Indianapolis Indians 3, Norfolk Tides 1
Strong pitching and timely hitting gave the Indians their second win over the Norfolk Tides this evening at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. Jo-Jo Reyes earned his 4th win in 4 starts, and Doug Slaten took his 4th save in his last 4 opportunities.
It took Reyes 90 pitches (57 strikes) to go 5 innings. He gave up only one run, and that was a 2-out solo homer by LF Jamie Hoffman in the bottom of the 1st. That was the only run the Tides would score in the game. They posted a total of 10 hits, though, with 9 of them coming off Reyes. Reyes also walked 2 batters, so he had to work his way out of problems in each inning he pitched.
After the home run in the 1st, Reyes gave up singles to former Indy Indian 3B Bill Hall and C Luis Exposito. A ground out ended the inning. DH Ryan Adams led off the 2nd with a single, but Reyes worked around it to get the next three batters out. SS Steve Tolleson and Hall both singled in the 3rd, and Reyes got out of that jam with a strikeout and a pop out. 2B Matt Antonelli lined a single into center field with two outs in the 4th, but he was also left on base.
Reyes had some help from his teammates to get out of the 5th. Tolleson led off the inning with a line drive double into left field. Hoffman cracked a sharp line drive that looked like a hit, but Tribe 2B Brian Friday made a dramatic catch of the liner, then took a step second base to double off Tolleson. Reyes walked Hall and Exposito, then 1B Joe Mahoney singled into left field. LF Gorkys Hernandez had the ball quickly and fired a strike to the plate, where C Eric Fryer easily put the tag on Hall, who had rounded third, thinking that he could score.
The Indians posted 8 hits in the game, beginning with a single by CF Starling Marte to open the game. Fryer and Gorkys Hernandez began the 3rd inning with back-to back doubles. Fryer’s hit bounces off the warning track and the wall in center field, and Hernandez’s zipped down the right field line and into the corner, plating Fryer to tie the score at 1-1. Marte grounded out, then Friday struck out. Tides’ C Exposito dropped the ball on strike three, and while he was throwing to first base to make the out on Friday, Hernandez noticed that Norfolk 3B Hall was standing well off the third base bag — so Hernandez took the opportunity to scramble over and steal third base. The Tides were caught off guard, and did not even get a throw off. With Hernandez on third, 3B Matt Hague singled into left field, allowing Hernandez to score the go-ahead run for a 2-1 lead. 1B Jake Fox also singled, but a ground out ended the inning.
The Tribe put two runners on base to begin the 4th inning. SS Jordy Mercer singled on a deep grounder to third base, and RF Brandon Boggs walked. A double play erased Boggs, and though Mercer moved to third, he was left stranded there.
The Indians did not have another base runner until the top of the 9th, when they added an insurance run. Jake Fox led off with a line drive into the left field corner, hit so hard that he could only get as far as first base. Miles Durham came on to pinch-run for Fox (and later stayed in to play first base). DH Jeff Clement followed with a double that reached the warning track in center field. Durham raced around from first base to score the insurance run. Anderson Hernandez ran for Clement, but only got as far as third base.
Bryan Morris relieved Jo-Jo Reyes to begin the 6th inning. Morris retired 10 Norfolk batters in order, ending with a strikeout to begin the bottom of the 9th. Jai Miller broke the streak with a single back to center field. Antonelli grounded softly to third, where Matt Hague had only enough time to make the play at first, allowing Miller to advance to second base. With one out to go, manager Dean Treanor replaced Morris with Doug Slaten. Slated walked the first batter he faced, CF Xavier Avery. Tolleson followed with a grounder deep in the hole at short. Jordy Mercer got to the ball, then made the quick throw to third base. At third, Matt Hague stepped on the bag just barely in time to force out Miller coming from second base, giving Slaten the save and the Indians the win.
The Columbus Clippers split two games with the Gwinnett Braves today. That, combined with the Tribe’s win, moved the Indians into second place in the International League Western Division. The Indians are 2 games behind first-place Toledo, with the Clippers half a game behind the Indians. Louisville, who lost to Durham tonight, is 5.5 games behind the Clippers.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez’s RBI triple down the right field line in the 3rd inning to tie the game. Then, Hernandez’s alert base-running put him in position to score the go-ahead run. “I was just trying to move the runner up because there were no outs”, said Hernandez after the game. “I was just trying to move the runner to third base. I concentrated on one pitch, and and was able to hit the ball on a line to right field and get an RBI.”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez again. He made a near-perfect throw in from left field to C Eric Fryer. The throw was on-target and on-time, allowing Fryer to tag out base runner Bill Hall by about a half mile. That halted the Tides best chance to score after the 1st inning. After the game, Hernandez spoke about sharing center field duties with Starling Marte. He gave Marte props for “doing a very good out there” in center field. “I try to do the best I can for the pitcher. I tried to go quick from getting the ball to throw it to home plate. I made a good throw.”
Nick Evans had surgery in Pittsburgh today to repair his broken left hand. It apparently went well, but there is not yet a timetable for his return to action.