Wilson And Relievers Make Indians’ 3 Early Runs Hold Up
Indianapolis Indians 3, Pawtucket Red Sox 1
The Indianapolis Indians scored 3 runs early in tonight’s game against the Pawtucket Red Sox at Victory Field. Starting pitcher Justin Wilson threw 5 scoreless innings, and relievers Daniel McCutchen and Doug Slaten took it the rest of the way, making those 3 runs prove to be enough for an Indians’ win. Wilson earned his 8th win of the season (for a n 8-4 record) and Slaten earned his 9th Save of the year.
Those 3 Indians’ runs came in the 2nd inning, when the first four Tribe batters reached base safely. 1B Matt Hague and DH Jeff Clement led off with back-to-back singles into right field, and 3B Yamaico Navarro worked a walk to load the bases. RF Brandon Boggs forced in the Indians’ first run (Hague) when he walked on four pitches. C Tony Sanchez produced the next run, when his sacrifice fly let Clement score from third. 2B Anderson Hernandez grounded to short for what should have been a double play. Pawtucket’s SS Jose Iglesias scooped up the ball and took a couple of steps to second base, forcing out Boggs, then fired over to first base — where Hernandez reached the bag just as the ball did, but 1B Lars Anderson dropped the ball. That meant that Hernandez was safe, and so Navarro, running from third base, was safe as he crossed the plate. A ground out ended the inning, with the Indians leading 3-0.
The Indians posted 6 more hits over the rest of the game, but did not score again. LF Starling Marte doubled in the 3rd and Hague singled, to give the Indians runners on the corners, but they did not score. Marte and Hague both singled in the 5th, and again the Tribe had runners on the corners, but with the same result. 3B Yamaico Navarro led off the 6th with a single, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
The Tribe’s biggest threat after the third inning came in the bottom of the 8th. With two outs, Clement singled into left field, and was replaced by pinch-runner Brian Friday. Navarro drew a walk, and Boggs was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That inning ended when Sanchez grounded to third, resulting in a force out at second base.
Meanwhile, Wilson held the PawSox in check. He gave up a lone single in each of the first three innings, and worked around all of them. The single in the 3rd was followed by a walk, but two strikeouts and a ground out got him out of that jam. He retired the PawSox in order in the 4th, then gave up back-to-back walks to begin the 8th. No problem for Wilson. He just got Pawtucket’s CF Ryan Kalish to bounce to second base, where Hernandez flipped to SS Chase d’Arnaud for the force out at second base. Kalish was quick down the first base line, and d’Arnaud was knocked off balance by the runner sliding under him, so there was no play at first base. Again, no problem for Wilson. He got Iglesias to bounce another grounder to Hernandez. This time Hernandez had to go to his left and deep, where he made an awkward but accurate throw to d’Arnaud, who this time had enough time to fire on to Hague at first base for the double play.
Although Wilson had made 98 pitches by the end of the 5th inning, he came back out to begin the top of the 6th. He gave up back-to-back singles to C Ryan Lavarnway and 1B Lars Anderson, and that was enough for manager Dean Treanor. Wilson threw a total of 102 pitches (67 strikes), and had allowed 5 hits in those 5+ innings, with 3 walks and 5 strike outs. Overall, this was a much better start than his last two outings, and he eventually got the win.
Daniel McCutchen came on in relief of Wilson, entering with runners on first and second and no outs. Now it was time for McCutchen to say “no problem”. He retired the next three batters, on a line out, a strike out, and a fly out, leaving those two base runners stranded. McCutchen also put the PawSox down in order in the 7th.
McCutchen got into some trouble of his own in the top of the 8th, and that’s when Pawtucket scored their only run. With one out, Lavarnway lined a single just over the reach of the leaping d’Arnaud. Anderson ripped a low line drive into right field, moving Lavarnway to third base. McCutchen got the second out, then RF JC Linares grounded to second base. Hernandez was again thinking double play, but this time his throw to d’Arnaud at second base was not in time to make the out on Anderson, and there was no throw on to first. That allowed Lavarnway to score from third base, cutting the Indians’ lead to 3-1.
Doug Slater came on to pitch the 9th inning. He was closing tonight because the Indians’ usual closer Tim Wood had worked in the last three games and needed a break. Slater was more than up to the task. He retired three PawSox on three straight fly outs, earning his Save.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Five hits between Starling Marte and Matt Hague. Hague singled three times, started the 2nd inning rally, and came around to score the first of the Indians’ runs. Marte singled and doubled, and the two outs he made were long hits out to left field, both caught at the base of the left field wall. After the game, Hague described his third hit, which sailed down the right field line, landing in fair territory by about 10 inches: “It was a fastball in. I was kind of looking out there, just trying to get the bat to it. It kind of rushed me a little, and I blooped it in there.”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The 5th inning double play, started by Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez had to range far to his left and deep to get to the board, then make a throw from an awkward position. Chase d’Arnaud made a fast turn, to get the ball to Matt Hague in time to complete the double play.
Shortly after the news about the Pirates acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, there was a flurry of activity in the Indians’ dugout. Several players were going up to Rudy Owens and hugging him, and seemed to be saying goodbye. Sure enough, a few innings later, when Owens had disappeared from the dugout, it was announced that Owens had been included in the trade and was on his way to Texas. “It’s been a fun couple of years with him,” said Matt Hague, who has been teammates with Owens going all the way back to A-level Hickory. “He keeps the clubhouse nice and fun. I’ve played with him for a while, and he’s a good guy to have on the team. I wish him the best.”