Indianapolis Indians 7, Syracuse Chiefs 2
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The Indians won the regularly scheduled game at Victory Field this afternoon, with a strong start by Rudy Owens (photo, making a throw to first base) and big hits by two of the newest Indians, 1B Miles Durham and LF Eric Fryer.
Like yesterday’s game, this one also began with the Chiefs getting onto the scoreboard in the top of the 1st. This time, the run was unearned. CF Gregor Blanco, the first batter of the game, reached base when he grounded toward the hole wide of first base. Miles Durham, playing first base for the first time since joining the Tribe, ranged far to his right to make the play, rather than letting it go through to 2B Shelby Ford who had moved to his right. Durham had trouble coming up with the ball, and Blanco was safe on the error. Blanco stole second base, and advanced to third when 3B Matt Antonelli flied out to right field. A sacrifice fly to deep right-center by RF Jesus Valdez brought in Blanco with the unearned run.
The Indians answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Matt Hague, playing third base in this game, began the rally with a line drive into left field for a single. Durham followed with a long line drive that missed being a home run by inches — it bounced off the top of the wall in right-center. Hague scored the tying run, and Durham cruised into third base standing (photo below). LF Andrew Lambo plated Durham with a ground out to short, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Owens gave up a 2-out walk to former Indy Indian C Carlos Maldonado and a single to SS Chris McConnell in the 2nd inning, but ended the inning with a grounder force out at second base off the bat of Syracuse starter Brad Meyers. Owens also retired the Chiefs in order in the 3rd inning, then gave up a run (earned) in the 4th. 1B Chris Marrero, the hero (for Syracuse) of the restarted game, slipped a single past SS Brian Friday and into left field. He moved to second base on a slow grounder to short by LF Jeff Frazier. Then Maldonado singled into left field, and Marrero rounded third and scored, tying the game at 2-2.
Owens went on to pitch a scoreless 5th inning, allowing only a single to Blanco. He gave up a bunt single to Marrero to lead off the 6th, then retired the next two batters. That brought Owens to 100 pitches (70 strikes), with 5 hits and one walk for the 2 runs (one earned, one unearned) in 5.2 innings. He was relieved by Tony Watson, who got Maldonado to fly out to left field to end the inning. Watson also pitched the 8th inning. He walked both pinch-hitter Corey Brown and Blanco, then settled down, getting two fly outs to end the inning.
The Tribe posted only two hits over the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. Hague singled through to left field in the 4th inning, and was left stranded. Then Eric Fryer, in left field for this game, gave the Indians the lead again with his first AAA-level home run (photo), which sailed way over the left field wall to lead off the 5th.
Lambo started the rally in the bottom of the 7th, when the first five Indians’ batters reached base safely. Lambo zipped a grounder just inside first base, down the right field line, and into the visitors’ bullpen to open the inning with a double. Fryer popped up a bunt which got past 1B Marrero, letting Fryer reach first safely and moving Lambo to third. C Wyatt Toregas worked a walk to load the bases. John Bowker pinch hit for Watson, and drove in both Lambo and Fryer with a line drive single into center field. CF Gorkys Hernandez singled into left field, to load the bases again. The runners were going as Friday grounded to short, so that SS McConnell only had time to throw out Friday at first, as Toregas came across the plate with the third run of the inning. The inning ended when 2B Shelby Ford lined right back to the pitcher Jeff Mandel, who seemed surprised to find the ball in his glove. He recovered more quickly than Hernandez did, though. His throw to second base doubled off Hernandez, who was standing about half way between second and third base, still stunned, as everyone else ran off the field. The Indians had added 3 insurance runs, for a 6-2 lead.
Miles Durham added one more insurance run for the Tribe in the bottom of the 8th, with a rising line drive that left the park over the left field wall for his first AAA home run (photo). Lambo came within inches of making it back-to-back homers, but his long fly bounced off the top of the right field wall, and Lambo had to be satisfied with a double. He advanced to third base by tagging up on Fryer’s fly out to left, but the inning ended with Lambo still on third.
Anthony Claggett pitched the final two innings for the Indians. He retired the Chiefs in order in the 8th, then began the 9th with two outs. He hit pinch-hitter Michael Aubrey with a pitch and walked Blanco, but got Antonelli to bounce to first base, where Durham scooped up the ball and stepped on first base to end the game.
The win gives the Indians a 27-31 record and keeps them in third place, one game ahead of the Toledo Mud Hens. THey are 7.5 games behind second-place Louisville, and 9.5 games behind first place Columbus.
The Indians and the Chiefs play the final game of the series on Monday, then the Indians head out onto the road to play a 4-game series in Buffalo.
(Photo: Matt Hague and Chiefs’ Tug Hulitt at second base in the suspended game)
Indians Hitting Gem of the Suspended Game: A triple by Chase d’Arnaud in the 3rd inning, which started the Indians’ scoring.
Indians’ Hitting Gems in the Sunday Game: Two solo home runs, both the first at the AAA level, for Miles Durham (8th inning) and Eric Fryer (5th inning). Durham also had an RBI triple in the 2nd, and Fryer also singled in the 7th.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Suspended Game: In the 4th inning, Jesus Valdez hit a long fly ball to straight-away center field. Gorkys Hernandez turned and raced for the center field wall, and made an over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track. In the 6th, Chris Marrero lined sharply toward left field. SS Chase d’Arnaud went to his right, making something between a dive and a slow (and graceful) fall, to come up with the ball.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of Sunday’s Game: In the 6th with a runner on first, Jeff Frazier grounded hard toward second base. SS Brian Friday went to his left, and made the dive behind second base for the back-handed stop to keep the ball from going int
o the outfield. He had no chance at the runner going from first to second base, but he was able to make the throw to first for the out on Frazier.
Indians’ MVP for the 2006 season, Carlos Maldonado…… Matt Hague at third base
Eric Fryer in left field instead of behind the plate…..and Miles Durham at first base
Dean Treanor was pulling Rudy Owens from the game, but Owens looks pretty happy…. Tony Watson
Anthony Claggett……….. The infielders’ conference: Matt Hague, Brian Friday, Shelby Ford, Miles Durham
Dan Meyer pitched in the suspended game……. watching from the dugout
Alex Presley was coaching at first base for a few innings of the second game. He left yesterday’s game after being hit on the right elbow by a pitch. He has some swelling at the elbow, which is still wrapped today (white wrapping), but it’s getting better. He is expected to be able to return to action in a day or two.
(photos by Nancy)