explosion.

Indians’ SS Argenis Diaz reached on Bynum’s second fielding error of the evening to open the fourth and later came around to score on a one-out single by 3B Jim Negrych to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 4-3.

Then, in the sixth, the Tribe tied the score at 4-4 when Bynum committed his third fielding error of the contest. With the bases empty and one out in the inning, starting pitcher Brad Lincoln lofted a double to deep center field before two base on balls and a strikeout loaded the bases for Moss with two outs. After taking the first pitch for a strike, Moss chopped the second offering of his at-bat to short and reached on Bynum’s bobble to tie the contest at 4-4.

In his first start in an Indians’ uniform since June 3, RHP Brad Lincoln (6.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) held the Chiefs to four runs on four hits in six innings of work, but did not figure in the game’s final decision. Like Lincoln, Syracuse starter Jeff Mandel (5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO), who allowed only one earned run in five innings of work, also received a no-decision in the contest.

Tribe reliever Daniel Moskos (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER) was strapped with his third loss at the Triple-A level this season after allowing two runs in the seventh inning, while Chiefs’ RHP Jason Bergmann (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) earned his third victory despite recording his first blown save of the season. RHP Adam Carr (1.0 IP, 0 R, 1 SO) earned his first save of the season for Syracuse with a perfect ninth inning.

Offensively, three Tribe batters – Negrych (2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB), Clement (2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB) and Van Every (2-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB) – recorded multiple base hits on the evening, while Maxwell (2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI) and Maldonado (1-for-3, 1 2B, 3 RBI) each knocked in more than one run in the contest for the Chiefs.

Indianapolis now heads to Norfolk to take on the Tides in a four-game series beginning on Saturday, July 31 at 7:15 p.m. LHP Brian Burres is expected to get the nod for the Indians, while RHP Tim Bascom is the probable starter for the Tides.

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 6:55 p.m.

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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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