Buffalo Bisons 11, Indianapolis Indians 6
The Indians added their fifth loss in a row at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, NY tonight. The bit of good news is that the Indians were finally able to score some runs — 6 of them. While the pitching had been mostly strong while the Indians’ batters were not hitting, now that the Indians managed to score some runs, the pitching struggled. Starter Justin Wilson lasted only into the 4th inning, though he was not involved in the decision.
The Indians broke their scoreless streak with a run in the top of the 1st. It was an unearned run, but at this point, after being shut out in 4 straight games, the Tribe did not care. After RF Alex Presley walked, and SS Chase d’Arnaud bounced into a double play, 3B Matt Hague doubled into right field. LF Jake Fox grounded to short, where Bison’s SS Oswaldo Navarro let the ball slip right under his glove, for an error. Hague raced around from second to score as the Bison chased down the ball, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead.
The Bison came right back in the bottom of the 2nd. Tribe starter Justin Wilson gave up three consecutive hits: singles by 1B Josh Satin and Navarro, then a double into left field by 3B Michael Fisher. Fisher drove in both base runners, to give the lead to Buffalo, 2-1. C Vinnie Rottino and Valentino Pascucci doubled the Bison’s score in the 3rd inning, with back-to-back solo home runs off Wilson. Bison leading, 4-1.
The Indians continued to put the lead-off batter on base in each of the first five innings. Presley walked to begin the 1st and the 3rd, while 2B Anderson Hernandez walked to open the 4th. 1B Jeff Larish singled to start the top of the 2nd, and an error put him on base in the 5th. The Tribe was unable to take advantage of Larish’s single in the 2nd, or Presley’s walk in the 3rd. Presley stole second base, and advanced to third base when Hague reached base on an error by the Buffalo SS Navarro. A single by Fox loaded the bases with one out, but two strikeouts left the bases loaded.
In the top of the 4th, the Tribe caught up to the Bison. With Hernandez on first after his walk, C Eric Fryer pushed him to second base with a ground out. Wilson picked up his first RBI of the season with a single up the middle, driving in Hernandez. Former Indy Indian Corey Wimberly’s throwing error on the play let Wilson move up to second base. Wilson advanced to third when Presley grounded out to first, then scored on d’Arnaud’s double lined into right field. A wild pitch put d’Arnaud to third, and he scored the tying run on a single through the right side of the infield by Fox.
The bottom of the 4th turned out to be difficult for Wilson, who had left his last start due to groin tightness. He gave up a walk and a single, and with two on and two out, Wilson was relieved by Bryan Morris. Wilson had allowed 4 runs on 7 hits (including 2 homers) and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. He had thrown 93 pitches (61 strikes). Morris finished up that inning with a strikeout of Rottino.
The 4-4 tie lasted through the 5th inning, despite another Buffalo error that allowed lead-off batter Larish to reach base. In the top of the 6th, Buffalo pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin, just optioned down from the Mets, gave a ball a long, long ride over the right-center field wall for a homer. Bryan Morris gave up two more singles, to Wimberly and 2B Brad Emaus. C Eric Fryer picked Emaus off first base, and that turned out to be a benefit for the Indians, since Rottino followed with his second home run of the game — a 2-run homer instead of a 3-run homer. Buffalo leading, 7-4.
Evan Meek took over for Morris to begin the bottom of the 7th. Meek allowed one walk and struck out two. Then he struck out Fisher, but strike three was a wild pitch, allowing Fisher to reach first base safely. Manager Dean Treanor thought that the throw from Fryer to first base had been in time to get Fisher out, but the umpires did not agree. Treanor kept arguing, and got himself ejected from the game.
Kris Johnson took over for Meek in the bottom of the 8th. He began by giving up a triple off the right field wall to Wimberly. Moments later, Rottino blasted his third home run of the game, for a 9-4 lead. Johnson then gave up a single to pinch hitter Lucas May, then another 2-run homer to C Matt Tuiasosopo, bringing the lead to 11-4. At that point, Johnson had become the sacrificial lamb. He was going to have to finish the inning himself, no matter how much the Bison scored. He gave up a walk, then ended the inning with a 5-4-3 double play (Matt Hague to Anderson Hernandez to Jeff Larish).
The Tribe put only one base runner on in the 7th inning, when Marte led off with a single up the middle, deflected off the glove of 2B Valdespin. Marte was left on base, and the Indians went down in order in the 8th. The 9th began with three consecutive walks, to Hague, Fox, and Marte, loading the bases. Larish fired a single into center field, advancing each runner one base and plating Hague for an 11-5 score. Hernandez bounced into a double play, which brought in Fox (no RBI) and left Marte on third with 2 outs. That boosted the score to 11-6. But the Indians would get no more, as a strikeout ended the game.
Bryan Morris was charged with his first loss of the season, allowing the two homers in the 6th. The Indians posted 8 hits, with Jake Fox and Jeff Larish picking up 2 hits each, both singles.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: A double by Chase d’Arnaud and a single by Jake Fox in the 4th inning, to bring in the tying runs for the Indians. The tie did not last long, but they had it for two innings.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the bottom of the 8th, with four runs in and a runner on first, Oswaldo Navarro bounced to third base, where Matt Hague started an around-the-horn double play, to end the inning and put Kris Johnson out of his misery.
Though the Indians lost, so did the Toledo Mud Hens tonight. That means that the Indians still retain their fingernail hold on first place in the International League Western Division, half a game ahead of the Mud Hens.