Locke Strikes Out 8 In First Win
Indianapolis Indians 4, Columbus Clippers 3
Jeff Locke earned his first win of the season and Tim Wood earned his first save, as the Indians halted a 3-game losing streak with a win over the Columbus Clippers at Victory Field this afternoon.
The Clippers out-hit the Indians 11-8, but they also left 8 runners on base, compared to just 3 left on for the Indians. There were 11 doubles hit in the game, 7 by the Clippers and 4 by the Tribe.
Locke began the game by walking Clippers’ lead-off batter CF Ezequiel Carrera. 2B Cord Phelps followed with the first double of the game, giving the Clippers two runners in scoring position with no outs. Locke did not get flustered. He got 3B Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out to short left field, then struck out the next two batters to end the inning with those two runners still in scoring position.
That became the pattern for Locke. In the 2nd, he gave up a double down the left field line to DH Ryan Spilborghs, but retired three other Clippers, leaving Spilborghs on second. There was one strikeout in that inning. Locke struck out two in the 3rd, and gave up a single to Phelps. In the 4th, RF Chad Huffman began the frame with a double off the top of the left field wall (missing a homer by just a couple of feet), but he got no further than third base, as Locke retired the next three batters. Phelps singled again in the 5th, but a strikeout and two fly outs got Locke out of the inning.
It wasn’t until the 6th inning that Locke allowed one of the Clippers’ runners to score. As ususal, the inning began with a double, this one by 1B Matt LaPorta. Locke got the next two batters out, but LaPorta tagged up and advanced to third base on a fly out. Spilborghs grounded to third, but by the time Tribe 3B Matt Hague made a dive to stop the ball from going into left field, he had no play at first base. That allowed LaPorta to score the Clippers’ first run. Locke finished the inning with his 8th strikeout of the game. He had allowed 7 hits, but just that one run, with one walk. Locke had thrown 99 pitches, 65 of which were strikes.
The Indians had scored 4 runs by that point, allowing Locke to leave the game with the lead. After going down in order in the first two innings, RF Brandon Boggs led off the 3rd with a lined drive single into center field. CF Gorkys Hernandez lined a double into left field, and Boggs raced around from first base to score the Indians’ first run.
The Indians scored again in the 5th. 1B Nick Evans and Boggs got this rally going, with (of course) back-to-back doubles, with Boggs picking up an RBI as Evans scored. C Eric Fryer flied out, but that enabled Boggs to tag up and advance to third base. Gorkys Hernandez grounded to short, where SS Gregorio Petit made the scoop and threw to the plate. Boggs had held up, but did so a little too far off the third base bag. A run-down ensued, but the veteran Boggs was able to evade the Clippers long enough for Hernandez to reach second base. LF Starling Marte dropped down a bunt, and reached first safely when Columbus pitcher Scott Barnes threw wide of first. Hernandez scored on the play, and Marte moved on to second base. Marte promptly stole third, which put him in good position to score when 2B Brian Friday lined another double down the left field line. Indians ahead 4-0.
Barnes was relieved after that 5th inning. The Columbus bullpen had no further trouble with the Tribe. They went down in order in the 6th and 7th, courtesy of Jose De La Torre. Marte singled off Frank Herrmann to begin the bottom of the 8th. When Herrmann tried to pick him off first, he made another throwing error, which allowed Marte to reach second base. Marte moved on to third on a ground out, but was left there when the inning ended.
Bryan Morris relieved Locke to begin the top of the 7th, but it was definitely not Morris’ day. He gave up three consecutive doubles, to Petit, CF Ezequiel Carrera, and Phelps. Carrera drove in Petit, and Phelps drove in Carrera, to bring the Clippers within one run of the Indians, 4-3. Morris was relieved after those three doubles, replaced by Doug Slaten. Slaten began by striking out 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. Phelps was picked off third base by C Fryer. Then Slaten got LaPorta to pop up, ending the inning without further scoring. Slaten went on to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th.
Reliever Tim Wood, whose season has not gotten off to the best of starts, came on to pitch the 9th, hoping to hold on to the slim one-run lead. Pinch hitter Trevor Crowe opened the inning with a single into right field. Wood struck out Petit, then walked Carrera. Next up was Phelps, who was already 4-for-4 in the game. This time Wood won the battle — Phelps grounded sharply to 2B Brian Friday, who began a 4-6-3 (Friday to Mercer to Evans) game-ending double play. That was the win for the Indians and Locke, and the Save for Wood.
Starling Marte and Brandon Boggs were the only Indians to have 2 hits in the game.
The Tribe continues the series against the Clippers with a late-morning game tomorrow, to accommodate the school kids.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Four doubles, which drove in 3 of the Indians’ 4 runs. Brian Friday, Nick Evans, Brandon Boggs, and Gorkys Hernandez had the four Indians’ doubles, with RBI for Friday, Boggs, and Hernandez.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: That game-ending double play, which ended the 9th inning and prevented the Clippers from having another scoring opportunity with a runner on third base. They had not been able to capitalize on those kinds of opportunities in the early part of the game, but by the 9th inning, they seemed to be figuring it out. The twin killing gave the Indians and Tim Wood the boost they needed.
Starling Marte was in left field for the second day today, while Gorkys Hernandez had the center field duty. Manager Dean Treanor plans to have both of them get in some time at both positions.
Chase d’Arnaud was reported to have returned from being examined by the team physicians in Pittsburgh. They apparently didn’t have any big revelations about his concussion symptoms. He says he’s feeling a little better, but he’s not ready for baseball activities yet.
Starting pitcher Brad Lincoln was supposed to start tomorrow’s game, but he was called up to join the Pirates after Jeff Karstens’ injury yesterday.