Indians Earn Double Header Split On Navarro’s Clutch Hit
Game 1: Columbus Clippers 4, Indianapolis Indians 1
Game 2: Indianapolis Indians 2, Columbus Clippers 1
The Indianapolis Indians and the Columbus Clippers split a double header at Victory Field tonight, maintaining their relationship in the International League Western Division standings. The Clippers stepped ahead to cut the Indians’ lead to 10 games after the first game, but it was only temporary. The Indians came back to win the night-cap, and they were back to their 11-game lead over the second-place Clippers.
Jeff Locke got the start for the Indians in Game 1. He buzzed through the 1st inning, striking out two Clippers. The 2nd inning brought Locke a little bit of trouble, in the form of two singles, by 1B Matt LaPorta and 2B Cord Phelps. Locke took care of them with two fly outs to end the inning. CF Ezequiel Carrera and SS Jason Donald also hit back-to-back singles with one out in the 3rd. A grounder to short with the runners going moved both runners into scoring position, but gave Locke the second out. Locke walked LaPorta (unintentionally) to load the bases, then left all three runners stranded with a fly out.
The Indians began their at-bats by being dominated by Columbus starter Corey Kubler. In the first four innings, the Tribe had only one base runner — 1B Jeff Larish walked in the 3rd inning, and was left on base. Kubler struck out 4 Indians’ batters in those 4 innings.
Locke could not work his way out of trouble in the 4th. With one out, 3B Jared Goedert lifted a bloopy single over the leaping SS Chase d’Arnaud, who would have needed a ladder in his back pocket to reach that ball. C Matt Pagnozzi followed with a long fly ball over the left field wall, aided by the wind blowing out to left field, for a 2-run home run.
The Clippers added two unearned runs in the top of the 5th. With Locke still on the mound, DH Vinny Rottino led off with a liner into left field. As Tribe LF Brandon Boggs went to catch the ball, he had the ball bounce off his glove, forcing him to chase it down. That allowed Rottino to keep running, reaching second base on a single and a fielding error. Locke got the next two batters to fly out , but Phelps doubled down the left field line, as the ball skipped under 3B Yamaico Navarro’s glove. Phelps scored when Chase d’Arnaud had 3B Jared Goedert’s ground bounce off either his glove or his foot, for the second Tribe error of the inning. Goedert was picked off first base and caught stealing to end the inning, but Columbus was leading 4-0.
The Indians scored their only run in the bottom of the 5th. Brandon Boggs led off by fouling off a series of pitches, then slamming a double off the wall in right-center field. C Tony Sanchez nearly took off Kluber’s head with a line drive ripped right back up the middle and into center field, which also moved Boggs to third base. DH Jose Morales picked up the Indians’ only RBI of the game, with a sacrifice fly, plating Boggs from third.
The Tribe threatened again in the 6th, when CF Starling Marte singled and Yamaico Navarro walked. A fielder’s choice forced out Navarro at second but left Boggs safely at first, and also allowed Marte to move to third base. But with runners on the corners, Tony Sanchez struck out, ending the threat.
Duke Welker relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. Locke had taken 96 pitches (60 strikes) to get through his 5 innings. He allowed 4 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, with 3 strikeouts. Welker walked one batter in the 6th, but kept the Clippers from scoring. He also struck out one batter. Chris Leroux, who just joined the Tribe after being outrighted from the Pirates, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 7th, also with one strikeout. The Indians went down in order in the bottom of the 7th, to end the game.
The Indians were out-hit 8-3. Brandon Boggs, Starling Marte, and Tony Sanchez were the only Indians to have a hit.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brandon Boggs’ double off the wall in right-center field, which began the Tribe’s rally in the 5th inning. He came around to score the Indians’ only run.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 4th, with two runs in and one out, RF Trevor Crowe grounded wide of first base. 1B Jeff Larish had to range far to his right to stop the ball, as Jeff Locke hustled over to first base to cover. With his momentum taking him away from first base, Larish turned and threw to Locke, who was still 12 – 15 feet away from first base. Larish made the catch on the fly, then had to race Crowe to first base. Larish won the race by less than half a step for the out.
The nightcap went to the Indians, in 8 innings, “extra” for a double-header game. This game began with four scoreless frames. Kris Johnson made the spot start for the Indians. Johnson pitched 4 scoreless inning, scattering 3 hits, no walks, with 3 strikeouts. He threw just 49 pitches (31 strikes). Two of the hits came back-to-back in the 2nd inning. 1B Russ Canzler doubled off the center field wall, with CF Starling Marte alertly playing the carom off the wall when he saw that the ball was going to be over his head. 3B Jared Goedert lined a single into right field, and the Clippers had runners on the corners with one out. Johnson just shrugged and struck out the next two batters, leaving the two Clippers stranded. Johnson also gave up a double to DH Matt LaPorta in the 4th, but a ground out and a strikeout left LaPorta standing there also.
Walks gave the Indians three of their four base runners in the first four innings. The Tribe’s first base runner was LF Brandon Boggs, whose blooper dropped in among three Clippers’ fielders behind second base. DH Tony Sanchez walked after the double, but both were left on base. In the 4th, both 1B Yamaico Navarro and Sanchez worked walks, and again both were left standing there.
Both teams scored in the 5th inning. Bryan Morris took over on the mound for the Indians. With two outs, 2B Ryan Rohlinger lined a single into center field. Rohlinger moved to second base when Morris balked on a pick-off attempt. That put him into scoring position for CF Ezequiel Carrera, who bounced a double off the top edge of the left field scoreboard. Boggs had to scramble after the ball, allowing Rohlinger to score and Carrera to slide into second base. Columbus ahead, 1-0.
The Indians tied it up in the bottom of the inning. C Eric Fryer led off with a walk. A pick-off throw from Columbus pitcher Dan Wheeler went wide of first and over toward the visitors’ bullpen, allowing Fryer to advance to second base. A passed ball by C Vinny Rottino moved Fryer to third base. He scored on Jose Tabata’s RBI single through the right side of a drawn-in infield, tying the score.
Morris retired the Clippers in order in the 6th, and Tim Wood did the same in the 7th. The Indians also went down in order in the 6th, and managed a lone single by Eric Fryer in the 7th, sending the game into “extras”. Tim Wood gave up a single to Carrera with one out in the 8th. Carrera stole second base, then SS Gregorio Petit popped up for the second out. That brought up former Indy Indian C Luke Carlin, who had taken over behind the plate for Rottino. The Indians elected to intentionally walk Carlin, in order to face LaPorta. This made some fans scratch their heads, since LaPorta has been hitting very well lately, including in the AAA All-Star Game (.304 batting average). LaPorta ran the count full, including a long, long fly ball down the foul line — which curled into foul territory at the very last second. On the next pitch, Wood blew one by LaPorta, striking him out to end the inning with the winning run on second base.
Jose Tabata led off the bottom of the 8th by working a walk. Chase d’Arnaud dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving Tabata into scoring position. Starling Marte was intentionally walked, which was more understandable, since he has been doing well at the plate recently. That brought up Yamaico Navarro, who appears to be much less of a threat than the hot prospect Marte. Navarro showed the Clippers the error in their thinking — he ripped a single down the right field line, easily bringing in Tabata from second base with the winning run.
The Indians totalled just 7 hits all night long, while the Clippers posted 15 hits. There were just 4 Indians’ hits in the night-cap, and none of them were for extra bases. Tim Wood earned his 4th win of the season, since he was the pitcher of record when the Indians scored the winning run.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Yamaico Navarro’s clutch walk-off single, which drove in Jose Tabata from second base with the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 4th, with Matt LaPorta on second base and one out, Russ Canzler grounded to a point about mid-way between third base and short stop. 3B Anderson Hernandez raced in and toward short to make the play. With the ball in his hand, he glared toward second base, keeping LaPorta right there on second. Then Hernandez fired over to first base in time for the out on Canzler. Nicely executed.
Reliever Doug Slaten has also joined the Indians’ bullpen today, after being outrighted from the Pirates.
Jeff Clement was not with the team. He’s with his family, for the birth of another baby. He’s on the Temporary Inactive list, opening up a roster space.
C Miguel Perez was placed on the 7-day Disabled List, to open up another roster spot.
Starling Marte’s single in the first game extended his hitting streak to 15 games. However, the streak was halted in the second game. After a fly out and two strikeouts, the extra innings gave Marte one more trip to the plate — but the Clippers intentionally walked him, and he did not get another chance for a hit.
Brandon Boggs had a hit in each game, so his hitting streak has grown to 10 games. He also has a 22-game on-base streak.