Indianapolis Indians 4, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 0
Starter Jo-Jo Reyes pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only 3 hits, while striking out 8 Iron Pigs batters. The veteran earned his 5th win of the season (no losses) while dominating for all 9 innings.
“I wasn’t really worried about how long I went,” said Reyes after the game. “I just wanted to get first-pitch strikes and concentrate on the next pitch… I wasn’t worried at all. If the eighth was going to be my last, it was going to be my last, but I was concentrating pitch by pitch.” Reyes accomplished this feat in front of his family. “They got in last night. I’m a little relaxed that they’re here now. I went out there and had some fun.”
Reyes began the game by facing only one batter over the minimum in the first three innings. He retired the 8 position players in order, before walking the opposing pitcher, Dave Bush. That was the only walk Reyes allowed in the game. A fielder’s choice ended the 3rd inning.
Reyes gave up a double to 3B Hector Luna with 2 out in the 4th. In the 5th, RF Derrick Mitchell led off with a dribbly little bunt single, which rolled along the third base line but never crossed over it into foul territory. The next batter, CF Scott Podsednik grounded to third, where 3B Matt Hague made the scoop and fired to second base. 2B Anderson Hernandez made the force out on Mitchell at second, but Mitchell’s slide into the bag forced Hernandez to jump out of the way. He was unbalanced and so unable to get off a throw to first, though he may not have been able to throw to first in time to get Podsednik anyway. Reyes left Podsednik on second base with a ground out and a strikeout.
The Iron Pigs went down in order in the next three innings, including three strikeouts. The top of the 9th began with Reyes giving up the third Iron Pigs’ hit, a double off the top of the left field wall by SS Andres Blanco. Blanco moved to third on a fly out to right field, but he got no farther, as Reyes finished the game with a grounder to short. Reyes threw 99 pitches, with 72 of them strikes.
The Indians’ batters took advantage of two Iron Pigs’ miscues while scoring 4 runs. Both Matt Hague and LF Jake Fox had 3 hits each, and scored 3 of the Tribe’s 4 runs. With two out in the bottom of the 1st, Hague lined a single into center field. Fox looped a single into left-center field, where it dropped in for a single, moving Hague to third. 1B Jeff Clement lifted a high fly into medium-depth left field. Pigs’ LF Domonic Brown raced in to make the catch — and the ball popped out of his mitt for an error. Hague had already crossed the plate with the first run of the game. Fox had rounded second, not moving very quickly since it seemed like a sure out. When SS Blanco picked up the ball to throw it back to the infield, Fox was caught in no-man’s land. He opted to run for third, but was easily cut down on Blanco’s throw to third.
The 3rd inning began with back-to-back walks to CF Gorkys Hernandez and Hague. Fox grounded a single through the hole and into left field. That drove in Gorkys from second, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Another miscue allowed the Indians to score again in the 5th. With one out, Hague grounded hard back up the middle, bouncing it off the back of the mound. Fox grounded through the hole and into left field for his third hit of the game. SS Jordy Mercer drove in Hague from second with another single into left. With RF Brandon Boggs at the plate, and Fox on third, pitcher Bush threw what was at first called a wild pitch, bouncing off C Tuffy Gosewisch’s glove and all the way to the backstop. Like Boggs in yesterday’s game, Fox alertly raced for the plate. Gosewisch’s throw to the covering Bush was not in time, and Fox and Bush collided (unintentionally) at the plate, as the ball skittered away. Indians 4, Iron Pigs 0.
Bush was piling up pitches, and had reached a pitch count of 90 by the end of the 5th. He was relieved by Raul Valdes, who kept the Indians scoreless over the last three innings. He gave up a Hague’s third single of the game in the 7th, and a single to Eric Fryer in the 8th, while striking out 5 Tribe batters.
The win gives the Indians 10 wins in their last 13 games. The Columbus Clippers were rained out tonight, allowing the Indians to move into second place in the International League West Division, 2 games behind the Toledo Mud Hens.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Three singles each by Matt Hague and Jake Fox, accounting for two-thirds of the Indians’ hits. Hague scored twice, and Fox scored once and picked up one RBI.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Two sliding catches in the outfield. The first was by CF Gorkys Hernandez in the top of the 2nd. Hector Luna hit a long fly to right-center field, as Hernandez raced back and toward right field. He made the catch sliding on the grass just in front of the warning track. The second was in the 6th, when Brandon Boggs chased Kevin Franden’s fly ball to the right field foul line. Boggs slid across the foul line as he made the catch, ending up on the edge of the visitor’s bullpen.
Pitcher Rudy Owens was honored as the Indians’ Player of the Month for April. Owens pitched 26 innings over 4 starts in April, allowing only 6 earned runs, for a 2.08 ERA. He pitched 17.2 scoreless innings to finish up the month. He led the International League with a 0.77 WHIP, striking out 19 batters while surrendering only one walk.