Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 4, Indianapolis Indians 0
The Indianapolis Indians just finished a very successful home stand, winning 8 of 10 games, and propelling themselves into first place in the International League Western Division. Today they began an 8-game road trip and a 4-game series against Lehigh Valley, but with a disappointing result. The Iron Pigs’ starter Tyler Cloyd, who beat the Indians at Victory Field last week, held the Indians to just 3 hits again. Cloyd pitched 6 scoreless innings, while Tribe starter Jeff Locke suffered the loss, with 3 runs (2 earned) allowed in 7 innings.
The Iron Pigs got onto the scoreboard with an unearned run in the bottom of the 3rd. With one out, a missed catch error by 1B Jake Fox on a throw from SS Chase d’Arnaud, allowed 3B Tim Kennelly to reach base safely. Cloyd bunted Kennelly to second base, and former Indy Indian CF Rich Thompson doubled Kennelly in, taking a 1-0 lead.
Kennelly gave the Iron Pigs 2 more runs in the 5th, when the Australian native blasted a 2-run homer, with 1B Cody Overbeck on base after a lead-off double. Locke gave up a single to Thompson after the homer, and then let Thompson advance to second base when Locke’s throw to first base went wide. A strike out ended that inning with Thompson still on second.
Locke finished his outing with two scoreless innings, facing only the minimum number of batters. 2B Kevin Frandsen led off the 6th with a single lined into left field, but former Indy Indian Erik Kratz bounced into a double play to erase Frandsen. Locke allowed the 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk, though he did strike out 6 Pigs’ batters. He threw 91 pitches, of which 63 were strikes.
Tim Wood came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th for the Indians. He gave up the Iron Pigs’ final run, when the speedy Thompson smacked a one-out triple off the wall in center field. A sacrifice fly by SS Andres Blanco drove in Thompson, giving the Pigs a 4-0 lead. Thompson went 3-for-4 in the game, only a home run away from hitting for a cycle.
The Indians had trouble getting on base at all, and when they did get on, they could not capitalize. 3B Matt Hague worked a walk in the top of the 2nd, and reached second base when 2B Jordy Mercer grounded out. But a strikeout ended that inning, with Hague stranded.
The best chances that the Indians had at scoring began with lead-off doubles. C Jose Morales opened the top of the 3rd with a line drive into left field for a double. Locke dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Morales to third base. Two more outs ended that barely-started rally with Morales 90 feet away from scoring. In the 4th, CF Starling Marte led off with another double into left field, but Marte was picked off second base moments later.
The only other hit for the Tribe was a single by RF Brandon Boggs in the 5th. He was also left stranded. The Indians were retired in order over the last four innings.
Both teams had base running problems at different points in the game. Besides Marte being picked off second base by Kratz in the 4th, the Iron Pigs’ also had issues. Andres Blanco singled in the bottom of the 1st, but was picked off and caught stealing. In the 2nd, LF Michael Spidale walked, but was thrown out trying to steal second, ending the inning.
Jeff Locke’s loss was his third of the season, bringing his record to 3-3.
The Toledo Mud Hens won their game today, but the Indians remain in first place, half a game ahead of the Mud Hens. The Columbus Clippers are 4 games back and the Louisville Bats are 11 games behind the Indians, and both of those teams lost today.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Doubles by Jose Morales and Starling Marte, though both were left stranded.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The double play in the bottom of the 6th, which erased lead-off hitter Kevin Frandsen and halted a possible rally before it could get started. Erik Kratz’s grounder went to short, for a 6-4-3 play: SS Chase d’Arnaud to 2B Jordy Mercer to 1B Jake Fox.
RF Brandon Boggs was ejected from the game in the 8th inning. Plate umpire Sean Barber was calling a strange strike zone all night. Several of his calls had players and managers and even the radio broadcasters questioning his strike zone. Then in the 8th, Boggs was called out on a low pitch, and he took offense. Boggs started jawing at Barber and after about a minute, Barber ejected him. The replay showed that Boggs was probably right.