Indianpolis Indians 4, Rochester Red Wings 3
The Indianapolis Indians held tight to a slim one-run lead for the last 5 innings of tonight’s game at Frontier Field in Rochester, NY, as they salvaged one win to end this 4-game series against the Red Wings. Chris Leroux earned his 3rd win in his 5 starts for the Tribe (no losses), for a 2.10 ERA in those starts. The Indians’ firepower was provided by SS Brock Holt, whose 3-run homer drove in what would be the Indians’ winning run.
After having lost three straight games to the Red Wings, the Indians got busy early in this game. They threatened in the top of the 1st, when CF Alex Presley started the game with a single into right field and moved to second base on a wild pitch, then RF Jose Tabata walked. A strikeout and a grounder force out cut that rally short, but the Indians came right back at the Red Wings in the 2nd. 3B Dallas McPherson began the inning with a double into center field. A ground out to the mound, as good as a sacrifice bunt, moved McPherson to third base. C Tony Sanchez walked to give the Indians runners on the corners. 2B Chase d’Arnaud’s grounded to second, where Sanchez was forced out, but when Red Wings’ 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s throw to first went wide, Rochester lost the double play. That allowed McPherson to score, and put d’Arnaud on second base with the error. Presley followed with a walk, giving the Indians runners on first and second. Both Presley and d’Arnaud scored when SS Brock Holt smashed a home run over the right field wall, giving the Indians a 4-0 lead.
Chris Leroux pitched 5 innings and gave up a lead-off single in 4 of those 5 innings. In the 1st, Nishioka singled into left field, but Leroux erased him in a double play. The Red Wings began nibbling away at the Indians’ lead in the 2nd inning. LF Wilkin Ramirez singled, then advanced to second base on a sharp bouncer back to the mound. RF Evan Bigley’s RBI single into right field drove in Ramirez, cutting the Indians’ lead to 4-1.
1B Chris Parmalee took another bite of the Indians’ lead with his solo home run in the 3rd. (That was the only inning in which the Red Wings did not lead off with a hit.) Then in the 4th, CF Clete Thomas led off with a single, and stole second base. 3B Eduardo Escobar slipped a single into right field, just out of the reach of d’Arnaud, driving in Thomas from second base, to cut the Indians’ lead to 4-3. Leroux finished that inning with a pair of strikeouts.
The 5th inning again began with Leroux giving up a single, this time to Nishioka. A ground out moved Nishioka to second base, then Leroux walked both Parmalee (intentionally) and Ramirez (unintentionally), loading the bases with Red Wings. Leroux got Thomas to ground to third, where McPherson made the play and fired to the plate, for the force out on Nishioka. The bases were still loaded, but now with 2 outs. Leroux got out of the jam with a pop out to second base, leaving the bases loaded, but the Indians still on top.
Leroux gave up a total of 8 hits in his 5 innings, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. He threw 92 pitches (58 strikes). That is Leroux’s shortest start since his first start on July 26th, and also the most hits and runs he’s allowed in any of his starts — or any other of his appearances this season for that matter. Still, Leroux has a 2.26 ERA in his total of 19 appearances for the Indians, and a 1.50 ERA in his 5 starts.
While the Rochester sharks were biting at the Indians’ lead, the Tribe was not able to add any more runs to help themselves stay ahead. They did not score again after the 2nd inning, though the Indians put at least one runner on base in all but one of the remaining innings. Clement singled to lead off the 3rd, though he was erased in a double play. Holt singled in the 5th inning and doubled in the 7th, while McPherson singled in the 6th. 1B Matt Hague doubled and LF Brandon Boggs walked in the 8th, and Presley walked in the 9th, and of course, none of them came around to score.
Evan Meek relieved Chris Leroux to begin the 6th inning. Meek pitched 2 innings, and allowed only one hit, to Nishioka in the 7th. He also struck out 2 batters in each inning. Bryan Morris gave up a single to Escobar in the 8th, but also kept the Red Wings scoreless, and also struck out 2 batters. Tim Wood pitched the final inning, earning his 18th Save of the season. Wood gave up another single to Nishioka, who went 4-for-5 in the game (all singles), but erased him in a game-ending double play.
The Red Wings took a 3-1 win of this 4-game series. The Indians had won the series against the Indians at Victory Field in June, also 3 games to 1, so the two teams split the season series at 4 games each. The Columbus Clippers also won their game tonight, so the Indians remain at 9 games ahead of the Clippers in the International League Western Division. The Indians’ magic number has dropped to 9.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brock Holt’s first AAA home run, which came in the 2nd inning. He drove in 3 of the Indians’ 4 runs, including what would turn out to be the winning run. Holt has played in 10 games with the Indians since his promotion. He has been held hitless in two of those games, but in the rest, he has a total of 16 hits (3 doubles). That’s a .410 batting average (16-for-39), and 13-for-25 (.520) in his last six games. He has also had 5 straight multi-hit games.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: With the Indians’ clinging to the one-run lead, and with the Red Wings putting a runner on base in nearly every inning, every inning was tense and every inning-ending play or strikeout seemed nearly miraculous. The best was the last play of the game. With one out and Nishioka on first with his 4th hit of the game, Brian Dozier grounded to third. Dallas McPherson began an around-the-horn double play, 5-4-3 (McPherson to d’Arnaud to Hague), to end the final threat.
The Indians travel next to Syracuse where they will play a 4-game series against the Chiefs. The Indians won the 4-game series against the Chiefs that was played at Victory Field in June, by 3 games to 1.
After that series with the Chiefs, the Indians will return to Victory Field for a 6-game home stand, with 3 games against the Louisville Bats and 3 against the Columbus Clippers.