The Minor League portion of the Grapefruit League began today, and the Indianapolis Indians kicked off their spring training games with a win. �Visiting in Clearwater, Florida, the Indians beat the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia) by a score of 3-0.
CF Gorkys Hernandez opened the game with a triple, and SS Brian Friday followed with a 2-run home run to give the Indians a 2-0 lead before the Iron Pigs could even catch their breaths. �The Tribe scored again in the 4th inning, when C Tony Sanchez led off with a double, and 1B Matt Hague brought him in with an RBI single.
On the mound, five Indians’ pitchers combined to shut out the Iron Pigs and hold them to 3 hits. �Starter Virgil Vasquez pitched 4 innings and allowed 2 hits, while striking out 4 batters. �Vasquez earned the win, and reliever Jeff Sues earned the save with a scoreless inning, allowing 2 walks.
Meanwhile, back in Bradenton, the Pirates lost to the Tigers, 6 – 3. � (box)
The Pirates scored in the second inning, when 1B Bobby Crosby led off with a walk, then scored on RF Ryan Church’s double. �3B Andy LaRoche lined out, but it was deep enough to let Church move up to third base. �He scored when Tigers’ starter Nate Robertson committed a balk. �In the 7th, with one out, 3B Pedro Alvarez doubled into center field. �LF Jose Tabata singled, and CF John Raynor plated Alvarez with a single off the glove of the Tigers’ shortstop.
Starter Kevin Hart did not help himself in his bid to join the Pirates’ starting rotation. �He pitched to 12 batters over 1.2 innings, walked 6 of them, hit one of them, and gave up a hit. �He was lucky to escape allowing only one run. �Jeff Karstens got a ground out to finish the 2nd inning, then pitched a 1-2-3 third inning. �DJ Carrasco and Brendan Donnelly each gave up 2 runs in one inning of work, and Vinnie Chulk gave up another run in his inning. �Steven Jackson allowed 2 hits but no runs; Evan Meek and Anthony Claggett both retired the side in order in one inning of work.
Also getting into the game: �2B Gift Ngoepe came in to play second base and did fine; he had a foul pop out in his only trip to the plate. �PH/DH Neil Walker had a line-drive single to lead off the 8th inning, but did not score. �C Erik Kratz went 0-for-1 with a walk. �1B Steve Pearce, RF Jon Van Every, and SS Doug Bernier also got into the game.