Indianapolis Indians 9, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 8
The Indians and the Yankees traded the lead back and forth while combining for 23 hits, until the Indians ended up on top for the win at Victory Field tonight. That gives the Indians a 3-1 win of this 4-game series with the Yankees, and their 8th win in the past 9 games. Neither of the starting pitchers, Dellin Betances for the Yankees and Daniel Cabrera for the Indians, had a particularly good outing, and Betances was particularly erratic on the mound. The relievers settled things down for a time, but then they got into trouble too and the scoring continued.
Daniel Cabrera got into a tough spot from the first batter of the game. He walked Yankees’ lead-off batter CF Chris Dickerson, who then stole second base. 2B Corban Joseph singled under the glove of 3B Anderson Hernandez, moving Dickerson to third. LF Ronnier Mustelier drove in Dickerson with a ground out. Moments later, 1B Russell Branyan singled into right field, driving in Joseph for a 2-0 lead. Cabrera hit C Francisco Cervelli with a pitch, pushing Branyan to second base. The inning ended with a grounder to third, which Anderson Hernandez scooped up to force out Branyan at third.
The Indians stepped up in the 2nd inning to take the lead, sending 10 men to the plate. DH Jeff Clement led off with a grounder up the middle. SS Jordy Mercer, just returned to the team from the Pirates, worked a walk. 2B Yamaico Navarro lined a single into right field, allowing Clement to race around from second to score. Navarro tried to steal second base and was cut down by a perfect throw from Cervelli to SS Ramiro Pena. 1B Jeff Larish walked, then RF Brandon Boggs lined another single into right, plating Mercer to tie the score at 2-2. LF Gorkys Hernandez loaded the bases when he was hit on the shoulder by a pitch. Betances was really struggling at this point — he threw two wild pitches. The first one skittered away from Cervelli back and to his right. Betances raced to cover the plate, but Cervelli’s throw went behind him, and Betances could not reach both the ball and the plate, nor Larish, who scored the go-ahead run. Moments later, the second wild pitch went all the way to the backstop wall. Betances was slower to cover the plate, but it also took Cervelli a long time to get to the ball, and Boggs scored. By this time, Gorkys Hernandez was on third. Anderson Hernandez made it runners on the corners with a walk. CF Starling Marte lined a double into left field that went all the way to the wall, allowing both Hernandezes to score, for a 6-2 lead.
The Tribe added another run in the 3rd. Navarro worked a walk, and with two out, Boggs slammed a double off the wall in the right-center gap, as Navarro scored from first base.
Daniel Cabrera kept the Yankees scoreless for three innings, but he struggled to do it. He needed a lot of pitches, going deep into the count on more batters than not. He retired the side in order in the 2nd, which was his best inning (15 pitches). He walked two batters and struck out three in the 3rd inning (27 pitches), then gave up a walk and a hit in the 4th (21 pitches). Combined with the 1st inning (29 pitches), his pitch count was 92 after 4 innings. He began the 5th inning with a single by Mustelier and a walk to DH Jack Cust. At 101 pitches (55 strikes), that was enough for Cabrera. He had allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 5 walks in 4 innings, and he struck out 6 batters.
Daniel Moskos came on in relief of Cabrera. Moskos struck out Branyan and got Cervelli to fly out. Then 3B Brandon Laird lined sharply into left field, allowing Mustelier to score. RF Colin Curtis doubled into the left field corner, bringing in both Cust and Laird, cutting the Indians’ lead to 7-5.
The third Daniel, Daniel McCutchen took the mound for the Indians in the top of the 6th. It was a tough outing for McCutchen, resulting in a Blown Save. After striking out Dickerson, he walked Joseph. A passed ball on a high pitch allowed Joseph to advance to second base. Joseph scored from there when Mustelier doubled off the right field wall. Branyan gave the Yankees the lead with his no-doubt-about-it 2-run homer to right field. Yankees led, 8-7.
Yankees’ reliever Mike O’Connor relieved starter Betances, and held the Indians to one hit, by Mercer, in the 4th and 5th innings. O’Connor got into trouble in the bottom of the 6th, though. After two outs, Gorkys Hernandez took an 0-2 pitch just over the reach of the Yankees’ 2B Joseph and into right field. Gorkys stole second base, then scored when Anderson Hernandez slipped a single under Joseph’s glove and into right field, for a tie score, 8-8. Marte gave the Tribe the lead with a triple into the right field corner. RF Curtis misplayed the ball, and it caromed far over toward center field, allowing Marte to roll into third base standing up. Anderson Hernandez scored on the play, giving the Indians a 9-8 lead.
For the remaining three innings, the Tribe just had to hang on. Navarro and C Jose Morales both singled in the 7th, but did not score, as Navarro was caught in a run-down between third and home. Gorkys Hernandez ran out a bunt single to lead off the 8th, and was bunted to second base by Anderson Hernandez. Marte was intentionally walked, and a double play ended that inning. Meanwhile, the pitching staff held off the Yankees. Evan Meek retired the side in order in the 7th, then worked out of a jam in the 8th. Dickerson led off with a single, and Joseph walked. Mustelier’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. A pop out gave Meek the second out. Another intentional walk, this one to Branyan, loaded the bases, but Meek struck out Cervelli to leave all three runners stranded.
Tim Wood earned his 10th Save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th, and the Indians started their next winning streak. Daniel McCutchen was the pitcher of record when the Indians scored in the bottom of the 6th, so he was credited with the win, his 4th of the season.
All but one Tribe batter had at least one hit in the game. Jeff Larish did not have a hit, but he walked and scored in that busy 2nd inning. Four Indians’ batters had two hits: Gorkys Hernandez, Starling Marte, Yamaico Navarro, and Brandon Boggs. Marte led the RBI list with 3, and Boggs had 2. The Yankees’ pitchers walked 6 Tribe batters, and the Indians’ pitchers walked 8. Ten Indians’ batters struck out, while 14 Yankees struck out.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Many fine hits, but the game-winner turned out to be Starling Marte’s triple into the right field corner in the bottom of the 6th. That drove in Anderson Hernandez from first base with the winning run.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Tim Wood’s perfect 9th inning, which completely subdued the Yankees and earned his 10th Save.
Anderson Hernandez makes a force out on Russell Branyan at third:
Anderson Hernandez scores on Starling Marte’s double in the 2nd:
In order to make room for Jordy Mercer on the Indians’ roster, the Pirates released home-town player Jake Fox. Fox had played some outfield, some first base, and even a little bit at third for the Indians. He appeared in 42 games (out of a possible 77) and went 29-for-123 (.236) at the plate. Fox doubled 10 times and homered twice, with 16 RBI. He also struck out 24 times and had 13 walks. Although Fox had not hit much in his major league stints (Cubs, Orioles), he had typically been a solid hitter in the minors. Not so much this season, though.
The Indians finish this series still in first place in the International League Western Division, now 9.5 games ahead of second place Columbus. Toledo is 16.5 games behind, and Louisville, with an 8-game winning streak, is 18 games behind.