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.
Indianapolis Indians 12, Buffalo Bison 6
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The Indians and the Bison held a hit-fest at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo, NY tonight, with the two teams combining for 30 hits (16 for the Indians and 14 for the Bison). The Tribe made the better use of their hits, though, and with three 3-run innings, the Tribe came out on top. SS Chase d’Arnaud went 4-for-5 with a homer and 5 RBI, and RF Miles Durham went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Rudy Owens (photo) earned his 6th win of the season, with 3 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks.
The Tribe got onto the scoreboard first, with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd innning. With one out, C Eric Fryer walked, then after a second out, Owens also walked. That brought up d’Arnaud, who rocketed a rising line drive over the right-center field wall to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Owens got through the first inning allowing only a double by 1B Valentino Pascucci. He gave the Bison back a run in the 2nd inning. A single by 3B Zach Lutz, a walk to LF Jason Botts, and a single by C Mike Nickeas loaded the bases. CF Jesus Feliciano brought in Lutz with a sacrifice fly, to cut the Indians’ lead to 3-1. A sacrifice bunt by Buffalo starter Mark Cohoon was fielded by Owens, but the throw to first pulled 2B Brian Friday, who was covering, off the bag. Cohoon was credited with a sacrifice, and Owens was charged with an error. But with the bases loaded again, Owens got 2B Michael Fisher to fly out to left field. LF Alex Presley made the catch, then fired the ball in to the plate, where Fryer made the catch and held on to tag out Botts as he tried to tag up and score. The outfield assist saved at least one run, and possibly more, if the inning had continued. Durham also made an outfield assist in the 3rd inning. SS Luis Hernandez walked, then Pascucci lined into right field. Hernandez tried to go from first to third on the play, but Durham fired in to third base, where 3B Matt Hague mad the tag out.