Indianapolis Indians 4, Louisville Bats 2
An 8th-inning rally broke a 2-2 tie to give the Indianapolis Indians the win at Victory Field this afternoon. The win gives the Tribe a sweep of this brief 2-game series with the Louisville Bats. Reliever Bryan Morris was the pitcher of record when the Indians scored the winning runs, so he earned the win. Starter Daniel Cabrera had a much better outing than he did in his start last week, though he left the game with the score tied.
The Indians got onto the scoreboard first, with a little bit of controversy. With one out, LF Gorkys Hernandez lined a single into center. 3B Matt Hague grounded hard along the third base line. I thought I saw the ball bounce off the third base bag and head over toward the Indians’ bullpen in foul territory. That was also how home plate umpire saw it, as he ruled the ball fair. The Bats did not agree, however, and as Hernandez was rounding third and Hague was racing for second base, the Bats’ C Brian Peacock and half of the infield was busy already arguing with plate umpire Sean Barber. Hernandez reached the plate with a slide, as Louisville LF Felix Perez, who was too busy chasing the ball to argue, fired in to the plate. Hernandez’s foot slid under Peacock to touch the plate, and when Hernandez’s momentum carried him right into the rookie catcher, the ball popped away from Peacock. Hernandez was safe with the first run of the game. Moments later SS Jordy Mercer drove a liner over the head of Bats’ RF Danny Dorn, extending his hitting streak to 7 games. Hague scored easily as Mercer came into second base with a double. Mercer stole third base, and C Jose Morales was hit on the foot with a pitch from Bats’ starter Brett Tomko, but the two of them were left on base when a strikeout ended the inning. Indians ahead, 2-0.
Bad luck hit the Indians in the 2nd inning. With two outs, CF Starling Marte was at the plate. A 2-1 pitch hit him on the right hand as he was holding the bat. He spun away from the plate, to crouch in the grass off to the side. Trainer Bryan Housand sprinted from the dugout to tend to Marte — as the Bats started arguing again, claiming that Marte had been swinging, and so instead of being awarded first base, Marte should be charged with a foul ball. Plate umpire Barber wasn’t impressed with this argument either, and he awarded Marte first base. Marte was still crouched down, though, as
Housand got his batting glove gently worked off his hand and examined it. Marte eventually was able to stand up and walk off, exiting the game. As of the end of the game, there was no further word from the clubhouse as to Marte’s condition. If nothing is broken, there will still be enough bruising and swelling to keep Marte out of the lineup for several days, and if there is a break, that will mean months away from baseball activities.
Daniel Cabrera began his second start for the Indians by facing only one batter over the minimum for the first three innings. Peacock grounded to deep in the hole at short in the 3rd inning, then beat out the throw from Mercer to 1B Jake Fox. Tomko dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Peacock to second base, but a pop up to Mercer ended the inning.
Cabrera gave up one run in the 4th inning, when 2B Chris Valaika doubled to the deepest part of Victory Field, in the left-center field alley in front of Jackie Robinson’s “42” on the outfield wall. Brandon Boggs, who had entered the game to pinch-run for Marte then stayed in to play left field, does not have Marte’s or Gorkys Hernandez’s range, and he just couldn’t get to the ball as Hernandez (who had moved from left to center field) might have. A ground out moved Valaika to third base, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Dorn. Indians still up, 2-1.
The Bats went down in order in the 5th, then tied the score in the 6th. Another double began this rally, off the bat of CF Kris Negron and into center field. Negron stole third base, then scored on Valaika’s single up the middle. Valaika was thrown out trying to steal second base, and two more outs ended the frame, with the score tied at 2-2.
After Marte left the game, the Tribe was fairly quiet over the next five innings. They went down in order in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th. Jose Morales singled off Tomko’s glove and into center field for a single to lead off the 4th. He was erased when 2B Anderson Hernandez hit a high chopper to first, where 1B Neftali Soto quickly stepped on the first base bag, then threw to second for the tag to complete the reverse force double play. 3B Matt Hague walked to begin the bottom of the 6th. He moved to second base on a wild pitch by Tomko, and to third on a ground out, but got no further.
Bats’ reliever Josh Judy took the mound to begin the bottom of the 8th, and the Indians took advantage of his lack of control. Boggs worked the count full, fouled off three more pitches, then took ball four for a lead-off walk. “He was pitching me tough with his curve ball and I kept fouling it off. He threw a lot of good pitches in there, but I ended up drawing that walk,” explained Boggs after the game.
Gorkys Hernandez walked on four pitches, giving the Indians two runners on and no outs. Hague moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt that popped up high with enough backspin to make Judy and Peacock collide as they tried to field it. With Jake Fox at the plate, the Bats intended to walk him. But on the first intentionally wide throw, Judy bounced in a wild pitch. The ball got away from Peacock, who had to scramble over towards the visitors’ dugout to chase it down. Boggs alertly took advantage of the opportunity, racing to the plate to score the go-ahead run. “You don’t see that play very often, but you’ve always got to be ready,” said Boggs after the game. “The ball got away from him a little bit and I was able to get in there. You have to expect anything in this game… I guess he didn’t have confidence in throwing that pitch, and it got away and I was right on it.”
Gorkys Hernandez also advanced to third on the wild pitch. Fox followed with a single into left field, which plated Gorkys Hernandez with an insurance run. That was all for Judy, who was responsible for both of those runs. The Bats brought in reliever Nick Christiani, who got a Mercer to fly out, then walked Morales. Miles Durham had struck out three times already in the game, but he singled to behind second base off Christiani. Fox raced from second base on contact, rounded third, and headed for home. The throw from SS Negron to C Peacock was wide on the first base side. Peacock made the catch then scrambled for the plate, arriving a split second before Fox. Peacock made the tag and held on to the ball, and Fox was out to end the rally.
Daniel Cabrera finished his afternoon with 7 innings of work. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, no walks, with 3 strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches (59 strikes) and was very efficient with his pitches throughout. He needed 15 pitches in the 7th inning, and that was his highest pitch-count inning of his appearance.
Bryan Morris relieved Cabrera to begin the 8th inning. He buzzed through the 8th, on just 7 pitches. Morris came back out to begin the 9th as the pitcher of record, eligible for the win. He retired the first two bats on a fly out and a strikeout, then gave up a single to Soto. Manager Dean Treanor brought in Doug Slaten to finish the game. Slated threw 4 pitches, striking out 3B Mike Costanzo to end the game and earn the save.
Six different Indians had hits in the game, but none had more than one hit. Matt Hague and Jordy Mercer’s hits were doubles. Hague, Mercer, and Fox had the three RBI.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: RBI doubles by Matt Hague and Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the 1st. Those doubled got the Tribe going and onto the scoreboard.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: A perfect throw to second base by Jose Morales in the 6th inning, to catch Chris Valaika in his steal attempt. That cut short the Bat’s rally, and kept them from potentially scoring again in the inning.
The Indians continue the homestand with a 4-game series against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, who are managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. Monday’s and Tuesday’s games are evening games, while Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are day games.
The Columbus Clippers also won their game today, so the Indians and Clippers remain tied for second place in the International League Western Division, with identical 16-13 records. They are 2 games behind the first place Toledo Mud Hens, and 7 games ahead of the Bats.
C Kris Watts made a pinch-hitting appearance in the game (ground out). He was recalled from Altoona on May 1st when Nick Evans was placed on the DL.