Indianapolis Indians 4, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 2
The Indianapolis Indians celebrated their return to Victory Field after a 6-2 road trip with their 6th consecutive win tonight. That is the Tribe’s longest win streak of the season, and the win pushed the Indians into a 10.5 game lead over the Columbus Clippers (who lost tonight) in the International League Western Division. Reliever Daniel Moskos was credited with the win, after 6 superb innings by starter Justin Wilson. SS Chase d’Arnaud drove in the go-ahead run plus an insurance run in the 8th inning.
Wilson was the star of the first part of the game. The southpaw began the game by retiring the first 13 batters he faced. He struck out two Yankee’s batters in each of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th innings, and got one strikeout in both the 3rd and 4th innings. The first Yankee batter to reach base was 1B Russell Branyan, who ran the count full then took a walk with one out in the 5th inning. Wilson promptly retired the next two batters, leaving Branyan standing there.
Wilson began to tire in the 6th inning. He retired the first two batters of the inning, then walked the next two. LF Ronnier Mustelier followed with a single up the middle, driving in the runner from second base, to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Wilson got the next batter to pop out to 3B Brian Friday in foul territory to end the inning. That was the end of his outing, as he had thrown 108 pitches (71 strikes). He had walked 3 batters and struck out 8.
The Tribe responded by taking that run back in the bottom of the inning. The Indians had put at least one runner on base in each of the first 4 innings. LF Gorkys Hernandez doubled with one out in the 1st, and was left on base. 1B Jeff Larish walked and RF Brandon Boggs blooped a single into right field int he 2nd inning. 2B Anderson Hernandez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position with one out. The rally was stopped short when a ground out and a pop out ended the inning. CF Starling Marte walked in the 3rd and Anderson Hernandez grounded a single up the middle in the 4th, but they were also left stranded. After going down in order in the 5th, the Tribe rallied in the 6th. Marte led off with a walk and DH Jeff Clement singled into right field. Larish moved both runners into scoring position when he grounded slowly to first base. Brandon Boggs’ sacrifice fly brought in Marte from third with the tying run, 1-1.
Daniel Moskos came on in relief of Wilson to begin the 7th inning. He put down the Yankees in order in that inning, including 2 strikeouts. Moskos came back out for the 8th inning, which began with CF Chris Dickerson popping a bunt attempt over the mound, to die on the grass behind the mound between first and second bases. Dickerson stole second base, and RF Kevin Russo lined a single into right-center field, which allowed Dickerson to score from second base, to take a 2-1 lead. The rally ended when 2B Corban Joseph bounced to first base, where Jeff Larish began a 3-6-3 double play.
Once again, the Indians came right back, as they batted around in the bottom of the 8th. With former Indy Indian Justin Thomas on the mound for the Yankees, Jeff Clement worked a walk, and was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Fryer. Yamaico Navarro stepped up to pinch-hit for Jeff Larish, but struck out. Brandon Boggs lined a single into center field, moving Fryer to second base. Anderson Hernandez struck out for the second out of the inning. Then the next four batters reached base safely. C Tony Sanchez drove in Fryer from second base with a low liner driven into center field, to tie the score at 2-2. Brian Friday also singled, on a slowly rolling dribbler toward first base, as he beat out the throw to first base. That loaded the bases with two outs, and brought up Chase d’Arnaud. D’Arnaud ripped a hard grounder past the diving Yankee second baseman and into right field, as Sanchez and Friday raced around to score. Justin Thomas was removed in favor of reliever Ryota Igarashi, who threw a wild pitch, moving Friday to third and d’Arnaud to second base. A walk to Gorkys Hernandez loaded the bases again, but the inning ended with a strikeout on a foul tip by Marte. Indians up, 4-2.
Daniel Moskos was the pitcher of record when the Indians scored their 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, so he was credited with the win. Tim Wood came in to pitch the top of the 9th. He earned his 9th Save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning, which included another amazing catch by Starling Marte. Russell Branyan lifted a long high fly ball to deep right center field. Marte raced back and to his left, and made his catch at the wall look easy.
The Indians posted a total of 9 hits, with Brandon Boggs and Brian Friday getting two hits each. Friday’s hits extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Gorkys Hernandez’s double in the 1st was the only extra-base hit of the game. The Yankees managed only 3 hits, all singles.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Chase d’Arnaud’s 2-RBI single in the bottom of the 9th, which gave the Indians the winning run plus one for insurance. D’Arnaud has been struggling at the plate lately, with just 5 hits in his last 9 games: 5-for-32 (.156). “I’ve been working real hard on some things the last few days, so it was nice today to get some positive reinforcement to go with the hard work”, said d’Arnaud, who had a huge smile on his face during his post-game interview. “I just wanted to get the job done. We had a good crowd out tonight. I didn’t want to disappoint. I appreciate all of you guys being here… I’m glad we could pull this one out for you guys.”
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Two plays by 1B Jeff Larish, both in the 8th inning. With a runner on first and no outs, SS Ramiro Pena popped a bunt up and into foul territory in front of the visitors’ dugout. Most of the time, that pop would have been ignored, just counted as a foul ball. Larish did not ignore it or give up — he raced over from first base just in time to make the catch at his knees for the first out of the inning. Moments later, with one run in, Kevin Russo on first base, and still one out, Corban Joseph grounded sharply to first base. Larish scooped up the ball and whirled to throw to second base, forcing out Russo. SS Chase d’Arnaud fired back to first base, but he had had to avoid Russo’s slide. Larish had scrambled back to the first base bag, and had just arrived there when d’Arnaud’s throw did — but the throw was wide to the outfield side. Larish stretched and was able to make the catch just in time, for the rally-ending double play.
Justin Wilson also allowed one run on one hit in 6 innings on June 17th, and on that day he did not figure into the decision either. In his last 3 starts, he has a 1-0 record and has allowed 2 runs in 19 innings (0.95 ERA). He also has struck out 19 batters in those 19 innings. Overall, Wilson has a 5-4 record with a 3.46 ERA, and he has 81 strikeouts in 80.2 innings.