Indianapolis Indians 4, Gwinnett Braves 2
The Indianapolis Indians ended their road trip with a 6-2 record and a sweep of their 4-game series with the Braves at Cool Ray Field in Gwinnett this afternoon. The Braves out-hit the Indians 9-7, and each team committed one error in the game. The Indians broke a 2-2 tie with 2 more runs in the 6th inning, and held on to that lead for the win.
The errors occurred in the first two innings of the game. In the 1st, 2B Chase d’Arnaud beat out an infield single. He stole second base and advanced to third base on a throwing error by the Braves’ catcher, but could not score. The bottom of the 2nd began with a single by Braves’ 1B Ernesto Meija, then RF Stefan Gartrell reached base on a fielding error by 3B Brian Friday. Tribe starter Rudy Owens retired the next three batters, leaving those runners on base.
After two scoreless innings, the Tribe got on the scoreboard in the top of the 3rd. Friday led off with a double into left field. Owens put down a sacrifice bunt to move Friday to third. LF Gorkys Hernandez drove in Friday with an RBI ground out, to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
They doubled the lead in the top of the 4th on back-to-back doubles. CF Starling Marte began the inning with a double into left field, and 1B Jeff Larish followed with a line drive double into center field, plating Marte.
The Braves tied it up in the bottom of the inning. The only runs the Braves scored in the game came on a double by Meija and a 2-run homer by 3B Ruben Gotay.
Rudy Owens worked around a two-out double in each of the 5th and 6th innings, to finish his afternoon’s work. He pitched 6 innings and allowed those 2 runs on 6 hits and one walk, with 4 strikeouts. Owens threw 59 pitches (59 strikes). He was credited with the win, his 6th of the season, bringing him to a 6-2 record.
The Tribe struck again in the top of the 6th. With one out, Marte singled to short, and promptly stole second base. Larish was intentionally walked, and RF Brandon Boggs doubled to right field, driving in both Marte and Larish, who raced around from first base. The Indians had retaken the lead, 4-2.
Only one Tribe batter reached base in the 7th and 8th innings, when pinch-hitter Jose Morales walked. Two base-running mistakes ruined the Indians’ chances to score again in the 9th. Boggs singled to begin the inning, but when Sanchez struck out, Boggs was out in a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play. Friday worked a walk, then he too was thrown out trying to steal second.
Evan Meek took the mound in relief of Owens in the 7th inning. He pitched that one inning, allowing one walk, and striking out two Braves’ batters. Bryan Morris came on for the 8th inning. After a strikeout, he gave up back-to-back singles to Gartrell and Gotay. A short fly out to center did not allow those runners to tag up and advance. Felix Pie singled to short, to load the bases, but Morris struck out Jose Yepez to get out of the jam without a run scoring.
Tim Wood relieved Morris to pitch the bottom of the 9th. He gave up a walk and threw a wild pitch, but kept the Braves scoreless to earn his 8th Save of the season.
Both Starling Marte and Brandon Boggs had two hits, a single and a double. Boggs also collected 2 RBI.
The Indians return to Victory Field on Friday, to begin a 4-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. A 4-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens will follow, for an 8-game home stand.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brandon Boggs’ 10th double of the season, which drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run for the Indians in the 6th inning. The Tribe never gave up that lead. Boggs also singled and walked in the game.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the bottom of the 9th, with one out and one on, Tyler Pastornicky lifted a long fly ball to left field. Gorkys Hernandez raced back toward the wall, with his back to the infield. He turned just as he reached the warning track, and made a leaping catch, then crashed into the (padded, luckily) outfield wall. Hernandez quickly threw the ball back to the infield, where the base runner just barely made it back to first base in time. It did not look like the ball would have gone over the wall if Hernandez had not caught it, but if he’d missed, it would likely have been a double or triple and would have scored the base runner.
Brian Friday’s hitting streak has increased to 10 games. He is 11-for-31 (.355) during the streak.
The Columbus Clippers lost tonight, stretching the Indians’ lead in the International League Western Division to 9.5 games. The Toledo Mud Hens remain in 3rd place, 13 games behind the Indians. The Louisville Bats began the day 19 games behind the Indians, and their game tonight is still in progress.