Syracuse Chiefs 7, Indianapolis Indians 5
The Indianapolis Indians committed three errors tonight at Victory Field, and the Syracuse Chiefs jumped at the opportunity presented to them, to defeat the Tribe. Jeff Karstens made another rehab start with the Indians, and he suffered the loss.
Starling Marte started the game on the right foot — with a huge blast over the left field wall for a solo home run. The Indians put runners on base, including a single by 3B Yamaico Navarro, in the 2nd inning, but could not get them around to score.
The 3rd inning turned out to be a little crazy. After Jeff Karstens had retired the Chiefs in order for the first two innings, he got into trouble — not entirely of his own making — in the 3rd. With one out, C James Skelton grounded a single up the middle. Syracuse’s starting pitcher Yaneski Maya dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving Skelton to second base, with two outs. CF Erik Kamatsu grounded to short, for what should have been an easy inning-ending play. But SS Chase d’Arnaud air-mailed the throw to first, so Skelton advanced to third and Kamatsu moved up to second. Karstens walked former Indy Indian 2B Jim Negrych to load the bases. 1B Mark Teahen drove in both Skelton and Komatsu with a grounder past the diving 2B Brian Friday and into right field for a single. RF Tyler Moore followed with a smash off the narrow ledge on top of the left field wall. By the time the Indians had tracked down the carom and got the ball back to the infield, Moore was on third with a triple and Negrych and Teahen had both scored. Chiefs up, 4-1, with all 4 runs unearned, due to the error on the play that should have ended the inning.
That lead did not last long. The Indians bounced right back, led by Marte who began the bottom of the frame with his league-leading 6th triple of the season. A ground out and a strikeout made it look like Marte was going to be stranded there at third. Then 1B Jeff Clement got the clutch hit — a single into right field, plating Marte. Navarro then drove a long fly over the head of Moore in right-center field, bouncing it off the upper half of the wall. Clement scored from first base, as Navarro easily reached third base with the third triple of the inning. RF Jeff Larish brought Marte in with a line drive into left field for the RBI single, and the Indians had tied the game, 4-4.
Karstens held the Chiefs to a two-out bloop single by Skelton in the 4th. Another error gave him trouble again in the 5th. With two outs, Teahen grounded to third, where Navarro made a back-handed stop, turning completely around so that his back was to the infield. It was a great stop, but his throw to first went wide, for an error. The play should have ended the inning, but instead, like in the 3rd, the error allowed the inning to keep going. Moore followed with a long fly ball toward the left field wall. Alex Presley started running back to the wall, but soon stopped and could only watch as the ball flew well over his head and over the fence atop the wall. The Chiefs had another lead, 6-4.
Karstens finished the inning with a ground out, and that was the end of his evening. He had thrown 82 pitches (58 strikes), and allowed 6 runs (two earned) on 6 hits and a walk, also striking out 6 batters. All of those runs could have been avoided if the infielders had not been so excited that they rushed their throws and ended up with errors instead of outs.
Kris Johnson began the 6th inning in relief of Karstens. Johnson pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a walk and a double. The double was by 3B Carlos Rivero, who lined into the right-center field gap. Rivero made it to second base, but the third throwing error of the game, on Marte’s throw in from the outfield, went wide. That sent Rivero to third base with no outs. Johnson got two easy infield ground outs, then walked pinch-hitter Brett Carroll. The inning ended with another ground out, but no runs scoring.
After going down in order in three consecutive innings, the Indians scored one more time in the 7th inning. Marte got an infield single with a bunt to the third base side of the mound. He is so speedy, that he was almost to first base before the Chiefs could get to the ball. Marte stole second base for the 14th time of the season, and when the throw from C Skelton got past the Chiefs’ second baseman for the Chiefs only error, Marte scrambled for third. D’Arnaud followed with a ground out, allowing Marte to score. That was all the Indians could get, though. They went down 1-2-3 in the final two innings.
Jose Diaz pitched the final two innings for the Tribe, and he gave up the final run of the game — a solo home run by Jim Negrych in the top of the 9th, to give the Chiefs a 7-5 score.
Starling Marte had three of the Indians’ 7 runs, and was just a double short of hitting for the cycle. He homered in the 1st, tripled in the 3rd, and singled in the 7th, and he scored each time he got a hit. Yamaico Navarro had two hits — a single and a double.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Two triples in the same inning (or three, if you count Syracuse’s Tyler Moore), by Starling Marte and Yamaico Navarro. Both came around to score, and Navarro picked up an RBI.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 9th, Erik Komatsu lifted a high fly ball into short right field. Jeff Larish was playing deep, so he had to charge in on the run. He got there just in time and made a nice catch to rob Komatsu of a hit.
The Indians and the Pirates have extended their player development contract for two more years. This means the two teams will be affiliated through the 2014 season.
The Indians’ loss, combined with a win for Toledo, a loss for Louisville, and a rain-out for Columbus, shakes up the International League Western Division standings. The Indians are still on top, 5.5 games ahead of both Columbus and Toledo. Toledo is officially in second place with a 26-29 record (.473) and Columbus in third with a 25-28 record (.472). Louisville is now 14.5 games behind the Indians.