Indianapolis Indians 2, Charlotte Knights 0
Two RBI by 1B Jeff Clement accounted for all of the Indians scoring this afternoon, as the Indians earned a split of this 4-game series in Charlotte. The Indians’ pitchers also had a brilliant game, allowing only one hit in this shut-out. The win went to reliever Daniel McCutchen, who pitched one inning in his first rehab start with the Indians. Tim Wood earned his 7th Save of the season.
The Indians’ first run came in the bottom of the 1st, driven in by Clement’s double. With two out in the inning, CF Starling Marte reached base on a fielding error by the Knights’ third baseman. DH Jake Fox lined a single into left field, moving Marte to third base. Clement’s double went into right field, and Marte scored to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
That lead held up until the 4th inning. Starter Justin Wilson retired the Knights in order for the first two innings. The bottom of the 4th began with a lead-off double by Knights’ CF Greg Golson. Wilson walked 1B Dan Johnson, then Golson stole third base. DH Conor Jackson brought in Golson from third base with a grounder to short, tying the score at 1-1.
The Indians threatened in the top of the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez walked, and SS Chase d’Arnaud doubled, moving Sanchez to third base. A strikeout ended that rally without a run scoring.
Wilson walked one Charlotte batter in each of the 5th and 6th, but both were left on base. He finished his start after the 6th inning, having thrown 95 pitches, (57 strikes). He allowed only that hit and run, walked 3 batters, and struck out 5. Wilson left the game with the score tied, so he was not going to figure into the decision. Jose Diaz relieved Wilson to begin the 7th inning, pitching one perfect inning.
Daniel McCutchen, who just joined the Indians today on a rehab assignment, got in one inning of work also. He walked the first batter he faced, and that batter was moved to second base by Golson’s sacrifice bunt. Johnson was intentionally walked, but McCutchen was able to induce two more outs to end the threat.
Brian Friday had the only Tribe hit in the 7th and 8th innings. He lined a two-out single into center field in the 7th.
With the score still tied, Jeff Clement stepped to the plate to begin the top of the 9th. He lifted a high fly over the right-center field wall, scoring the go-ahead run with his solo homer. The next three Indians’ batters went down in order. ‘
Tim Wood, who had a tough outing yesterday, bounced right back today. He held that one-run lead with two strikeouts and a fly out to end the game. Wood took the Save, and the Indians took the win, exiting Charlotte with a 2-game each split.
The Indians continue their road trip in Gwinnett, where they will begin a 4-game series with the Braves on Monday.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Jeff Clement’s two hits, both of which were big blasts. In the 1st inning, his double off the right field wall missed being a home run by just a few feet. “I thought I got enough [to hit it out],” said Clement after the game. “It would have been nice to get that three-run cushion in the first, but I’ll take the double with the way I’ve been swinging it. I’ve been struggling a little bit.”
He made the correction (actually hit to a place where the wall was shorter) and in the 9th, gave the Indians the win with his home run. “I’d like to take credit for being a smart hitter, but it was just that the ball was thrown in a spot where I was able to hit it more to center.” The home run was his 8th of the season, and the double was his 19th of the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Several fine catches by Starling Marte in center field. Marte is so speedy that he can get to almost everything, even when it looks like a sure hit.
NOTES: The Columbus Clippers also won today, so they remain 7.5 games behind the Indians in the International League Western Division standings.