Indianapolis Indians 8, Buffalo Bison 6
Two errors by the Buffalo Bison in the top of the 9th gave the Indians the chance they needed to break a 6-6 tie, scoring the go-ahead run and one more for insurance, as the Tribe won at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo, NY. The Indians had the top of the order coming to the plate against a fresh Bison reliever Josh Edgin. CF Starling Marte started with a grounder to SS Oswaldo Navarro, who had just entered the game at short after pinch-hitting in the 8th. Navarro made the scoop, but his throw to first base sailed past the 1B Josh Satin, and Marte scrambled to second base. LF Alex Presley dropped down a sacrifice bunt, fielded by C Lucas May — who also made a wide throw to first, and the Indians had runners on the corners. Edgin loaded the bases by hitting 3B Matt Hague with a pitch — bases loaded with no hits. After a fly out to short left, SS Jordy Mercer lined a single into right field, driving in both Marte and Presley, to give the Indians an 8-6 lead. That was all the Indians could get, before C Jose Morales lined sharply to second, and Mercer was doubled off first base.
The Indians returned the favor of the double play in the bottom of the inning. With Doug Slaten on the mound, and one out, Satin worked a walk. Slaten quickly removed that problem by getting RF Valentino Pascucci to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play, SS Mercer to 2B Anderson Hernandez to 1B Jeff Clement, ending the game.
The Tribe got onto the scoreboard first, when the began the 2nd inning with three consecutive hits. Clement lined a double off the wall in deep center field, missing a homer by just about 3 feet. Mercer put down a bunt, then beat out the starting pitcher Garrett Olson in a race to first base for an infield hit, as Clement moved to third. Morales lined into center field, and Clement scored easily. After a strikeout, Hernandez lined another single into center. Mercer raced around from second base, drawing the throw from the outfield, but the throw was not in time, and Mercer scored to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Tribe starter Daniel Cabrera allowed a walk in the 1st, which was erased with a double play, then worked around a one-out single in the 2nd. The Bison got to Cabrera in the 3rd, though. SS Omar Quintanilla led off with a solo homer over the right-center field wall. Cabrera struck out Olson, but former Indy Indian CF Corey Wimberly doubled, then scored on LF Fred Lewis’ single, tying the score at 2-2. Lewis stole second base, then scored when Pascucci smacked a double into left field. Buffalo up, 3-2.
The Indians came right back to score 3 of their own in the top of the 4th. With one out, Cabrera worked a walk, and Marte singled into left. That brought up Alex Presley, who took the lead back for the Tribe with a huge blast over former teammate Wimberly’s head for a 3-run home run. There was a bit of confusion on the base path on the part of Cabrera, who apparently wasn’t sure it had been a homer. He stopped running, so that Marte came up behind him and nearly ran right into him. They got it straightened out before Marte could pass Cabrera, and the Indians had a 5-3 lead.
Marte drove in one more run in the 6th. Hernandez led off with a single through the hole and into left field. Marte plated him with a triple blasted into right field, for a 6-3 lead.
Cabrera settled down again after the 3rd. He retired the side in order in the 4th and 6th innings. In the 5th, he gave up a two-out single followed by a walk, but got an easy fly out to end the threat. Cabrera finished with 92 pitches (56 strikes) in 6 innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4. Evan Meek came on in relief to begin the 7th, and he had a difficult outing. With one out, Meek gave up back-to-back singles to Wimberly and Lewis, then seemed to lose the strike zone. Some of his pitches to the next batter, Satin, were so far out of the zone that Jose Morales had to jump up to try to catch them. When he had trouble doing that and had the balls bounce off his glove, he was charged with two passed balls. The base runners moved up one base on the first passed ball, and Wimberly scored on the second. It was no surprise that Satin walked, giving the Bison runners on the corners. Lewis scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Pascucci, to bring the Bison within one run of the Tribe, 6-5.
Jose Diaz took over for Meek for the 8th, and he also had some trouble, walking pinch-hitter Dustin Martin. With one out, and the tying run on base, Doug Slaten came on in relief of Diaz. But the usually reliable Slaten surrendered a double to the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter, Oswaldo Navarro, and Martin scored the tying run from second base. That gave Slaten a Blown Save, but when the Indians scored in the top of the 9th, Slaten was the pitcher of record, and was credited with the win. Daniel Cabrera was not involved in the decision.
Each team posted 10 hits in the game. Each position player in the line-up but one, RF Brandon Boggs, had at least one hit for the Indians. Three players had two hits: Starling Marte had a single and a triple, and Jordy Mercer and Anderson Hernandez each singled twice. Alex Presley and Mercer accounted for 5 of the Indians’ 8 RBI.
The Toledo Mud Hens lost tonight, so the Indians move up to 1.5 games ahead of them in first place in the International League Western Division. The Columbus Clippers are 3 games behind the Indians and the Louisville Bats are 9.5 games behind.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Jordy Mercer went 2-for-4, both hits singles, but the single in the 9th with the bases loaded gave the Indians the win. Also glad to see Alex Presley hit a home run, which gave the Indians the lead in the 4th.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Two double plays, erasing two walks given up by Indians’ pitching. After Corey Wimberly walked in the bottom of the 1st, he was removed when Fred Lewis grounded to SS Jordy Mercer, who stepped on second base, then threw on to first for the out on Lewis. In the bottom of the 9th, the walk to Satin was wiped out by a Mercer-to-Hernandez-to-Clement twin killing.
The Indians and Bison play one last game in Buffalo tomorrow, at 1 pm (Eastern). Then the Indians will return home for an off day on Wednesday. They will play two games against the Louisville Bats on Thursday and Friday.