Norfolk Tides 3, Indianapolis Indians 2 (13 innings)
The 13th inning proved to be unlucky for the Indianapolis Indians tonight, as a wild pitch and two singles gave the Norfolk Tides the walk-off win at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. Reliever Daniel Moskos pitched to three batters in the 13th and he suffered the loss, while former Butler University pitcher (and former Indians fan) Pat Neshek took the win for the Tides.
The Tides were first onto the scoreboard, when former Indian 3B Bill Hall led off the bottom of the 2nd with a solo home run, just over the right field wall. Other than Hall, Tribe starter Rudy Owens retired all the rest of the Norfolk batters he faced in the first three innings.
The first 11 Indians batters also went down in order. Finally, with two outs in the 4th, 3B Matt Hague ended Norfolk starter Joel Pineiro’s brief bid for a no-hitter with a single lined into left field. 1B Jake Fox followed with a double into center field, giving Hague the chance to race around from first base with the tying run: 1-1.
Owens worked out of a jam in the 4th. A single, a walk, and a grounder force out at second base put Norfolk runners on the corners, with two outs. Owens got 1B Chris Robinson to ground out to short, ending the threat. Owens began the 5th by hitting 2B Ryan Adams with a pitch, but a tapper back to the mound let Owens begin a 1-6-3 (Owens to Jordy Mercer to Fox) double play, erasing Adams.
The Tides took the lead again in the bottom of the 6th. SS Steve Tolleson doubled with one out, then scored from second on Hall’s line drive single into center field. Hall tried to move up to second base on the throw in from CF Starling Marte to C Jose Morales, but Morales alertly relayed to 2B Anderson Hernandez, who tagged out Hall to end the inning.
Once again, the Indians responded with their own run to tie the score again in the top of the 7th. With one out, Jake Fox worked a walk. Jeff Clement rocketed a line drive into the right-center field gap. RF Jai Miller tried to make a back-handed catch, but was only able to knock the ball down. CF Jamie Hoffman made the throw in to the plate, though it was too late to catch Fox, who scored from first base. SS Jordy Mercer lifted a bloopy hit into right field that looked like it might be caught. Clement had to hold up mid-way between second and third bases in case the ball was caught, so he was only able to reach third base when it fell in. An intentional walk to Jose Morales loaded the bases with two outs, but the Indians could not capitalize any further — a ground out ended the rally. Tied again, 2-2.
Owens finished his evening with a scoreless 8th inning. He allowed a single to Miller, then picked Miller off first and caught him in a run-down (1-3-4-3-4) to end the inning. In 8 innings, Owens allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk, and he struck out 7 batters. He threw 102 pitches, with 67 strikes.
Tim Wood came on in relief of Owens to begin the 9th inning. He almost left the game before he started — as Wood was taking his warm-up pitches, he stopped and bent over. The Indians’ trainer and manager Dean Treanor came out, and conferred with Wood. Wood was allowed a few more practice throws with his manager and trainer looking on, then decided he was ok after all, and proceeded to pitch. He worked around a lead-off walk for a scoreless 9th, then retired the side on order in the 10th and the 11th. The 10th inning almost ended in disaster for the Indians. On a high fly ball to left-center, both LF Gorkys Hernandez and CF Starling Marte went for the ball. There was apparently not much communication going on, because the two barely missed colliding. Marte ducked at the last moment, and Hernandez made the catch.
The Tribe threatened in the 9th inning. Fox led off with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Miles Durham. Durham reached third on a ground out. A walk to RF Brandon Boggs gave the Indians runners on the corners. They stayed there, though, as a fly out ended the inning. Another rally in the 11th fell short as well. Jeff Clement walked with one out and was replaced at first by pinch runner Brian Friday. In what was likely a fouled up hit-and-run play, Friday took off for second base but Mercer swung and missed. Friday was easily thrown out at second base. Mercer and RF Boggs hit back-to back singles , but both were left on base.
Pat Neshek came on to pitch in the top of the 12th for Norfolk. He struggled a bit, but kept the Indians from scoring, despite a fielding error that allowed Starling Marte to reach base and a catchers’ interference call that put Anderson Hernandez on as well. A wild pitch moved both Tribe runners into scoring position. Matt Hague grounded to short, where Tolleson fired to the plate, where C Luis Exposito easily tagged out the sliding Marte.
Jose Diaz pitched the bottom of the 12th for the Indians, retiring the Tides in order, including a pair of strikeouts. Neshek came back out for the top of the 13th, and retired the Indians in order too.
Then came the bottom of the 13th. Daniel Moskos took the mound in relief of Diaz. The first Tides’ batter, 2B Ryan Adams lined a single into center field, then advanced to second base when Moskos fired a wild pitch over everyone’s head to the backstop. A ground out allowed Adams to move on to third base. CF Xavier Avery was the hero for the Tides, when his single along the right field line and into the corner easily brought in Adams from third with the winning run.
The Indians posted a total of 11 hits, including 4 doubles — two by Jake Fox, and one each by Jeff Clement and Jordy Mercer. Fox and Clement had the two RBI for the Indians.
The Indians play one more game in Norfolk, on Friday, then return to Victory Field for a long homestand, beginning on Saturday.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Jake Fox’s two doubles. His double in the 4th drove in Matt Hague with the first Indians’ run. Fox walked in the 7th and scored the Tribe’s only other run. He also doubled to lead off the 9th.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: A slick 1-6-3 double play in the 5th, when Matt Antonelli hit the ball back to the mound: Rudy Owens to SS Jordy Mercer to 1B Jake Fox.
In the bottom of the 12th, with two outs and a full count on batter Chris Robinson, Indians’ relief Jose Diaz had some kind of a problem with his glasses. The glasses are not just for protection — they are prescription. When Diaz could not get the problem solved in a minute or two, he called the bat boy over and handed off the glasses to him. So, there he was on the mound with no glasses. Could he even see the strike zone? The catcher’s mitt? Apparently either he could, or else he had a pretty good idea where they were anyway, because Diaz threw one more pitch, which was a strike to end the inning.