Indianapolis Indians 6, Buffalo Bisons 0
Jeff Locke earned his 8th win when he held the Buffalo Bisons scoreless for 7 innings at Victory Field tonight. Locke surrendered 3 walks tonight, which was an improvement from his last start, on July 23rd, when he gave up 7 walks in 5 innings. Locke gave up a total of 8 runs on 17 hits over 15 innings in his last three starts. Today, he scattered 4 hits over those 7 innings, and also struck out 4 Buffalo batters.
Locke needed some run support, of course. He got most of that in the 2nd inning, when the Indians batted around. The first four Tribe batters of the inning reached base safely. C Tony Sanchez began the rally with a double down the right field line. He scored when RF Brandon Boggs lined a single into right field. LF Jeff Larish also hit a line drive single into right, moving Boggs to third base. 2B Anderson Hernandez lined into left-center field, bringing in Boggs. A wild pitch moved both runners (Larish and Hernandez) into scoring position, so that they both scored when SS Chase d’Arnaud dropped a single into center field. D’Arnaud stole second easily — the Buffalo middle infielders forgot to cover second base. A wild pitch put d’Arnaud onto third base, and 3B Matt Hague walked, but a ground out ended the inning before they could score. Indians leading 4-0.
Boggs gave the Indians another run in the 3rd. With one out, Boggs doubled down the right field line, barely fair, and into the right field corner. He stole third base, then scored when Larish grounded out to first base. Sanchez added the Indians’ sixth run in the 5th inning with a no-doubt-about-it home run over the right field wall. Buffalo starter Jeurys Familia lasted only 3 innings and was responsible for the first 5 of the Indians’ runs. Jeff Stevens pitched the next 2.2 innings, and he gave up Sanchez’s homer.
Locke began his evening by allowing a single to Buffalo CF Fred Lewis. Moments later, he picked Lewis off first base, and Lewis was tagged out in a run down. Locke gave up a walk in each of the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings, but was able to work around them. He hit 3B Zach Lutz with a pitch in the 4th, and worked around that too.
The biggest threat Locke faced came in the 6th, when he gave up two more hits. With one out, LF Mike Baxter doubled down the right field line, and pinch-hitter Oswaldo Navarro (in for Lutz) blooped a single into short right-center field. With runners on the corners, Locke got RF Lucas Duda to ground to first, where 1B Jeff Clement started a 3-6-3 (Clement to d’Arnaud to Clement) double play, ending the inning. The only other hit Locke allowed was a two-out double by C Mike Nickeas in the 7th. A strikeout ended that inning. Locke threw 105 pitches (61 strikes) tonight.
Daniel McCutchen relieved Locke to begin the top of the 8th. McCutchen needed only 12 pitches to strike out two and get a fly out. Doug Slaten pitched the top of the 9th, and he also threw 12 pitches in the inning. Slaten allowed a lone single to pinch-hitter Valentino Pascucci. The game ended with a long fly ball down the right field line, fading foul. RF Boggs raced toward the stands just past the visitors’ bullpen, and made the catch right at the rail, leaning into the stands.
The Indians posted 10 hits tonight, with Chase d’Arnaud and Brandon Boggs collecting 3 hits each, and Tony Sanchez hitting a double and a homer. Gorkys Hernandez, just back from the Pirates, was in center field tonight. He walked in the 1st inning, then struck out in all four of his remaining trips to the plate.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: The booming home run by Tony Sanchez in the 5th inning. It was his 6th homer while with the Indians.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The double play in the 6th inning. With runners on first and second, Lucas Duda grounded to first, where Jeff Clement made the scoop a few steps in front of the bag. He fired to second base, where Chase d’Arnaud made the force out on the runner from first, then fired back to first. Clement had scrambled back to the first base bag in time to complete the double play. That play ended the inning, and potentially kept a run from scoring.
The Indians have played 5 games against the Bisons so far this season. The Tribe leads the season series four games to one.
The Indians remain 8 games ahead of the second place Columbus Clippers in the International League Western Division. The Louisville Bats beat the Toledo MudHens tonight, and now those two teams are tied for third place, both 25 games behind the Indians.
INF Brian Friday was traded to the Atlanta Braves today, with the Braves sending Christian Marrero to the Indians. It sounds like Marrero is going to be assigned to the Indians. Friday will probably be sent to Gwinnett.