Charlotte Knights 5, Indianapolis Indians 4
RF Brandon Boggs smacked his first home run since late April in the top of the 11th inning, breaking a 3-3 tie to give the Indianapolis Indians a slim one-run lead. Unfortunately for the Tribe, the Charlotte Knights came right back with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning to take the walk-off win at Knights’ Stadium in the Charlotte suburbs.
The Indians had the lead only two brief times in this game. Over the first 5 innings, they recorded two doubles — one by SS Chase d’Arnaud in the 1st and one by 2B Anderson Hernandez in the 5th. CF Starling Marte was hit by a pitch in the 4th inning, giving the Tribe another base runner. Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski stranded all three of them.
Tribe starter Rudy Owens worked around a lead-off single in the bottom of the 1st, and a two-out double in the bottom of the 2nd. The Knights squeezed a run out of Owens in the 3rd inning. With one out, RF Justin Greene singled, then stole second base. Owens struck out CF Greg Golson, but the third strike was a wild pitch, allowing Golson to make it down to first base, and Greene to advance to third. Owens struck out the next batter, then Golson stole second base. 1B Dan Johnson walked to load the bases. That set up former Indy Indian C Hector Gimenez to drive in Green with a RBI single into left field. Golson also tried to score from second on the play. LF Gorkys Hernandez cut him down with an on-time and on-target throw to C Tony Sanchez, who tagged out Golson at the plate. Knights up, 1-0.
A double play got Owens out of a jam in the 2nd inning, when two singles had given the Knights runners on first and second. It was an around-the-horn twin killing, 3B Brian Friday to 2B Anderson to 1B Jeff Larish. The Knights added a second run in the 5th, with a solo home run by Green, to take a 2-0 lead.
The Tribe cut that lead in half in the top of the 6th. Gorkys Hernandez led off the frame with a double lined into center field. Chase d’Arnaud followed with a single grounded up the middle. Hernandez tried to score from second on the play, but CF Golson turned the tables on Hernandez, throwing him out at the plate. D’Arnaud moved to second base on the throw in from the outfield, then stole third base. He scored on Starling Marte’s single through the left side of the infield. The inning ended when Marte was picked off first base and tagged out in a brief run-down. Knights still ahead, 2-1.
The Knight’s base running miscues got Owens out of a jam in the 6th inning. With one out, three consecutive Knights reached base — a walk to 2B Drew Garcia, a single by 3B Ray Olmedo, and a single by SS Osvaldo Martinez. Garcia advanced to third on Martinez’s hit, but was held there. Olmedo missed that hold, and so he ended up at third base also, where he was easily tagged out by d’Arnaud. A fly out ended the inning without a run scoring. That was the end of the evening for Owens, who had thrown 99 pitches (66 strikes) by then. In 6 innings, he had allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.
Daniel Moskos relieved Owens to begin the bottom of the 7th. He pitched a scoreless inning, allowing only a single.
The Indians took the lead for the first time in the top of the 8th. With one out, Brian Friday doubled into left field. Back-to-back walks to Gorkys Hernandez and Chase d’Arnaud loaded the bases with Indians. Starling Marte grounded to first, where Johnson made the scoop and threw to SS Martinez to force d’Arnaud out at second base. The relay back to first base pulled Johnson off the bag, and Friday scored from third base to tie the score at 2-2. A new relief pitcher, Leyson Septimo, came on for the Knights, and he threw a tough pitch, which C Gimenez could not handle. Hernandez scored from third base on the wild pitch, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead.
The lead lasted for only a few minutes. Tim Wood entered the game in relief of Moskos, and his throwing error on a grounder back to the mound gave the Knights a runner on second base. Olmedo’s single into center field drove the run in, to tie the score at 3-3.
The Tribe went down in order in the top of the 9th. Wood came back out to pitch the bottom of the 9th, and kept the Knights from scoring, despite a 2-out single and walk. C Tony Sanchez started a rally for the Indians in the top of the 10th with a hot grounder that hit the Charlotte pitcher, allowing Sanchez to reach first safely. Eric Fryer came on to pinch-run for Sanchez (and then remain in the game as catcher). Fryer stole second base, and Brian Friday walked. Gorkys Hernandez dropped down a bunt, hoping to sacrifice, but the Knights turned it into a force out of Fryer at third, leaving the Indians with runners on first and second, with one out. A strike out and a fly out ended the inning, leaving the score still tied.
Duke Welker came out of the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the 10th for the Indians. He gave up only a walk, maintaining the tie.
Brandon Boggs was the hero in the top of the 11th. He lifted a rising line drive over the right field wall for a solo home run, giving the Indians a 4-3 lead. Anderson Hernandez and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back singles after the home run, though the Indians could not bring them around to score any insurance runs.
That turned out to be a problem in the bottom of the 11th. With Evan Meek on the mound, a lead-off walk, a stolen base, and an RBI single by Golson drove in Green with the tying run. A wild pitch put Golson on second base, then two more walks to LF Tyler Kuhn and Johnson loaded the bases with no outs. Gimenez hit a tapper back to Meek, who returned the ball to Fryer at the plate, for a force out on Golson. Then DH Josh Phegley gave the Knights the win with a walk-off single to bring in Kuhn from third base.
The Indians put up a total of 10 hits, with Chase d’Arnaud and Anderson Hernandez taking two each, both a single and a double. Brian Friday and Gorkys Hernandez also had a single each. Rudy Owens did not figure into the decision, so his record remains at 5-2, with a 2.29 ERA. Tim Wood was charged with a Blown Save (his 4th). Evan Meek was charged with his 2nd Blown Save and his 2nd loss of the season.
The Indians and the Knights wrap up this 4-game series with an afternoon game on Sunday. The Tribe will go on to Gwinnett to play a 4-game series with the Braves.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brandon Boggs’ home run in the top of the 11th. It gave the Indians the lead (temporarily at least). Boggs hit four homers in the first weeks of the season, the last on April 16th. Then he went homer-less for exactly two months, until today’s blast.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez’s two outfield assists. He threw out Greg Golson at the plate in the 3rd, then threw Ray Olmedo out at third in the 6th.
The Columbus Clippers won tonight, which cuts the Indians lead in the International League Western Division to 7.5 games.
Chase d’Arnaud now has 17 stolen bases in 17 attempts.