Indianapolis Indians 8, Columbus Clippers 5
Tribe SS Chase d’Arnaud and 2B Brock Holt combined for 7 hits and scored 4 runs, while C Tony Sanchez and DH Dallas McPherson each homered in the Indians’ win over the Clippers at Victory Field tonight. Tribe starter Chris Leroux appreciated the run support, as he earned his 4th win of the season, for a 4-0 record. The win gives the Indians a 2 games to 1 win of this 3-game series. It also closes out the season series against the Clippers, which the Clippers won 11-10.
The two teams went back and forth, one taking a lead and the other catching up, in the first part of the game. The Indians got onto the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the 1st. D’Arnaud led off with a single that fell into short right-center, just out of reach of three Columbus fielders. He stole second base, then scored when CF Alex Presley rapped a double off the top of the wall in the right-center gap. Indians leading, 1-0.
Chris Leroux retired the first 6 Clippers in order, before giving up a lead-off double to SS Juan Diaz in the top of the 3rd. Diaz scorched the ball down the right field line, where it bounced off the angled doors to the equipment storage area, and caromed away from RF Brandon Boggs. One out later, Leroux hit Clippers’ RF Anthony Gallas, giving Columbus runners on the corners. CF Tim Fedroff grounded to second, where a quick toss from Holt to d’Arnaud gave the Indians the force out on Gallas. Fedroff was too fast down the first base line, though, and he beat the relay throw from d’Arnaud to 1B Matt Hague, allowing Diaz to score from third. That tied the score, 1-1.
It was a brief tie. D’Arnaud began the bottom of the 3rd by beating out the throw from Diaz on a grounder to short. Of course, d’Arnaud stole second base again. Holt followed with a line drive into left field, and d’Arnaud sped around to score. The throw back in from LF Vinny Rottino was cut off by 3B Gregorio Petit, and instead of trying to get d’Arnaud out at home (it wouldn’t have happened), Petit fired to second base, where 2B Cord Phelps was able to tag out Holt. Hague doubled down the left field line and McPherson walked in that inning too, but they were left on base. Indians ahead, 2-1.
The Clippers answered with 2 runs in the top of the 4th, which would turn out to be Leroux’s toughest inning. With one out, Rottino lined a single back up the middle (Leroux ducked to keep from getting his head torn off), then advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Leroux gave up back-to-back doubles to Diaz and former Indy Indian C Luke Carlin. Each double drove in a run, and the Clippers took a 3-2 lead.
Now it was the Indians’ turn to come back. C Tony Sanchez tied the score with a amazingly tremendous blast — he hit the roof of the Toyota promotion truck that is parked well up on the grass berm in center field, next to the pine trees that make up the batters’ eye. Two outs later, d’Arnaud and Holt teamed up to add another run. D’Arnaud doubled into the right-center gap, reaching second base standing. Holt slipped a single just under the glove of the diving 2B Phelps, plating d’Arnaud from second base. Indians again leading, 4-3.
At that point, the Indians began to pull away. Hague led off the bottom of the 5th by taking a 4-pitch walk. Dallas McPherson drove in Hague with his huge bomb — a 2-run homer going the other way over the left field wall. Boggs walked after the homer, and moved up to second base on a ground out. Moments later, 3B Anderson Hernandez smacked a grounder up the middle and into center field. Boggs was off and running on the pitch, so he scored easily from second base, giving the Indians 3 runs for the inning, and a 7-3 lead.
The Indians tacked on one more run in the 6th. Holt led off with a line drive single into left center. Columbus reliever Bryan Price tried to pick Holt off first base, but threw wide so that the ball skipped down to the mound in the visitor’s bullpen. Holt took second base on the throwing error. After two outs, McPherson sliced a grounder just barely inside the first base line, past the diving Columbus first baseman, and along the right field line into the corner. It was an RBI double for McPherson, scoring Holt. Boggs followed with a single and Sanchez worked a walk to load the bases, but LF Jeff Larish ended the inning with a fly out, leaving the bases full.
Leroux zipped through the 5th inning, 1-2-3, then began the 6th with a tapper back to the mound for the first out. He then hit Rottino with a pitch, and had 1B Jared Goedert reach base when Goedert’s ball came back to Leroux and bounced off his body, going toward the third base line. Leroux did not see which way the bounce went, so it took him a few seconds to locate the ball. He rushed the throw to first, throwing wide for an error. But Leroux got out of the jam by getting Diaz, who had already doubled twice, to bounced into a double play, ending the inning.
The top of the 7th also began with Leroux on the mound, but he was tiring. Carlin singled over 3B Anderson Hernandez’s head to lead off, then Gallas doubled down the left field line. With two runners in scoring position, Lerous struck out Fedroff, but while he was pitching to Petit, he threw a second wild pitch, allowing Carlin to score from third. Petit popped up, but then Leroux walked Phelps. That was enough for manager Dean Treanor, and Leroux’s evening was done. He had allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, over 6.2 innings. He had also struck out 7 batters. All that took him 97 pitches (62 strikes).
Daniel McCutchen relieved Leroux and ended the 7th inning with a strikeout, leaving two Clippers stranded. McCutchen worked around a lead-off double by Rottino in the 8th. He allowed the Clippers one run in the 9th, when Fedroff singled, took second base on Defensive Indifference, then scored on Phelps’ liner into center field. Phelps also moved to second on Defensive Indifference, but a fly out to Presley ended the game. McCutchen earned his 3rd Save of the season.
Each member of the Indian’s lineup reached base at least once. Larish walked, but he was the only one without at least one hit. D’Arnaud had four hits, including an infield single in the 7th, when Phelps managed to get to d’Arnaud’s grounder deep behind first base, but Phelps had trouble handling the ball, and by then d’Arnaud was already on first base. Brock Holt had 3 hits and 2 RBI. Alex Presley doubled in the 1st inning and singled through the hole into right field in the 8th, but did not score either time. Dallas McPherson doubled and homered, responsible for 3 RBI.
The Indians go on the road tomorrow to begin a series against the Toledo Mud Hens. The first three games of the home-and-home series will be played in Toledo, and then the two teams return to Victory Field for the final two games of the series (Friday and Saturday). The Tribe wraps up the regular season with the traditional two games in Louisville next Sunday and Monday.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Two big blasts for home runs. Dallas McPherson hit his 17th of the season, and his 4th since joining the Indians, with his 61st and 62nd RBI (11th and 12th with the Indians). Tony Sanchez hit his 8th of the season with the Indians, for his 24th RBI. He also hit the truck. Some fan is supposed to win a prize (?the truck?) if a player’s homer hits the truck, and in all these years of going to games, I’ve never seen anyone come even close — not even Brad Eldred.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The top of the 4th began with Russ Canzler smacking a sinking line drive into left field. Jeff Larish, recently off the DL, raced forward and made a forward dive with his glove hand outstretched. He got glove between the ball and the grass, for the out.
Yes, it’s moot for the Indians, but they are 14 games ahead of the Clippers in the IL West Division. The Clippers are in third place in the Wild Card race, but they are 4 games back, and their “un-magic” number for elimination is 5 games. The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are the first two in the race, as they are vying for second place in the IL North Division, about 6.5 games behind the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees.