Indianapolis Indians 7, Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees 2
Yankees’ errors, rain, and random environmental factors gave the Indianapolis Indians the opportunity to come from behind for the win tonight at Frontier Field in Rochester, NY. Rain fell for most of the afternoon in Rochester, but it stopped in time for the game to begin at the scheduled time. The game went on without further trouble until the 8th inning, when the rain began again, forcing a 40-minute delay. While that cut short the evening for both starting pitchers, overall the Indians benefited from the situation.
The Yankees got going against Tribe starter Rick VandenHurk with a solo home run by RF Chris Dickerson to lead off the bottom of the 1st. They added another run in the 2nd, when VandenHurk gave up a lead-off single to 3B Brandon Laird. Laird moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on 1B Kosuke Fukudome’s double lined into left field. That was a 2-0 lead for the Yankees.
Tribe 1B Matt Hague and RF Brandon Boggs each singled in the first two innings, but both were left on base. Yankees’ starter Ramon Ortiz retired the Tribe in order over the next two innings. The Indians got onto the scoreboard in the 5th. LF Jeff Larish began the frame with a walk, and advanced to second base when Boggs lined a single into center field. C Jose Morales’ sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Larish scored on 2B Anderson Hernandez’s RBI lined a single into center field. That left the Indians with runners on the corners and one out. That was all the Indians would get, though, because SS Chase d’Arnaud bounced into a double play. The Indians had cut the Yankees’ lead to 2-1.
VandenHurk had to work out of some minor trouble in the 3rd and 4th innings. He gave up a walk to Dickerson to begin the inning. After a fly out, SS Eduardo Nunez grounded into a force out on Dickerson at second base, though Nunez got to first base safely. Nunez stole second base, but was left there when another grounder ended the inning. Laird singled to begin the 4th. Another grounder force out eliminated Laird at second, leaving C Francisco Cervelli at first base. Cervelli also stole second base, and Fukudome worked a walk. A strikeout ended the inning, with both runners on base.
After that, VandenHurk was solid. He retired the next 9 batters in order, including 3 strikeouts. Ortiz was also on target, putting the Tribe batters down in order in the 6th and 7th.
The rain started up again as the 8th inning began. Morales defied the rain with a line drive single into center field. He was replaced at first base by pinch-runner Eric Fryer. Hernandez dropped down a bunt, intended to be a sacrifice. When Ortiz scrambled to pick up the bunt, he slipped on the wet grass. Fryer made it to second base, and Hernandez was safe at first. At that point, with two on and one out, the rain became too hard for the game to continue.
Forty minutes later, the game was restarted, but neither Ortiz nor VandenHurk were able to come back to the mound again. Reliever Cory Wade came on for the Yankees, whose troubles continued. The first batter he faced was d’Arnaud dropped down a sacrifice bunt, which was fielded by 3B Laird, without slipping on the grass. That moved both runners into scoring position. CF Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Hague grounded to second base, which looked like a perfect double play ball. But 2B Corban Joseph bobbled the ball twice, and by the time he had a handle on it, he had no play. Hague was safe at first, and Fryer had scored to tie the game at 2-2. DH Jeff Clement lifted a fly ball to right field, which should have been a sacrifice fly — but RF Dickerson completely lost sight of the ball in the twilight and the stadium lights. It fell in for a double for Clement, with 2 RBI as Hernandez and Tabata scored. With runners on the corners and still only one out, 3B Yamaico Navarro popped up to short. SS Nunez had the same trouble as Dickerson did — he couldn’t see the ball in the lights. It fell in for an RBI single for Navarro, as Hague scored from third. Clement moved from second to third, and then scored moments later when Wade threw a wild pitch. The ball did not get far from C Cervelli, but any chance of a tag on Clement at the plate was erased when Wade failed to come off the mound to cover the plate. Wade walked Larish, then got Boggs to fly out, before he was relieved by Preston Claiborne. Claiborne struck out Fryer to end the inning, but the Indians had piled on 5 runs, only 3 of them earned, to take a 6-2 lead.
The Indians added one more run in the top of the 9th, also unearned. Hernandez reached base when his grounder slipped under the glove of 2B Joseph. Tabata lined a single into center, pushing Hernandez to third base. Hernandez scored on Hague’s sacrifice fly. Indians up, 7-2.
VandenHurk did not come back out after the rain delay. He had pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 errors, with 7 strikeouts. He had thrown 94 pitches (62 strikes) before the rain. He was replaced by Daniel McCutchen, who continued VandenHurk’s string of perfect innings. McCutchen retired all 6 batters he faced in the 8th and 9th innings, including 3 strikeouts. VandenHurk earned his 11th win of the season, for an 11-3 record.
The Indians posted 9 hits, with Brandon Boggs and Anderson Hernandez collecting 2 hits each. Jeff Clement had the Tribe’s only extra base hit, with his double.
The win gives the Indians a 3 games to 1 win of this series with the Yankees. The Indians also won three of the four games against the Yankees when they played at Victory Field in June, for a 6-2 season series. The Indians return to Victory Field on Monday for a brief homestand, a 4-game series against the Charlotte Knights.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Both Jeff Clement and Matt Hague drove in 2 runs each. Clement’s double in the 8th drove in Anderson Hernandez and Jose Tabata, with a bit of help from the Frontier Field lights. Hague reached on a fielding error later in the 8th, but since the double play can’t be assumed, even if the Yankees had made just one out, Eric Fryer would have scored. Hague also drove in the Indians’ final run with his sacrifice fly.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Five perfect innings of work by Rick VandenHurk and Daniel McCutchen. They retired the last 15 Yankees’ batters of the game in order. The Yankees managed only one hit after the 2nd inning.
The Columbus Clippers also won tonight, 1-0 over Norfolk. The Indians maintain a 10-game lead over the second place Clippers in the International League Western Division.
At almost midnight, the Rochester Red Wings and the Toledo Mud Hens are tied at 7-7 in the 18th inning. Rochester tied the game with a run in the top of the 9th, and there has been no scoring in the 9 innings since then. Rochester has posted 21 hits so far, and Toledo has 17 hits.