Corey Wimberly got back to first base safely this time… but was picked off moments later.
Gwinnett Braves 4, Indianapolis Indians 0
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Another pitching duel erupted at Victory Field tonight, as the Indianapolis Indians and the Gwinnett Braves battled it out over a scoreless tie for 8 innings. The loss dropped the Indians to below the .500 mark as they finish this home stand. The Indians and the Braves split this 4 game series, two games each.
Tribe starter Garrett Olson pitched 5 hitless and scoreless innings but did not figure into the decision. He allowed one base runner over those innings. Braves SS Julio Lugo worked the count full then took a walk in the top of the 1st. After Olson struck out rehabbing Atlanta Brave outfielder Jason Heyward (photo, not looking too pleased), he got 1B Mauro Gomez to ground to short to force out Julio at second base. Olson retired the next 12 batters in order, including 4 more strikeouts. He got some help from his fielders. In the 5th inning, 3B Dan Nelson took a long fly ball into deep right field. Alex Presley, playing right field for the second day in a row, headed back for the wall. He turned one way, then the other, and finally made the over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track for the second out of the inning. That play was followed by a nice play by SS Brian Friday on a sharp grounder off the bat of 2B Ed Lucas. Friday went to his right for a back-hand catch, then fired over to 1B Matt Hague to end the inning.
Olson was relieved by Chris Leroux after 5 innings. Olson was on a 50 pitch count for his last start on June 8th — due to working in relief in the earlier part of the season, and also having been on the Disabled List. So, even though he was pitching a no-hitter, Olson’s outing was cut short after 66 pitches (44 strikes). Leroux continued the no-hitter with a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th.
Corey Wimberly was the only Tribe batter to reach third base tonight.
Gwinnett Braves 2, Indianapolis Indians 0
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Starter Brad Lincoln pitched 6 strong innings in his first time out after missing his last start, but he didn’t get any run support, and suffered his 6th loss of the season, as the Indianapolis Indians lost to the Gwinnett Braves at Victory Field tonight. The Tribe batters recorded 6 hits, with two by Corey Wimberly, but could not push any of their base runners across the plate.
The Indians had some unusual situations in their defense and also in their lineup tonight. Clearly the injuries affecting the Pirates have the major league club looking more closely at what players in Indianapolis are doing. With Josh Harrison still out due to an oblique muscle strain, the Pirates are looking for another infielder who can play third base. Tonight, Chase d’Arnaud played third base for the first time this year, and the first time since a few games back at State College in 2008. Wimberly played second base for the first time this season. The Pirates have been talking about bringing up Alex Presley next week, when they begin interleague play again. Tonight Presley played right field for the first time this season. He did play some right field during spring training, and also last season when he had his September call-up to the Pirates. Andrew Lambo moved over to left field tonight.
The other change was that Brad Lincoln batted 8th in the order (photo above), with Wimberly taking the 9th spot. Manager Dean Treanor wanted to give Wimberly the chance of being in a position to bunt, and he felt that the 9th spot in the order would be best for that.
Lincoln had to face Atlanta Braves’ rehabbing outfielder Jason Heyward (photo), and it was Heyward who got the Braves’ scoring started in the top of the 1st. Lincoln retired the first two batters, LF Jose Constanza and SS Julio Lugo, both of whom had a hit-fest last night. Heyward ripped a line drive into the left field corner for a double. 1B Mauro Gomez followed with a grounder back up the middle, just out of reach of SS Brian Friday’s dive, driving in Heyward. A fly out left Gomez on first, but the Braves had a 1-0 lead.
Lincoln worked around one runner on base in three of the next four innings. He walked CF Jeff Fiorentino to begin the 2nd inning. 2B Ed Lucas rocketed a liner right back at Lincoln, whose glove hand came up almost in self defense. The ball almost tore the glove off his hand, but stuck in the web for a line out. Lincoln tossed to first, easily doubling off Fiorentino. He retired the side in the 3rd, then gave up a double to Gomez in the 4th. Gomez hit a rising line drive that missed being a home run by inches. Instead, it caromed off the top of the right field fence at the edge of the grass berm and back toward Presley, who got it back to the infield quickly, holding Gomez to two bases. Two other great defensive plays kept more Braves from reaching base in the 4th. Heyward lifted a high foul pop to the left side of the field, which d’Arnaud chased down and caught with a slide on the grass in front of the Indians’ dugout. 3B Wilkin Castillo followed Gomez’s double with a grounder to the middle of the infield. Wimberly went to his right and made a diving stop, keeping the ball from going into the outfield. His foot slipped as he was getting up, but Wimberly was still able to fire over to first base in time for the out on Castillo. Gomez went to third on the play, but Wimberly had saved a run.
Kris Watts’ first AAA hit is a triple, as he slides in ahead of the tag.
Indianapolis Indians 4, Gwinnett Braves 3
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The Indianapolis Indians took a step above the .500 level today, with a win over the Gwinnett Braves this afternoon at Victory Field. Starter Justin Wilson made his 13th start of the season and earned his 8th win, but had to work around a lot of base runners to do it. 3B Andy Marte, just back in the line-up after a hamstring injury, went 3-for-3 at the plate, and sparked the Tribe’s key rally in the 6th inning.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. With two outs, CF Alex Presley (photo), who leads the International League in hits, got hit #83 on a line drive into short center field. He stole second base, then a walk to LF John Bowker gave the Indians runners on first and second bases. 1B Matt Hague grounded to short, where Braves’ SS Julio Lugo could not get the ball out of his glove fast enough to throw anyone out. That loaded the bases for Marte, who took a 3-1 pitch into right field for a single. Presley and Bowker scored easily, and as RF Stefan Gartrell made the throw in to the plate, Hague also rounded third and was sent home. Hague slid in to the plate, but by then C Wilkin Castillo had the ball and was planted in front of the plate — Hague was tagged out at home to end the inning. Indians up, 2-0.
With one out in the 2nd inning, the newest member of the Tribe, C Kris Watts, who made his first AAA start today, also picked up his first AAA hit — a triple into right field. Gartrell made a dive for the ball, but missed, and the ball bounced all the way to the right field wall, as Watts raced around second and slid into third base (photo above). A walk to SS Chase d’Arnaud gave the Indians runners on the corners, but a ground out at second base ended the inning. The Tribe had only one hit over the next two innings, and that was Marte’s second hit of the game, a double to center field to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Braves’ CF Jose Constanza ran all the way back to the wall, where he made a leap for a catch. But the catch threw him into the outfield wall, and that jarred the ball out of his glove. The umpires ruled that it was not a catch, and Marte reached second base. He was stranded there, though, as Braves’ starter Erik Cordier retired the next three batters on fly outs.
Shortstop Chase d’Arnaud has to leave the second base bag to keep this throw from C Eric Fryer from going into center field, as Braves’ Jose Constanza stole second base in the first inning.
Indianapolis Indians 1, Gwinnett Braves 0
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For the second time in less than a week, the Indians battled through a pitching duel to win by a score of 1-0. On Wednesday in Buffalo, the Tribe scored one run in the top of the 8th to beat the Bison. Today, the Indians won the opening game of a 4-game series with the Gwinnett Braves at Victory Field by the same score.
Brian Burres (photo, getting a turn at the plate) made the start for the Indians, and again he could not get the win while pitching at Victory Field. It was not through any fault of his own — he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits, with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. But the Tribe batters could not come through with any runs for him in the early innings of the game.
Burres had to work out of a jam in the top of the 1st. Braves’ CF Jose Constanza lined the first pitch of the game into right field for a single. Burres struck out SS Julio Lugo, but Constanza stole second base on strike three. The throw from C Eric Fryer was wide of the bag at second, and Constanza slid in easily. Constanza also stole third base, sliding in just a split second ahead of the tag by 3B Matt Hague. Burres walked RF Stefan Gartrell to put Braves on the corners. 1B Mauro Gomez lifted a fly ball to center field, and it looked like it was going to fall in for a single, so Constanza started down the third base line to the plate. But at the last second, CF Gorkys Hernandez charged in to make the running catch at knee-level. Constanza had to scramble back to third, and by then it was too late to tag up and try again to head for home. That was a big break for Burres and the Indians. The next batter, 2B Ed Lucas hit the first pitch into center field, an easier catch for Hernandez, to end the inning.
Burres retired the Braves in order in the next two innings. He began the 4th inning by giving up a single to Gartrell, on a line drive that looped over Hague’s head and into left field. After a strikeout by Gomez and another great running catch by Hernandez on a fly ball by Lucas, Burres got LF Wilkin Ramirez to ground to third base. Hague’s throw to 2B Brian Friday was wide to the outfield side of the bag, and Friday had to reach and fell to the ground, but still kept the ball in his glove and his toe on the bag, for the inning-ending force out.
Buffalo Bison 15, Indianapolis Indians 2
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It was getting ugly by the third inning at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo, NY this morning, and unfortunately for the Indians, things never got better. The Bison scored 5 runs in the 3rd inning and 6 runs in the 8th, as they stomped on the Tribe. The Indians and the Bison each posted 11 hits, but the Bison were handed 9 walks and took advantage of an error as they got some revenge for being shut out yesterday.
Starter Sean Gallagher (photo) retired the Bison in order in the bottom of the 1st, but Buffalo got going in the 2nd. Singles by RF Fernando Martinez and CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis put runners on first and second, then 2B Luis Hernandez bounced a ground-rule double over the center field wall. That scored Martinez. A ground out by former Indy Indian C Raul Chavez brought in Nieuwenhuis from third base, for a 2-0 lead.
Things started getting ugly in the bottom of the 3rd. Another former Indy Indian, SS Luis Figueroa, led off with a walk. 3B Michael Fisher singled and LF Lucas Duda walked, loading the bases. Martinez grounded to first, but when 1B John Bowker tossed to Gallagher, who was covering the bag, Gallagher could not make the catch. The error was charged to Bowker, and it allowed Figueroa and Fisher to score. With runners on the corners, 1B Valentino Pascucci homered over the left field wall, to lift the lead to 7-0.
2B Brian Friday and CF Alex Presley had both singled for the Tribe in the 1st inning, but Friday was caught stealing and Presley was left on base. The Indians loaded the bases in the 3rd. Gallagher started by looping a single into left field. SS Chase d’Arnaud grounded to deep short, where his counterpart Luis Figueroa made a dive, but missed (and broke his belt in the process). A walk to Friday loaded the bases with just one out. But Raul Chavez made a perfect throw to second base to pick off d’Arnaud, and that broke the Indians’ rhythm. A ground out ended the inning, without the Tribe scoring a run. The Tribe did get onto the scoreboard in the 4th. Bowker led off with a double into right field. He advanced to third base on a tag-up when 1B Matt Hague flied out, then RF Miles Durham brought in Bowker with a sacrifice fly. Bison still way ahead, 7-1.