Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 1, Indianapolis Indians 0
The Indianapolis Indians were shut out by the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for the second day in a row, losing 1-0 at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA. This gives the Indians 36 straight innings without scoring an earned run. They were shut out by the Norfolk Tides on Sunday at home, and though they won on Monday, the only run they scored in that game was unearned. The Indians out-hit the Iron Pigs 8-5 tonight, but the Iron Pigs needed only two of those hits, along with a hit batter, to score the only run of the game.
The game began as a pitching duel between Indians’ starter Daniel Cabrera and Iron Pigs’ starter Scott Elarton. Each team posted 3 hits over the first 5 innings, but did not score a run. The Tribe had a runner on base in three of those innings. 3B Matt Hague lined a single into left field in the 2nd, but was erased when 2B Jordy Mercer bounced into a double play. C Jose Morales worked a walk in the 3rd, and was left on base. CF Starling Marte beat out an infield single in the 4th, but was promptly thrown out by former Indy Indian C Erik Kratz as he tried to steal second base.
The Iron Pigs put a runner on base in each of the first four innings. Cabrera walked CF Derrick Mitchell and hit 2B Kevin Frandsen with a pitch in the bottom of the 1st. Two ground outs ended the inning with both runners stranded in scoring position. 3B Tug Hulett singled in the 2nd and Frandsen singled in the 3rd, and both of them were left on base. RF Michael Spidale singled to lead off the 4th, but moments later was erased when Hulett bounced into a double play. The grounder went right to second base, where SS Chase d’Arnaud was covering. D’Arnaud took a step to touch second base and force out Spidale, then fired on to first for the out on Hulett.
It was the bottom of the 6th when the Iron Pigs cracked the scoreboard. With one out, Frandsen singled up the middle, then Cabrera hit Kratz with a pitch. Spidale grounded to second, where Kratz was forced out, giving the Iron Pigs runners on the corners. 1B Cody Overbeck drove in Frandsen with a single into center, for what would be the only run of the game.
The Tribe tried to respond with a rally in the top of the 7th, in what was their best chance at scoring. With one out, 1B Jeff Clement slipped a single up the middle, and 2B Jordy Mercer worked a walk, moving Clement to second base. Jake Fox came in to pinch-hit for RF Jeff Larish, but Fox popped out to end the threat.
Bryan Morris came on to relieve Daniel Cabrera, who had pitched 6 innings. Cabrera had allowed the one run on 5 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts. Morris zipped through the 7th inning, with three straight ground outs to Mercer at second base. He had a little more trouble in the 8th, allowing a pair of back-to-back walks, but ended the inning with a double play, 6-4-3 (d’Arnaud to Mercer to Clement).
In the top of the 8th, the Indians fell victim to a rare triple play. Morales led off with a line drive single into center field. Brian Friday came on to pinch-run for Morales. Brandon Boggs, who had entered the game in a double-switch, made it back-to-back singles by grounded into center field. That brought up d’Arnaud, who tried to put down a bunt. Instead of going down, his bunt attempt popped up. Erik Kratz took a step in front of the plate and caught the pop, then fired to SS Andres Blanco, who doubled off Friday. Blanco relayed the ball to Frandsen at first, doubling off Boggs to complete the triple play.
The Indians had one more try in the top of the 9th, and again they put two runners on base. LF Gorkys Hernandez led off by beating out a throw from 3B Hulett, for an infield single. A strikeout and a line out left the Indians with one more out to work with. Matt Hague hit his second single of the day, lining into right field. With the tying and go-ahead run on base, Jordy Mercer grounded to third, for a force out at second to end the game.
Daniel Cabrera, who surrendered the only run of the game, suffered the loss, his first of the season. He threw 98 pitches (62 strikes).
The Toledo Mud Hens also loss tonight, so the Indians remain in first place in the International League Western Division by half a game over the Mud Hens.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Two hits each for Jeff Clement and Matt Hague. Hague singled in the 2nd and 9th. Clement had his hits in the 4th and 7th.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The Tribe turned two double plays, but the slickest one came in the 4th. SS Chase d’Arnaud made the scoop of Tug Hulett’s grounder just a step away from second base, making it easy to step on the bag and then fire on to first base.
Roster Moves: Reliever Evan Meek was called back up to the Pirates today. In order to clear a roster spot on the big club, OF Alex Presley was optioned back to Indianapolis. Presley has been struggling at the plate recently, so maybe a stint back at AAA will shake him out of it.
Justin Wilson, who had to leave the game on Monday due to a groin strain, pitched a side session today and reported that he felt fine. He might not have to miss his next start after all.
Former Indianapolis Indian OF Rich Thompson, who has been playing for the Iron Pigs for most of the past 4 seasons, was traded to the Rays today. It seems that he might get to go right to the major league team and get some playing time, due to an injury to Rays’ OF Brandon Guyer.