Morton Does Better, Earns 3rd Win

Indianapolis Indians� 8,� Syracuse Chiefs� 5 (box)

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CF Alex Presley and RF Brandon Moss led the offense, as they posted 13 hits to give starter Charlie Morton plenty of run support.� Morton (photo) pitched a solid start and earned his 3rd win at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY tonight.

Morton’s night started out a little shaky, as he gave up a run in each of the first two innings.� He began the bottom of the 1st by walking LF Boomer Whiting.� A throwing error by 1B Jonathan Van Every put Whiting on second base, and a ground out moved Whiting to third.� Whiting scored on 1B Jason Botts’ double lined into center field.� In the next inning, 3B Pete Orr led off with a double.� The first out of the inning came on an unusual play.� RF Leonard Davis tried to drop down a bunt, but he was on the move, and had already stepped out of the batters’ box when his bat hit the ball, so he was called out.� Orr was thrown out trying to steal third base, which became important for the Indians, because former Indian C Carlos Maldonado homered next — without Orr on base, it was just a solo home run.

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IMG_4167The Indians had put a runner on base in each of the first two innings.� 2B Brian Friday led off the game with a double and C Luke Carlin walked in the 2nd inning.� But it was Charlie Morton himself who got the rally started in the 3rd inning.� Morton led off the inning with his first hit of the season, a little blooper over the head of the Chiefs’ first baseman.� After two outs, CF Alex Presley worked a walk.� That brought up the hot-hitting RF Brandon Moss, who continued his heat with a 2-run double.� It was Moss’ 16th hit with runners in scoring position and two outs this season, and it tied the score.

The Tribe batted around in the 4th inning, scoring 4 runs to take a 6-2 lead.� Jonathan Van Every began the inning with a blast over the right-center field wall to give the Indians the lead.� Luke Carlin and SS Argenis Diaz followed with back-to-back singles.� That brought up Charlie Morton in a good bunting situation.� But Morton’s bunt got to Chiefs’ pitcher Shairon Martis too quickly, and Martis was able to whirl and throw to third, forcing out the lead runner Carlin.� Brian Friday walked, loading the bases with one out.� 3B Akinori Iwamura was also walked (neither intentional), which forced in Diaz with the second run of the inning.� That chased Martis from the game, but Alex Presley greeted the new reliever with an RBI single into left field, bringing in Morton.� Brandon Moss bounced a grounder to first base, which allowed Friday to score, and the Indians were ahead 6-2.� Another ground out ended the inning.

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Moss Leads The Offense As Indians Win The Series

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Looking heavenward for help?

Indianapolis Indians �8, �Charlotte Knights �5 (box)

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The Indians posted 14 hits on their way to 8 runs tonight at Victory Field. �The win gives the Indians a win of this 4-game series (3 games to 1) and the season series (6 games to 2) over the Charlotte Knights. �RF�Brandon Moss led the offense by going 3-for-3 at the plate, with a double, an RBI, and a walk. �3B�Akinori Iwamura, CF�Alex Presley, 1B�Jonathan Van Every, and 2B�Brian Friday each had 2 hits, and Presley smacked his 4th home run in his 30 games with the Indians.

The game began with Tribe starter Brian Burres (photo) getting into and out of a jam. �Back-to-back singles by Knights’ CF Alejandro De Aza and 2B Luis Rodriguez, and a walk to RF Stefan Gartrell loaded the bases before Burres could record an out. �DH Josh Kroeger flied out to left field, but it was too short for De Aza to tag up and try to score from third base. �Then Burres got C Tyler Flowers to ground to Aki Iwamura, who started the around-the-horn double play, Iwamura to Brian Friday to Jonathan Van Every (5-4-3). �Big sigh of relief from the Indians’ dugout and the fans in the stands.

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(Photo: �Brian Friday at second base)

Burres retired the Knights in order in the next two innings. �Things got messy again in the top of the 4th. �Stefan Gartrell and Josh Kroeger walked on 9 pitches (one strike for Kroeger). �Burres again got Tyler Flowers to bounce into a double play, this time grounding to Argenis Diaz at shortstop, who started the 6-4-3 play (Diaz to Friday to Van Every). �That erased Kroeger, but put Gartrell on third base. �Gartrell scored when LF Buck Coats grounded up the middle for a single. �3B Brent Morel also reached base on a single to short, but Burres got a ground out to end the inning.

The Indians’ bats had been held to just a walk to Brandon Moss in the 2nd inning and a line drive single by C Luke Carlin in the 3rd inning. �Both Moss and Carlin tried to steal second base, but only Carlin was successful. �The Tribe batters got going in the 4th inning, with three straight hits. �Aki Iwamura and Alex Presley led off with back-to back singles, both liners into right field. �Moss picked up his first hit of the game with a rocket into right field for a double, scoring Iwamura and moving Presley to third base. �DH Jim Negrych grounded out to second, plating Presley and advancing Moss to third. �Jonathan Van Every also singled, and that brought in Moss from third, to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.

It was a brief lead. �With two outs in the top of the 4th, Luis Rodriguez hit his 5th home run in 5 days, and Stefan Gartrell followed with his 20th homer of the season — back-to-back homers, and the score was tied 3-3.

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McCutchen Has Another Tough Loss

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Home plate umpire Chris Ward and manger Frank Kremblas discuss an ejection.

Charlotte Knights� 3,� Indianapolis Indians� 2 (box)

IMG_4130Indians’ starter Daniel McCutchen (photo, making a pickoff throw to first base) suffered another tough loss this afternoon at Victory Field.� Like in his previous four starts, McCutchen gave up 3 runs (it was 2 runs on June 21st) but did not get enough run support to get the win.� Today McCutchen pitched 8 innings, his longest start of the season, and threw 101 pitches (67 strikes).� Other than a 3-inning rain-shortened start in May, this was McCutchen’s first start in which he did not strike out anyone.

McCutchen gave up just 6 hits in his 8 innings.� The first hit, to Knights’ lead-off batter CF Alejandro De Aza to begin the game, was erased when De Aza was thrown out by C Luke Carlin trying to steal second base.� After two of the hits, a double by RF Stefan Gartrell in the 4th and a single to De Aza in the 8th, the runner was left on base.� (McCutchen retired the side in order in 3 innings.)

That left just three hits that were a problem for McCutchen.� LF Josh Kroeger led off the top of the 2nd inning with a line drive single into center field.� He moved to second base when 3B Brent Morel grounded slowly to third base — 3B Jim Negrych charged the ball, but had only the one play at first base.� A balk by McCutchen put Kroeger on third base, but that turned out to not matter.� A moment later, 1B Jeremy Reed put a long fly ball well over the right field wall, landing on the patio beyond the right field corner.� Charlotte up, 2-0.

With one out in the 6th inning, 2B Luis Rodriguez deposited a home run just barely over the wall in the right field corner.� Rodriguez has now homered in each of the three games so far in this series between the Indians and the Knights, and in fact, it is his 4th home run in his last 4 games.

Those were all the hits the Knights needed.

IMG_4150Yesterday, Knight’s starter Carlos Torres, who leads the International League in walks with 56, walked 7 batters.� Second in the league in free passes is Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell — today’s starter.� Harrell came into the game having walked 53 batters so far in the season.� Unfortunately for the Indians, he left the game with exactly the same number of walks.

The Indians had at least one runner on base in 4 of Harrell’s 6 innings, with 6 hits.� Unfortunately, four of those base runners were eliminated on force plays, including two double plays.� DH Kevin Melillo led off the bottom of the 1st with a soft looper into left field.� He was removed when 2B Brian Friday bounced into a double play.� LF Brian Bixler beat out a bunt up the third base line for a hit in the 5th inning, but he was erased when SS Argenis Diaz bounced into a double play.� Diaz slipped a grounder past the Knights’ 2B Rodriguez for a single in the 3rd, but Melillo’s grounder to first base forced him out at second base (photo).� There wasn’t time for a throw to first base on that play.

The remaining force out was part of a rally in the 2nd inning, along with one of the Indians’ other hits.� The Knights had just taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning, and with one out, Jim Negrych lined a single into center field.� Luke Carlin followed with a grounder right to SS Rob Hudson.� Hudson tossed to second base to force out Negrych, but he airmailed the relay throw to first base, and Carlin was safe at first.� 1B Doug Bernier, lined a double down the right field line and into the corner.� Carlin raced around the bases, scoring from first base, to cut the Knights’ lead to 2-1.

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Another Big 6th Inning Powers Indians Over Knights

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Mound conference

Indianapolis Indians� 8,� Charlotte Knights� 5 (box)

IMG_4118For the second night in a row, the Indians had an exciting 6th inning that gave them the lead and the eventual win over the Charlotte Knights.� Tonight, five consective hits in the 6th, with RBI from LF Kevin Melillo, 2B Akinori Iwamura, and 1B Jeff Clement, powered the Indians to the win at Victory Field.

Jeremy Powell made the start for the Indians tonight — his first start in almost three weeks.� (He’s had three relief appearances in that interval.)� Powell breezed through the first two innings, allowing only a walk to SS Luis Rodriguez in the 1st.� He got into a little trouble in the 3rd inning, when he gave up two hits for a run.� 1B Jeremy Reed led off with a double to the base of the center field wall, and was moved over to third base by 2B Rob Hudson’s sacrifice bunt.� LF Alejandro De Aza slipped a line drive past 2B Aki Iwamura and into right-center field, scoring Reed from third base.� De Aza was also bunted along, putting him on second base, and he proceeded to steal third base.� Powell struck out CF Buck Coats to end the inning and leave De Aza on third.

Powell retired the Knights in order in the 4th inning, and nearly got out of the 5th inning unscathed.� With one out in the 5th, Jeremy Reed picked up his second hit of the game, a bunt that came to a stop in no-mans’-land in front of third base and to the side of the mound.� By the time 3B Jim Negrych got to the ball, he had no play at first.� Rob Hudson grounded slowly to short, fielded cleanly by SS Argenis Diaz. Diaz made the quick toss to Aki Iwamura at second base to force out Reed, and Iwamura fired on to Jeff Clement at first.� But Hudson just barely beat out the throw to first, so instead of getting out of the inning with a double play, Powell still had to work with two outs and a runner on first.� That brought up Alejandro De Aza, who drilled a triple down the right field line and into the corner for a triple, bringing in Hudson with the Knights’ second run.

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Late Inning Rallies OverShadow Van Every’s Blast

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Van Every (#24) was supposed to be the hero

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs� 12,� Indianapolis Indians� 8 (box)

IMG_4052Two 4-run innings by the Iron Pigs stole the thunder from pinch-hitter Jonathan Van Every (photo above), as the Iron Pigs defeated the Indians for the third straight game at Victory Field this afternoon.� Van Every had given the Indians the lead in the 7th inning with the Tribe’s first pinch-hit home run of the season, and the Indians were all set to have Van Every be the hero of the game… until disaster struck in the 8th and 9th.

The Indians took the early lead in the bottom of the 1st, when they jumped all over Iron Pigs’ starter Michael Cisco, who was making his AAA debut.� LF Kevin Melillo led off with a grounder that hit the side of the mound and kept going right up the middle and into center field.� 3B Aki Iwamura dribbled a little oops-swing (not a bunt) down the first base line, and was tagged out, but it was just as good as a sacrifice bunt, as Melillo moved to second base.� CF Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single through the hole and into right field, driving in Melillo (photo).� 1B Jeff Clement moved Presley to third with another grounder to the right side, just past the Iron Pigs’ first baseman, but both Presley and Clement were left on base when Cisco got a strikeout and a grounder to first to end the inning.� Cisco settled down after that first inning.� He faced just the minimum number of batters over the next three innings, striking out the side in the 2nd.� In the third, Melillo singled again, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.

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Brian Burres (photo) made the start for the Indians.� He retired the Iron Pigs in order in the 1st, and easily worked around a single to left-center field by 3B Neil Sellers in the 2nd inning.� He made a mistake in the 3rd, though, and that tied the game — a 2-1 pitch taken over the left field wall and onto the sidewalk behind the grass berm for a solo home run by former Indy Indian LF Chris Aguila.

The Iron Pigs broke the tie in the next inning.� Burres got the first out of the inning, then loaded the bases with the next three batters.� CF John Mayberry chopped a high bouncer off the plate and up and over the mound.� 2B Jim Negrych had to wait for the ball to drop out of the stratosphere before he could make the catch and throw to first, and by then, Mayberry had already crossed the bag.� Neil Sellers lined a single into right-center, moving Mayberry to third base, and 1B Paul Sellers walked to load ‘em up.� Burres struck out C Dane Sardinha, and needed only one more out… but SS Brian Bocock, who had the huge game-winning RBI triple two days ago, doubled down the right field line, driving in both Mayberry and Sellers, and the Iron Pigs had a 3-1 lead.

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