Louisville Bats 4, Indianapolis Indians 2
A total of 11 batters walked in tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Indians and the Louisville Bats at Louisville Slugger Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Six of those were Louisville batters, walked by the Indians’ pitchers, and five Tribe batters walked. Indians’ starter Justin Wilson surrendered 5 walks in his 5 innings of work. He also gave up 5 hits and struck out 5 batters, and luckily, was responsible for only 3 runs.
Wilson had to work with runners on base in all 5 of the innings he pitched. He put the first two Louisville batters on base in the bottom of the 1st, with a single and a walk. An around-the-horn double play, 3B Jordy Mercer to 2B Brian Friday to 1B Matt Hague got Wilson two outs, and left him to deal with a runner on third. A tapper back to Wilson for a ground out got him out of the jam.
With one out in the 2nd inning, Wilson gave up a double into left field to SS Paul Janish, as the ball ticked off LF Nick Evans’ glove just out of reach. Wilson walked RF Bill Rhinehart, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. C Dioner Navarro drove in Janish with a ground out to give the Bats a 1-0 lead. Wilson struck out the next two batters to end that frame.
Another walk and a single put runners on base for the Bats in the 3rd, but the Mercer-Friday-Hague combination again erased two runners, and Wilson was able to escape that inning without damage. Not so in the 4th, when Wilson began the inning with back-to-back walks to Janish and Rhinehart. Navarro picked up another RBI with a double lined into left field, scoring Janish. After a ground out, Wilson hit LF Kris Negron with a pitch, loading the bases. 2B Chris Valaika’s sacrifice fly allowed Rhinehart to score, and the Bats were up, 3-0.
The Bats’ base runner in the 5th was not Wilson’s doing — 1B Neftali Soto reached base when RF Brandon Boggs could not hold onto Soto’s long fly ball into the right field corner. The next three batters were retired in order, ending Wilson’s evening. The three runs he allowed were all the Bats would need, and he was charged with the loss. Wilson threw 97 pitches in those 5 innings (54 strikes).
The star of the Indians’ offense in this game was Jordy Mercer. He went 3-for-3 with a walk, and he drove in the first Tribe run. The Indians were scoreless for the first 5 innings, though they were putting runners on base. They loaded the bases in the 2nd, with a walk to Nick Evans, Mercer’s single grounded up the middle, and an intentional walk to Brian Friday. That brought up Justin Wilson, who grounded out to end the threat. Matt Hague singled with two outs int he 3rd inning, but was left on base. Mercer singled again in the 4th, and C Jose Morales walked, but they were also left stranded.
The Indians got onto the scoreboard in the 6th. The inning began with an error by the Louisville 3B Mike Costanzo, which allowed Evans to reach base safely. Mercer’s third hit of the game was a double that zipped down the third base line and past Costanzo, who was a little slow to react to the hit. The ball ended up in the left field corner, allowing Evans to score and Mercer to land on second base.
Daniel Moskos came on to pitch the 6th inning in relief of Wilson. He worked around a double by pinch-hitter Danny Dorn, to keep the Bats from scoring again. Daniel McCutchen took the 7th inning for the Tribe. He gave up three consecutive hits — single by Soto, single by Costanzo, and RBI double by Janish — to give the Bats an extra insurance run. Jared Hughes, who was activated onto the Indians’ roster today after being optioned from Pittsburgh, pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing only a 2-out single. Hughes struck out the first two batters he faced.
After a 1-2-3 top of the 7th, the Indians got two base runners in the 8th, when Boggs and Mercer both walked with two outs. A strikeout by Morales cut short that scoring opportunity.
The Tribe had their last chance in the top of the 9th. With two outs, CF Starling Marte lined a single into center field — only the 5th hit of the game for the Indians. A wild pitch allowed Marte to move up to second base. SS Anderson Hernandez lined another single into center field, and Marte raced around to score from second base. It was a nice run, but not enough. The game ended with a fly out by Hague.
The Bats took this 3-game series in Louisville, 2 games to 1. The two teams drive up the interstate for two more games in Indianapolis on Tuesday evening and Wednesday mid-day.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Jordy Mercer’s 3-for-3 day, with a walk and the first RBI for the Indians. Mercer owned half of the Indians’ hits tonight. He’s been struggling at the plate, so this was a very welcome boost, bringing his average up to .238.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Two double plays, both going 5-4-3 : Jordy Mercer to Brian Friday to Matt Hague. Both helped Justin Wilson escape threats by the Bats.
In order to make room for Jared Hughes on the Indians’ roster, pitcher Kris Johnson was returned to the Altoona Curve. Johnson had been promoted from the Curve on April 19th. He appeared in just one game for the Indians, on the 19th, when he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against Columbus.