Indianapolis Indians 2, Rochester Red Wings 0
The Rochester Red Wings came out on top in the hit column with 5 singles, while the Indians managed only 3 hits It’s the run column that counts, though, and the Indians took advantage of a hit batter, walks, and stolen bases to score their two runs at Victory Field tonight.
The game began with 4.5 scoreless innings. Indians’ starter Rick VandenHurk scattered 3 hits and a walk over those innings, but never let any of those base runners get past second base. 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled in the 1st inning, and was erased with a double play. RF Wilkin Ramirez singled in the 2nd, and DH Danny Valencia singled in the 4th. CF Clete Thomas walked in the 4th too, but VandenHurk left all three of them on base.
The Indians put at least one runner on base in each of their first 4 innings, but they could not get any of them around to score either. Two walks, to LF Gorkys Hernandez and DH Jake Fox, gave the Tribe two base runners in the 1st inning. 3B Brian Friday was hit (on the back) with a pitch in the 3rd, and SS Chase d’Arnaud was also walked. All four of those runners were left stranded.
The first Indians’ hit came in the 4th inning, when RF Jeff Larish smacked a grounder down the left field line and into the corner for a double. Unfortunately, he was left on base also.
The Tribe got onto the scoreboard in the 5th. The inning began with Brian Friday being hit with a pitch for the second time in the game– this time on his leg. A wild pitch sent Friday to second base. D’Arnaud grounded to first, where Rochester 1B Sean Burroughs alertly fired across the diamond to third base. Friday had not anticipated that play, so he took off from second, and was not able to slide under 3B Ray Chang’s tag. D’Arnaud stole second base, putting him into scoring position. When CF Starling Marte singled into left field, d’Arnaud raced around from second to score. The throw in to the plate was high and wide to the first base side of the plate, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead.
Two walks in the 6th set up the Indians’ second run. With one out, 2B Yamaico Navarro and Jeff Larish took back-to-back walks on 8 consecutive pitches. C Jose Morales lifted a fly ball to short center field — too short for Navarro to tag up and advance to third. Brian Friday, who was tired of being hit by pitches, took care of the problem by hitting a pitch for a line drive single into left field, easily driving in Navarro with an insurance run.
The bottom of the 7th began with another pair of back-to-back walks, to Gorkys Hernandez and Starling Marte. Base running mistakes kept the Indians from capitalizing on that situation. Hernandez moved to second on a wild pitch, but he was thrown out at third when he tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt. The ball got away from Rochester C Rene Rivera, but not as far away as Hernandez seemed to think it was. Rivera was able to snatch up the ball and throw to third for the tag out. After a fly out, Marte was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the inning.
VandenHurk continued his evening with one and then two runs in his pocket. He retired the Red Wings in order in the 5th and 6th innings. VandenHurk surrendered 2 hits in the 7th, but worked out of the jam. Valencia opened the inning with a single lined into left field. He moved up to second base when Ramirez also singled. LF Brian Dinkleman grounded to short for what looked like it had a chance to be a double play. SS Chase d’Arnaud made the scoop and the throw to second, for the out on Ramirez, but Ramirez slid in hard, making it impossible for 2B Yamaico Navarro to turn the double play. With runners on the corners (the only Red Wing base runner to reach third base), Rivera grounded to third, where Brian Friday made the play and the throw to second base for another force out, ending the inning.
Chris Leroux relieved VandenHurk to begin the 8th inning. It was Leroux’s second appearance in this rehab visit to the Indians. He got two quick ground outs, then hit Nishioka with a pitch. A ground out ended the inning. Tim Wood earned his 6th Save with a perfect 9th inning, including a strikeout.
VandenHurk threw 80 pitches (57 strikes) in his 7 innings of work. He allowed those 5 hits plus one walk, while striking out 5 batters. He earned his 4th win of the season, for a 4-0 record.
The Indians had only 3 hits — by Starling Marte, Jeff Larish, and Brian Friday. They finished the game with a total of 8 runners left on base, because of 7 walks.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brian Friday’s RBI single in the 8th, turning the tables on the Red Wing pitchers who had hit him twice. “I just wanted to be aggressive,” Friday related after the game. “They kept trying to throw fastballs in, so I wanted to be aggressive with that and look for that first pitch. It was there, and fortunately it got through.”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Also Brian Friday. In the top of the 4th, with two outs and runners on first and second after a single and a walk, Wilkin Ramirez slashed the first pitch from Rick VandenHurk along the third base line, over the third base bag. Friday was playing a little deep, and he was able to go back and dive toward the line to make the back-handed stab to catch the ball. Then he had to stop his momentum and turn, then fire across the diamond, on-target to first base, for the third out. If that ball had gotten through and past Friday, Danny Valencia would have been able to score from second base, and kept the inning going. Friday has been playing more third base lately. “I enjoy it over there. I kind of just stay in there and react, so there’s not a lot of thinking going on. It’s fun to play different positions, and I’m enjoying third….I just work had in preparation before the game. I try to come to the park expecting to play every day. Whether you do or not, it’s out of your control, so just try and stay sharp and do your best.”
Chase d’Arnaud stole second base in the 5th inning. It was his 15th steal of the season, in 15 attempts.
With the Columbus Clippers’ loss earlier today, the Indians are now 8 games ahead of them in the International League Western Division standings. The first-place Tribe is also 9.5 games ahead of the Toledo Mud Hens and 18 games ahead of the 4th place Louisville Bats.