Indianapolis Indians 10, Gwinnett Braves 5[ box ]
Rudy Owens earned his 9th win of the season for the Indianapolis Indians tonight, despite surrendering 5 runs, as the Tribe batters doubled up on the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA. Owens pitched into the 7th inning, and gave up a total of 8 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters. He had the support of 10 Indians hits, including a pair of RBI doubles by 3B Andy Marte in a pair of 4-run innings.
Those 4-run frames began the game for the Indians, giving them an 8-0 lead after 2 innings. The game started with the first four Indians’ batters reaching base: SS Jordy Mercer was hit by a pitch; 2B Josh Harrison singled into short right field, off the glove of the Braves’ right fielder; LF John Bowker doubled into right field, plating both Mercer and Harrison, and C Ryan Doumit, on his rehab assignment, singled into deep short, moving Bowker to third. 1B Matt Hague made the first out of the game with a ground out to short, allowing Bowker to score. Marte doubled into center field, driving in Doumit. RF Miles Durham singled, pushing Marte to third. Both Durham and Marte were left on base as two ground outs ended the inning, with the Indians taking a 4-0 lead.
The Indians had batted around in the 1st inning, and they sent 8 batters to the plate in the 2nd inning. This time, the first two batters were retired, and all the scoring took place with two outs. Bowker reached base on a fielding error (meaning that all the runs in the inning were unearned) at third. Doumit and Hague worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. Marte cleared the bases with his second double, for 3 RBI. Durham lifted a fly ball into left-center, and when it bounced off the glove of CF Matt Young, Durham was able to reach third base with a triple, driving in Marte as well. A ground out ended the inning, and the Indians were up 8-0.
Rudy Owens started his outing with that 4-run lead, and after a scoreless bottom of the first, allowing just a single, he found himself with an 8-run cushion. Owens gave up a single and a walk over the next three innings, but got into trouble in the 5th. 2B Ruben Gotay led off with a line drive single into right field. Owens got the next two batters out with a fly out and a strikeout. The next two batters hit back-to back singles, loading the bases. Then RF Stefan Gartrell brought all three runners in with a grand slam over the wall in straight out center field. That cut the Indians’ lead to 8-4.
Bowker picked up the only Tribe hit over the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, when he led off the 4th with a single into left field. He was quickly erased, though, when Doumit bounced into a double play. The Tribe added another run in the 6th, when Harrison blasted a solo homer over the left-center field wall. Hague matched that in the 7th with his 9th homer of the season, another solo bomb to left field.
Owens retired the Braves in order again in the 6th inning, and began the 7th with two outs. By then, his pitch count was getting high, and Owens was beginning to tire. Back-to-back singles by SS Tyler Pastornicky and Gartrell pushed Owens up to 100 pitches (65 strikes), and that was the end of Owens’ night. Steven Jackson came on in relief. The first batter Jackson faced, 1B Mauro Gomez, lined a single into center field, allowing Pastornicky to score from second. Indians still ahead, 10 – 5.
The remaining six Tribe batters went down in order in the last two innings. Brian Burres, fresh off the Disabled List, came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th. He gave up a single to LF Wilkin Ramirez, but got Gotay to ground into an around-the-horn double play (Marte to Harrison to Hague). Jose Ascanio finished the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 9th.
The Louisville Bats also won today, beating the Pawtucket Red Sox 3-2. That means that the Indians and the Bats remain tied for second place in the International League West Division, 9.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers. The Bats and the Indians are also tied for 4th in the Wild Card race, 3.5 games behind Pawtucket, and 1.5 games behind third-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Lots of extra base hits tonight: Homers by Josh Harrison and Matt Hague, a triple by Miles Durham, but especially two doubles for four RBI by Andy Marte. “I just wanted to see the ball and get a good pitch to hit,” said Marte after the game. “I think I’m more focused when there’s men on base than when there isn’t anyone on.”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the bottom of the 6th, Wilkin Ramirez began the inning with a fly ball crushed into left-center field. Both LF John Bowker and CF Gorkys Hernandez raced back to the wall, but it was Hernandez who made a leaping catch, nabbing the ball at the yellow line to rob Ramirez of a home run.
Pedro Ciriaco made his first major league start tonight, playing at shortstop and leading off for the Pirates. Ciriaco went 2-for-4 at the plate. He singled in the 3rd and was left on base. He led off the 8th with a single, and came around to score on Neil Walker’s line drive single.
Brian Burres, who had been on the DL, then off long enough to make one start, then back on the DL, came off the DL again today. This time, the plan is to have Burres work out of the bullpen for now, and in fact he did pitch in relief today.