Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees 4, Indianapolis Indians 0
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees ended both their own 6-game losing streak and the Indianapolis Indians’ 7-game winning streak by shutting out the Indians at Victory Field this afternoon. Four Yankees’ pitchers contributed to the shut-out, allowing the Tribe only 7 hits and 3 walks. Indians’ starter Jeff Locke did not have his usual control or his best stuff today. He allowed 8 hits and 2 walks, and gave up 3 of the Yankees’ runs.
The Indians put runs in each inning but the first and the last. However, they were never able to push a run across the plate. 3B Yamaico Navarro was the first Tribe batter to reach base, on a two-out walk in the 2nd. C Tony Sanchez had the first Indians’ hit of the game when he lined a single into right field to lead off the 3rd inning. He was forced out at second base when SS Brian Friday grounded to short. Former Indy Indian SS Doug Bernier made the scoop and threw to 2B Corban Joseph for the force out on Sanchez, but Joseph then airmailed the ball to first place, so they could not make the double play. Two more quick outs ended that inning with Friday still on first base.
The Tribe’s two good shots at scoring came in the middle innings. With one out in the 4th, DH Jake Fox and 1B Jeff Clement both lined back-to-back singles into center field. Fox reached third base, but was left stranded there when Navarro popped up to third base and Boggs bounced into a force out to end the inning. The 5th inning began with two outs, then a pair of hits by LF Gorkys Hernandez and 2B Anderson Hernandez. Gorkys made it to third on Anderson’s single, but a fly out ended that inning.
Navarro and Boggs also reached base in the 6th inning, when Navarro singled into left field, just slipping the ball past the Yankee 3B Brandon Laird’s dive. Boggs worked a walk to put two runners on with two out. That inning came to an end when Sanchez grounded to third, where Laird needed to take just three steps to touch the base and force out Navarro. Anderson Hernandez walked with two outs in the 7th. The last Tribe base runner was Clement, who singled through the right side of the infield in the 8th inning. He moved to third on a pitch that bounced away from Yankee C Gustavo Molina. A piece of poor base running by Boggs ended the inning: the ball that got past Molina was strike three, but with everyone’s concentration on Clement who was trying to get to second base, Boggs forgot to run to first base. It was easy for the Yankees to throw to first base, and make the out on Boggs to end the inning.
The Indians posted 7 hits, all singles. Jeff Clement was the only Tribe batter to have two hits — singles in the 4th and 8th.
Starter Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings and had to work with at least one Yankee runner on base in each of those innings. Lead-off batter RF Kevin Russo led off the game with a single lined into left field, though Locke retired the next three batters in order. Locke walked DH Russell Branyan to begin the 2nd, then promptly erased him by getting Baird to bounce into a double play.
The Yankees got onto the scoreboard in the 3rd. The inning began with humongous blast over the left field wall, over the grass berm, and over the sidewalk behind the berm for a solo home run by Molina. Russo was hit by a pitch, and then with two outs, LF Ronnier Mustelier and DJ Jack Cust hit back-to-back singles. Cust’s hit drove in Russo from second base to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Locke worked around a lead off single by Laird in the 4th, then gave up a run on two hits and a missed double play in the 5th. Russo and Joseph both singled, giving the Yankees runners on the corners. Mustelier bounded to short, where Brian Friday tossed to Anderson Hernandez for the out at second base on Joseph. Hernandez was disrupted by Joseph, though, and so was not able to get the ball to first base in time for a double play. Russo easily scored from third base, pushing the Yankees’ lead to 3-0. Locke had thrown 95 pitches (58 strikes) by the middle of the 5th inning, and that was all for him for the day.
Daniel McCutchen came on in relief for Locke. McCutchen retired the Yankees in order for the first time in the game, all fly outs/pop outs, and needed only 10 pitches to do it.
Chris Leroux continued his rehab assignment with 2 innings of work. With two out in the 7th, Leroux allowed the last Yankee run. Cust rocketed a no-doubt-about-it solo home run over the right field wall, which bounced on the sidewalk behind the grass berm and continued out the right field gate and onto West Street. That was Cust’s third hit of the game. Leroux retired the next four batters he faced.
Jose Diaz pitched the top of the 9th for the Tribe. He gave up a one-out single to Russo, his third hit of the game. The game ended when Joseph ripped a line drive right to Anderson Hernandez at second base. Hernandez quickly fired over to first base, just in time to double off Russo. The Tribe went down in order in the bottom of the 9th, and the Yankees had the win.
This four-game series wraps up on Monday. The Toledo Mud Hens are next to visit Victory Field, for another 4-game series.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Two singles by Jeff Clement, one in the 4th and one in the 8th. Clement tried to continue a rally in the 4th, though it quickly slipped away after Clement’s hit. He tried to start a late-inning rally in the 8th, but that one never got going either.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Anderson Hernandez’ inning-ending double play in the top of the 9th. He had to be alert enough to make the quick stab for the catch, then think to look over to first base, and finally to get the ball over to Clement at first as Kevin Russo was racing back to the bag.
A few players were doing running drills before the game:
The Pirates have called up relief pitcher Bryan Morris “for the next couple of days”, but expect to have him return to Indianapolis after that. Infielder Jordy Mercer is being optioned back to the Indians to open up a roster spot for Morris.
Even with today’s loss, the Indians continue to have the best win/lose percentage in the International League: .605 (46-30). The Pawtucket Red Sox have a 45-32 average (.584), leading the International League Northern Division; the Charlotte Knights are in first place in the Southern Division, with a 43-34 record (.558).