Homers Break Indians’ Losing Streak

Indianapolis Indians � 9, �Louisville Bats �7 (box)

IMG_3215The Indianapolis Indians and the Louisville Bats traded home runs at Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky tonight, but it was the Indians who held on for the win, ending their 8-game losing streak. �The Indians, who had not had a home run in almost a week, tonight had long bombs by RF Brandon Moss (photo), 3B Akinori Iwamura, and 1B Jeff Clement, while the Bats hit four home runs — two by 3B Juan Francisco, and one each by CF Gary Matthews Jr and lF Yonder Alonso.

The game began ominously for the Indians, as their first inning looked like many of the innings they’ve had during their losing streak. �LF Kevin Melillo led off with a walk and stole second base. �Aki Iwamura also walked, but 2B Jim Negrych bounced right to the Bats’ 2B Wilkin Castillo, who started a 2-6-3 double play. �Jeff Clement flied out to end the inning. �It was the 13th double play the Indians had batted into in the past 5 games. �The Tribe did fall victim to another double play, but not until the 9th inning, and not until after they had clearly broken their tough streak.

Things started looking up in the 2nd inning. �The Bats’ starting pitcher, Mark Serrano, had just been brought up from their A+ Lynchburg Hillcats’ affiliate to make a spot start because their scheduled starter Matt Maloney had been called up to Cincinnati to make a start. �Once they got going, the Indians were able to take advantage of the A+ level pitcher. �Brandon Moss led off the 2nd with a line drive into center field for a double, and CF Alex Presley beat out a bunt for an infield single, moving Moss over to third base. �A balk by Serrano let Moss score and put Presley on second base. �C Erik Kratz lined a single in to left field, which moved Presley to third base. � SS Argenis Diaz grounded back to the mound, and Serrano made the scoop then looked at Presley, who stopped in his tracks. �But instead of charging at Presley and probably catching him in a run-down, or whirling and throwing fast to second base to start a double play, Serrano hesitated. �He did throw to second, where he forced out Kratz, but that was the only out he got, and Presley scored on the play, and the Indians had a 2-0 lead.

IMG_3290With Jeremy Powell (photo) on the mound for the Indians, the Bats got the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning. �Juan Francisco started the Bats’ scoring with a solo home run over the wall in right field. �RF Danny Dorn followed the homer with a double into right field. �Erik Kratz tried to pick Dorn off second base, and the when his throw got past second base, Dorn moved to third on the throwing error. �That put him in position to score an unearned run on SS Chris Valaika’s sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Brandon Moss gave the Indians the lead again in the top of the 3rd. �With two outs, Jeff Clement singled through the hole into right field, and Moss blasted a 2-run homer over the wall in the right field corner. �Indians ahead, 4-2.

The Bats responded again in the bottom of the 3rd, also with two outs. �C Ryan Hanigan doubled to the base of the wall in right-center field, and he scored on Yonder Alonso’s single. �Juan Francisco tied the game again in the 4th inning with his second home run of the game, another solo shot.

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Tribe Drops Double Header; Eveland’s Debut

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Louisville Bats �6, �Indianapolis Indians �0 � — � Game 1 (box)

It was all Louisville in Game 1 as the Bats battered starter Dana Eveland (photo above) in his Indians debut. �Eveland, who had not pitched since before being designated for assignment about two weeks ago, did not make it out of the third inning, and was responsible for 5 of the 6 Bats’ runs, on 6 hits and a walk.

The Bats scored one run in the top of the 1st, on a single up the middle by SS Zack Cozart, a grounder by 1B Yonder Alonso to move Cozart to second, and an RBI double down the right field line by LF Todd Frazier. �Eveland began the second inning by giving up a single to RF Wladimir Balantien, then a 2-run homer by 2B Chris Valaika, to boost the Bats’ lead to 3-0. � The 3rd inning opened with another home run, by Alonso, a solo blast to straight-out center field, bouncing off the top of the wall and into the ground cover in front of the batter’s eye trees. �A double to the wall in the right-center field alley by Frazier followed the home run, then a groundout to second base, moving Frazier to third base.

That was all that manager Frank Kremblas wanted to see from Eveland. �He had thrown 53 pitches (34 strikes) in his 2.1 innings. �Brian Bass, who had pitched a 1-2-3 inning last night, came on in relief of Eveland. �The first batter Bass faced, Balentien, took a long fly ball to center field — not deep enough for another home run, but plenty deep enough for Frazier to tag up and score from third base. �That run was also charged to Eveland. �Bass hit C Ryan Hanigan with a pitch and walked Valaika (unintentionally intentional?), then struck out Bats’ starter Chad Reineke to end the inning.

The Bats kept going against Bass in the 4th. �With one out, Bass walked Cozart, who stole second base. �Alonso doubled into center field, bringing in Cozart from second base.

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Double Plays Doom Indians

Louisville Bats �2, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3780Four double plays turned by the Bats did in the Indians at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky tonight. �The Indians posted a total of 6 hits and also were given 3 walks and two more base runners due to Bats’ errors, but could not take advantage of any of that, and were unable to bring any of their runners around to score.

The game began hopefully for the Indians, when LF Kevin Melillo led off with a single into right field. �3B Akinori Iwamura (photo) lined a single into left field, moving Melillo to second base. �2B Jim Negrych tried to move both runners up with a sacrifice bunt, but Bats’ pitcher Jesus Delgado was fast enough in getting to the ball that he was able to fire to third base for the force out on Melillo. �That halted the Indians’ little bit of momentum, and the next two batters went down quickly on a strikeout (1B Jeff Clement) and a line out (RF Brandon Moss).

The Tribe put a runner on third base in the 2nd inning. �C Erik Kratz took a fly ball into center field for a big double, and he advanced to third on SS Argenis Diaz’s ground out. �That was as far as Kratz could get, though, as a fly out ended the inning. �The Indians went down in order in the 3rd.

IMG_3696Starter Brian Burres (photo) retired the first 7 batters he faced. �With one out in the bottom of the 3rd, Bats’ 2B Chris Valaika lined the first Bats’ hit of the game into left field for a single. �Delgado dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving Valaika to second base, and he scored from there when CF Gary Matthews doubled into left field, giving the Bats a 1-0 lead.

The double plays started coming in the 4th inning. �Jeff Clement led off the inning with a single slipped into left field, but he was immediately erased when Brandon Moss bounced right to 2B Valaika, who started a 4-6-3 double play. �Argenis Diaz reached base on a throwing error by Bats’ 3B Juan Francisco in the 5th. �He was off and running with the swing by�Brian Burres, and when the ball Burres hit landed right in the glove of LF Todd Frazier, Diaz had already rounded second base. � It was an easy play for the Bats to throw the ball back to first, well ahead of Diaz, to double him up.

With one out in the 6th, the Tribe got a little something going again. �Aki Iwamura worked a walk, and Jim Negrych singled through the right side of the infield and into right field. �With two runners on, the Indians looked like they might have a chance to tie the score. �But Jeff Clement bounced to second base, where Chris Valaika started another 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and the threat.

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8th Inning Rally Sinks Tribe; Morton Optioned To Indy

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Argenis Diaz had a busy night at shortstop

Columbus Clippers �4, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3868The Clippers rallied for 2 runs in the top of the 8th, and the Indians could not catch back up tonight at Victory Field. �The win gave Columbus a sweep of the 4-game series with the Indians, and dropped the Indians to 6 games behind the first-place Clippers in the International League Western Division.

Both teams posted a run in the first inning, and both got out of the other’s half of the inning with a double play started by the shortstop. �With one out in the top of the 1st, starter Hayden Penn had the next three batters reach base: �Clippers’ DH Josh Rodriguez singled into left field past the diving Tribe SS Argenis Diaz; SS Luis Valbuena tripled down the right field line, scoreing Rodriguez; a walk to RF Jordan Brown put runners on the corners.

IMG_3869Then 1B Wes Hodges bounced a grounder right to Diaz next to second base. �Diaz took three steps to touch second base and force out Brown, then fired over to 1B Brian Myrow to get Hodges and end the inning (photo sequence, with Diaz making the throw as 2B Jim Negrych looking on, as Brown slides in).

In the bottom of the inning, LF Kevin Melillo led off with a grounder to short. �SS Valbuena fielded the ball without any problem, then airmailed the ball over 1B Hodges’ head. �Melillo was credited with a hit, and Valbuena’s error sent him to second base. �3B Aki Iwamura walked on four pitches. �Melillo stole third base, as the throw to third from C Lou Marson nearly sailed into left field. �Only a long reach by former Indy Indian 3B Brian Bixler �kept the ball in the infield (photo below). 2B Jim Negrych bounced to short, where Valbuena made the same play Diaz did in the top of the inning — a few steps to reach the second base bag and force out Iwamura, then the throw to first to get out Negrych. �Brian Myrow flied out to end the inning.

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After the double play to get out of the 1st inning, Hayden Penn retired the next 7 batters he faced. �He made two of the plays himself, including fielding a high bouncer along the first base line. �As his momentum took him across the foul line, Penn whirled and tagged out the speedy Jose Constanza as he ran by.

The Clippers took the lead again in the top of the 4th. �With one out, Jordan Brown grounded through the hole and into left field. �Wes Hodges followed with a double into the right-center field alley, bringing Brown all the way around from first base to score, as RF Jonathan Van Every had to swipe at the ball twice before he could pick it up. �Penn finished the inning with two strikeouts.

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Kratz Is An All-Star; Presley Homers Twice

IMG_3267C Erik Kratz (photo) has been named to the International League All-Star Team for the second year in a row. �Last year, Kratz was the MVP of the All-Star game, which was held in Portland, Oregon. �Kratz, who was the starting catcher, walked, doubled, and hit the game-winning 2-run homer for the IL. �This year, Kratz is the back-up catcher for the IL squad. �He is currently hitting .306 for the Indians, with 17 doubles, a triple, 8 home runs, and 30 RBI. �This year’s All-Star Game, between the IL stars and the Pacific Coast League stars, will be held at Lehigh Valley, PA, which is just about an hour away from where Kratz grew up. �He’ll be able to have lots of family and friends in attendance.

Manager Frank Kremblas has also been named a coach for the International League All-Star Team. �This will be his first time as a coach or manager for an International League All-Star team, though he had much success as a manager in the Pacific Coast League before joining the Pirates’ organization.

Columbus Clippers �7, �Indianapolis Indians �3 (box)

IMG_3799For the second night in a row, the Clippers posted 5 runs in the 4th inning, and for the second night in a row, those 5 runs beat the Indians at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. �Tribe starter Mike Crotta did not make it to that 4th inning, leaving in the 3rd due to an injury to his left lower leg or ankle. �CF Alex Presley (photo) provided all of the Indians’ runs on two home run blasts.

Presley got the game off to a good start for the Indians. �LF Kevin Melillo opened the game with a double lined into right field. �Presley drove a long fly over the right field wall for his first home run, which was his second round-tripper since joining the Indians.

Mike Crotta had to work around runners on base in the first two innings. �SS Josh Rodriguez singled in the 1st and stole second base, but was left there. �1B Jordan Brown singled and RF Nick Weglarz walked to begin the 2nd, and they pulled off a double steal when Crotta’s attention was diverted, but Crotta got out of that jam by striking out the next two batters, C Lou Marson and CF Jose Constanza.

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