Norfolk Tides 10, Indianapolis Indians 5
Two late-inning rallies by the Norfolk Tides washed away the Indians’ early 5-run lead, earning a split of the 4-game series. Reliever Danny McCutchen was charged with the loss, though he allowed the fewest runs (one, unearned) of the three Indians’ pitchers who pitched tonight. The Indians managed only 5 hits, including 2 by DH Jeff Clement and 2 by 2B Anderson Hernandez.
The Indians took advantage of four Norfolk errors to score 5 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Jeff Clement began the top of the 2nd with a line drive single into right field. He advanced to second base when SS Jordy Mercer was grazed by a pitch. C Eric Fryer slapped a hard bouncer to second base, where the ball took a crazy hop off the glove of 2B Matt Antonelli, ruled an error. That loaded the bases for the Tribe. 2B Anderson Hernandez ticked a single off the glove of Tides’ SS Steve Tolleson and into left field, driving in Clement from third base and Mercer from second. CF Starling Marte grounded into a force play, with Hernandez out at second. With runners on the corners, another ground out ended the inning. Indians ahead, 2-0.
The Tides committed three errors in the 3rd inning. A one-out walk put 1B Jake Fox on first base. Clement’s second single of the game, a line drive into right field, gave the Tribe runners on the corners. Mercer bounced to short, but SS Tolleson booted the ball, allowing Mercer to reach first safely and Fox to score. Fryer grounded to third, where former Indy Indian 3B Bill Hall made the scoop, but threw wide to first. The throw pulled 1B Joe Mahoney off the first base bag, and Fryer was save on that throwing error. With the bases loaded and two out, Anderson Hernandez slipped his second single just inside the third base bag and into left field, scoring both Clement and Mercer. The ball was fumbled in left field, the third error of the frame, allowing Hernandez to scramble to second base. The inning ended with two Indians’ runners in scoring position, but the Indians had a 5-0 lead.
Justin Wilson, who took part in the combined no-hitter 5 days ago, did not fare as well tonight. He worked around a double in the 1st inning and a single in the 2nd inning, but found trouble in the bottom of the 3rd. A single by CF Xavier Avery and walks to Tolleson and Hall loaded the bases with two outs, as Wilson suddenly seemed to be having trouble finding the strike zone. C Chris Robinson lifted a long fly ball into right field, over RF Brandon Boggs’ head and off the wall, clearing the bases with the double. The Indians’ lead was cut to 5-3.
The Tides tied it up in the 4th inning, scoring all their runs with 2 outs. A walk to Antonelli and a single by Avery put two runners on for Norfolk. Tolleson drove both runners in with a double into the left field corner, tying the score at 5-5.
Daniel McCutchen relieved Wilson to begin the 5th inning. Wilson had allowed 5 runs (all earned) on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts in just 4 innings. He threw 95 pitches, with 57 strikes. McCutchen shut the Tides down with a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. Then in the 6th, McCutchen surrendered the go-ahead run. Back-to-back singles by RF Jai Miller and Mahoney led off the frame. Antonelli attempted a sacrifice bunt, but when he tapped it right back to the mound, McCutchen pounced on it. He whirled and fired to third base for the force out on the lead runner Miller. Avery grounded to second so slowly that Anderson Hernandez was only able to make the play at first, and the other two runners moved into scoring position. Mahoney scored when Tolleson’s grounder to short was bobbled and re-bobbled by Mercer for the only Indians’ error of the game. McCutchen bounced back to retire the Tides in order in the 7th.
Jose Diaz took the mound for the Tribe in the bottom of the 8th. That’s when the Tides washed out the Indians’ hope for a come-back. With one out, Diaz gave up an infield single to Mahoney and hit Antonelli with a pitch. Back-to-back walks to Avery and Tolleson forced in Mahoney with the Tides’ first insurance run. LF Jamie Hoffman’s sacrifice fly plated Antonelli. Hall ripped a double off the left-center field wall, and both Avery and Tolleson scored, bumping Norfolk’s lead to 10-5. Diaz also hit Robinson with a pitch, then DH Ryan Adams lined a single into left field. With Hall racing for home, LF Gorkys Hernandez made an on-time and on-target from left field to Eric Fryer at the plate. Fryer easily tagged out Hall to end the rally.
The Indians managed only two base runners after their 3rd inning scoring. Jordy Mercer doubled with one out in the 5th, and Jeff Clement walked in the 7th. Both runners were left on base.
The Indians finished up their 8-game road trip with a 5-3 record — 3-1 in Durham, and 2-2 in Norfolk. They return to Victory Field on Saturday to begin a 10-game home stand. They will begin with 2 games against the Louisville Bats, then 4 games against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and 4 games against the Tides again.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Anderson Hernandez, who drove in 4 of the Indians’ 5 runs with a pair of 2-RBI singles.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Daniel McCutchen’s quick response to Matt Antonelli’s bunt in the 6th inning. The force out of the lead runner at third gave the Indians a chance to get out of the inning unscathed, though the later error allowed a run to score.