Indianapolis Indians 5, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 0
The Indianapolis Indians shut out the Iron Pigs this afternoon at Victory field, for their 5th straight win. That insures the Tribe at least an even split of this 10-game home stand, but it doesn’t appear that they are thinking of slowing up. “This week we’ve done a pretty good job,” said CF Gorkys Hernandez in a post-game interview. “The pitching has done a great, great job, and that’s how we can keep doing. We tried the same thing today, and we’ll try the next day to do the same thing and keep it going. We have to keep going these next games and see what happens.”
Justin Wilson made the start for the Tribe, earning his third win of the season. The southpaw struggled to get through the first inning without allowing a run, . He struck out lead-off batter SS Andres Blanco, but needed 6 pitches to do it. CF Scott Podsednik tapped a dribbler to the grass just in front of second base, leaving Tribe 2B Anderson Hernandez with no play. 2B Kevin Frandsen fouled off some extra pitches before lining out to right field. Yesterday’s defensive hero RF Brandon Boggs, again demonstrated how to play the outfield, as he made a sliding catch of that sinking line drive. Finally, Wilson struck out 1B Cody Overbeck — but that took 7 pitches, for a total of 24 pitches to get through the inning.
Luckily, Wilson settled down after the first inning. He buzzed through the next three innings, retiring the side in order in all three, needing a total of 31 pitches for those three frames. Wilson began the 5th inning with a fly out, then gave up a single to LF Michael Spidale. Two more outs left Spidale on base, with the Iron Pigs still scoreless. Opposing starter Pat Misch struck out to begin the top of the 6th. Blanco worked a walk and Podsednik singled into left field, giving the Iron Pigs two runners on base for the first time in the game. Wilson left them both stranded, completing his afternoon’s work. Wilson ended with 94 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. He allowed just those 3 hits and one walk, but no runs. He struck out 6 Iron Pigs.
The Indians put at least one runner on base in each of the first 4 innings, but were not able to score. Gorkys Hernandez dropped down a bunt back to the mound in the bottom of the 1st. He was able to beat out the throw to first, then advanced to second base when Misch’s throw to first base went wide and to the bullpen. Hernandez moved to third base on a ground out, but was left on base. With two outs in the 2nd, C Jose Morales lined a single into left-center field, and Anderson Hernandez followed with a walk. That inning ended when Wilson struck out.
1B Matt Hague lined a single into left field with two outs in the 3rd, but was forced out at second to end the inning. Brandon Boggs singled in the 4th, and stole second base. When C John Suomi’s throw to second base bounced off Boggs and into center field, Boggs raced to third base. He also got no further, ending the inning at third base.
Finally, the Tribe broke the scoreless tie in the 5th inning. With one out, SS Chase d’Arnaud collected his first hit of the season (remember, he missed a month on the DL after a concussion). D’Arnaud grounded a single up the middle, then stole second base. Gorkys Hernandez fouled off several pitches, then followed with a bomb over the 362′ sign on the right field wall for a 2-run homer.
Four hits gave the Tribe some insurance in the 6th. 3B Jordy Mercer and Boggs led off with back-to-back singles, then Morales sacrifice bunted them both into scoring position. A bloop into right field by Anderson Hernandez drove in Mercer, and sent Misch to the showers. Reliever Jeremy Horst walked pinch-hitter Brian Friday, loading the bases with Indians. D’Arnaud got his second hit of the season on a soft line drive to right-center, plating Boggs and Anderson Hernandez for d’Arnaud’s first RBI of the season.
Tim Wood took over for Wilson to pitch the top of the 7th. Wood gave up a double to RF Derrick Mitchell but did not allow him to score. Bryan Morris pitched the final two innings for the Tribe. He gave up a single to Blanco, but erased him with a double play. Two Iron Pigs’ runners reached base in the 9th, as the Indians made two errors in one inning. Overbeck struck out, but Morales fumbled the ball on strike three, then had trouble locating the ball. Then he stumbled over his discarded mask as he tried to get off the throw to first. After all that, the throw was just barely late — ruled a strikeout and an error on Morales. 3B Mike Fontenot grounded to second, for what looked like a game-ending double play. But d’Arnaud was just enough off balance so that his throw to first bounced in the dirt about 12 feet from the bag, then skipped past 1B Matt Hague and into the visitor’s dugout. Overbeck was out at second, but Fontenot was awarded second base on the throwing error. Morris was not flustered. He ended the game with another grounder to third, completing the shut-out.
The Iron Pigs never had a runner get past second base in the game. Meanwhile, the Indians posted a total of 10 hits, with Chase d’Arnaud, Gorkys Hernandez, and Brandon Boggs collecting 2 hits each. Gorkys Hernandez’s home run was the Tribe’s only extra base hit of the game.
The win, along with a 14-inning loss by the Toledo Mud Hens, moves the Indians to just half a game behind the first place Mud Hens in the International League West Division. The Indians’ record is 19-13, while Toledo has just one less loss, 19-12. The Tribe has now won 12 of their last 15 games.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez’s second home run of the season and second homer in two days. He only had one homer in all of 2011. Today’s 2-run homer broke the scoreless tie, and turned out to be all the runs the Indians needed.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The 6-4-3 (Chase d’Arnaud to Anderson Hernandez to Matt Hague) double play that ended the 8th inning.
Jordy Mercer increased his hitting streak to 10 games with his single today.
Tomorrow’s game begins at 11:05 am, to accommodate the school kids.