Indianapolis Indians 5, Toledo Mud Hens 1
The new Max Schumacher Victory Bell finally rang out a win for the Indianapolis Indians tonight, as they beat the Toledo Mud Hens at Victory Field. The Bell (and Mr. Schumacher, who had the honor of ringing it for the first time) had to wait through the Indians’ 4-game series against the Columbus Clippers for the chance to ring, but the losing streak ended tonight, behind the stellar pitching by starter Rudy Owens and an exciting 6th inning.
Owens (photo) made his AAA debut tonight and earned the win with 7 innings of work, allowing one run on 7 hits, no walks, and with 5 strikeouts. He gave up one hit in 5 of his innings, two hits in the 7th, and no hits in the 4th. Unfortunately, one of the hits he gave up was a solo home run, to Toledo CF Clete Thomas in the 2nd. It was a no-doubter, which sailed over the iron fence beyond the berm behind right field, and bounced down onto West Street (though at least not while the fire trucks were racing past).
Owens looked completely in control all night. He needed only 83 pitches (58 strikes) to get through 7 innings. He did not go deep into any counts until the 6th inning, and even then threw only 14 pitches in each of the 6th and 7th innings. He got some help from his friends behind him, including a nice running catch by LF Alex Presley in the 6th, and a backhanded stop deep in the hole by SS Chase d’Arnaud with a catch in the dirt by 1B Matt Hague. In the post-game interview, Owens said that he was pleased to get that first AAA start out of the way. “The first AAA start is always one of those big deals — same with last year in AA with the first start. I got out there and had to face (Stephen) Strasburg, and it couldn’t be more nerve-wracking. By just getting that first win out of the way and doing well, I showed myself that I can compete here….. Throwing strikes is the key for me because this team (Toledo) likes to swing and just got to let them get themselves out.”
The Indians’ batters also posted one hit per inning for the first four innings of the game. Alex Presley continued his torrid hitting with two singles — a line drive into center field in the 1st and a grounder through the hole into left field in the 4th. He also stole second base in the 4th. RF Andrew Lambo picked up his first hit of the season in the 2nd inning, when he grounded to short, but Toledo SS Cale Iorg bobbled the ball as his foot slipped, then threw wide to first base, giving Lambo the extra split second he needed to reach first safely. Presley and Lambo were left stranded on base, but when CF Gorkys Hernandez singled in the 3rd, he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Andy Marte is congratulated on his home run in the 5th
Columbus Clippers 7, Indianapolis Indians 5
A pair of home runs and 11 hits were not enough for the Indians to overcome the Clippers and escape the sweep at Victory Field on Sunday afternoon. Like in the three previous games, the Indians had a runner on base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not keep the inning going long enough to bring him in.
With the scheduled starter, Daniel McCutchen, called up to the Pirates, Brad Lincoln (photo) made the start for the Tribe. Lincoln has been on the Pirates’ 15-day Disabled List due to a forearm bruise, which happened when he was hit by a come-backer in a game at the end of spring training. Lincoln was originally due to start for the Bradenton Marauders today, but the roster shuffling saw Lincoln traveling to Indiana instead. Before the game, manager Dean Treanor said that he was hoping to see at least 4 innings from Lincoln, who had not really had enough time to get completely stretched out in his shortened spring training.
Lincoln looked great on the mound, and even looked like he may have lost some weight since he was here last year. He buzzed through the first three innings, allowing only a double to the Clippers’ 9-hole hitter RF Bubba Bell in the 3rd. Eight of the first nine outs were groundouts, with Lincoln also getting one strikeout. Clippers’ 2B Cord Phelps led off the top of the 4th with a solo homer to straight away center field, which landed in the ground cover in front of the pine trees. Lincoln hit the next batter, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, with a pitch, but C Dusty Brown cut Chisenhall down as he tried to steal second base. Two more quick outs finished the 4th inning.
Lincoln did come back out to begin the 5th. He got SS Luis Valbuena to line out right to 2B Pedro Ciriaco (photo)for the first out. (Ciriaco just had to stick out his glove, and didn’t even take a step.) Then he hit LF Jared Head with a pitch, and got a fly out. That was all for Lincoln for the day. He had thrown 72 pitches (42 strikes), a very reasonable count for where he is in his “spring”. Lincoln was responsible for 2 runs on 2 hits, with 2 strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Cesar Valdez came in from the bullpen to relieve Lincoln, but he struggled in his 0.2 innings. With two outs and a runner on first when he entered the game, Valdez gave up an RBI double to Bell (Bell’s second hit of the game). That scored the runner from first, and Bell advanced to third on the throw. CF Ezequiel Carrera walked on a full count, then Phelps blasted his second home run in two innings, this one sailing so high over the right field wall, that RF Andrew Lambo merely turned in his tracks and watched it go. That gave the Clippers 4 runs in the inning, one charged to Lincoln and three to Valdez, for a 5-0 lead. Chisenhall reached base next, on a grounder to first that popped out of 1B Matt Hague’s glove and over his shoulder for an error. It turned out to not matter, as Valdez finally got a strikeout to end the inning.
Pitching coach Tom Filer, catcher Wyatt Toregas, and pitcher Justin Wilson
Columbus Clippers 8, Indianapolis Indians 7
For the third night in a row, the Indians were down by one run in the bottom of the last inning with at least one runner on base — and couldn’t capitalize. In addition, it was Pedro Ciriaco who was the last man to bat in each game. That’s not to place the blame for the losses on Ciriaco — other players had also had opportunities to drive in runs and were not able too. It’s just an odd coincidence that Ciriaco ended the three games with a grounder into a double play, a ground out, and tonight a pop out.
Like in the first two games, the Clippers were first onto the scoreboard. Indians’ starter Justin Wilson (photo) retired the first 8 batters he faced, including 5 strikeouts, with 4 of those in a row. He struck out the side in the 2nd inning, then struck out the first batter of the 3rd inning. Like the first two games, this game featured a diving catch of a low line drive by the Indians’ shortstop. In the first two games, that shortstop was Ciriaco; tonight it was Chase d’Arnaud, who recorded the second out in the 3rd inning. The Clipper’s ninth batter, RF Jerad Head, then rocketed Wilson’s 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field for a solo homer. Wilson then walked the next batter, CF Ezequiel Carrera, who promptly stole second base on the first pitch to the SS Cord Phelps. Phelps slipped a grounder up the middle, just out of reach of d’Arnaud, and Carrera came around to score from second. A walk to 3B Lonnie Chisenhall prompted a visit by pitching coach Tom Filer (photo above). After catching his breath, Wilson got a fly out to end the inning.
Wilson also had to work around base runners in the 4th inning. After another strikeout, Wilson gave up an infield single to 1B Jordan Brown. Brown grounded back to the mound, and the ball tipped off Wilson’s glove and over towards short. SS d’Arnaud had to change his direction, but he got to the ball and made a rushed throw to first. The throw pulled 1B Matt Hague off base, though it appeared that Brown might have beat the ball to the bag anyway. DH Wes Hodges also tapped back to the mound, where Wilson whirled and threw to second, forcing out Brown. But 2B Brian Friday’s throw on to first went wide, and Hodges was safe. C Paul Phillip walked, but then Head grounded to short, and the inning ended on the force out at second base.
Columbus Clippers 3, Indianapolis Indians 2
For the second night in a row, a late-inning rally by the Indians fell through, as the Tribe lost to the Clippers at Victory Field tonight.
This time, the Indians went into the bottom of the 9th trailing the Clippers by one run, and Jensen Lewis on the mound for Columbus. 1B Matt Hague (photo) began the action by taking Lewis’ first pitch on a line into left field for a single. 3B Brian Friday followed with another line drive into left field. Clippers’ LF Jordan Brown had the ball back to the infield quickly, so Hague was able to advance only to second base. Hague was replaced by pinch-runner Josh Harrison. CF Corey Wimberly dropped down a nearly perfect sacrifice bunt, moving both base runners into scoring position. Pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo came to the plate in place of C Dusty Brown, and was intentionally walked to load the bases. But Lewis bore down and struck out LF Gorkys Hernandez, then got SS Pedro Ciriaco to ground out to third base, ending the game with all three runners still in place.
The Tribe had been able to put at least one runner on base in all but one of Columbus starter Jeanmar Gomez’s six innings. Gomez retired the side in order in the 1st. Hague picked up the first of his three singles in the 2nd inning, with a liner into center field. Friday walked, but the two were left on base when a pop out ended the inning. Brown and Hernandez opened the 3rd inning with back-to-back singles, but when Ciriaco tried to put down a sacrifice bunt, the ball landed too close to the plate. Former Indy Indian and now the Columbus catcher Luke Carlin pounced on the ball and fired to third base, forcing out Brown. RF Alex Presley popped up for the second out, but the Indians still had a chance, with runners on first and second. But Hernandez must have been daydreaming as he led off second base, and Gomez was able to catch him standing well off the base, and a quick run-down (1-4-5) had Hernandez picked off.
2B Chase d’Arnaud (photo) walked with one out in the 4th inning, stole second, and kept going to third when Carlin’s wide throw to second skittered into right-center field. He was left standing just 90 feet from scoring when a pop up and a ground out ended the inning. Wimberly led off the 5th with a little bloop that fell in amid three Clippers’ fielders. Wimberly raced to first, but he hesitated ever so slightly as he rounded the bag, and despite his speed, he was not able to beat the throw to second base when SS Cord Phelps picked up the ball in short left field.
The Tribe finally got to Jeanmar Gomez in the 6th inning. With one out, Presley beat out a infield single on a ball to deep short, and he stole second base. After a fly out, d’Arnaud crushed a line drive to the wall in right field for a triple. Presley scored easily with the first Indians’ run. Hague followed with a shorter liner into right field, and d’Arnaud came home, as Gomez headed for the showers. Former Indy Indian (2010) Joe Martinez came on in relief, and ended the 6th with a strikeout. Martinez went on to retire the Tribe in order in the 7th.
Twins 4, Pirates 3
The Pirates finished their Grapefruit League action with an 11-20 record, as they now head north to Pennsylvania, where they will play 2 games against the Philliies in Philadelphia. Reliever Anthony Claggett suffered a Blown Save and the Loss, as he gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the Twins’ walk-off win.
The Pirates were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th. Claggett walked the first batter, then the next hitter lifted a fly ball to center field, which sailed over CF Starling Marte’s head and caromed off the wall for a triple. That brought in the tying run. After a strikeout, the next batter ricocheted a soft liner off Claggett’s lower leg. The ball landed over toward third base, where 3B Josh Rodroguez raced in to make the scoop, but his throw to the plate was not in time for C Jason Jaramillo to tag the runner on third, and the winning run scored.
LF Jose Tabata got the game started with a double into left field to open the top of the 1st. 2B Neil Walker bunted Tabata to third, and CF Andrew McCutchen brought him in with a sacrifice fly. Walker started the Pirates’ 4th inning rally with a lead-off single into center field. 1B Steve Pearce doubled into center, plating Walker, and RF Matt Diaz’s single brought in Pearce. The Pirates had only two baserunners after the 4th inning — Jaramillo singled in the 8th, and Pearce walked in the 9th.
Jeff Karstens made the start, scattering three singles and a walk over the first four innings. With two outs in the 5th, Karstens got Twins’ Denard Span to ground to short, but a wild pitch by SS Ronny Cedeno resulted in a single and a throwing error, and Span positioned on second base. Another single brought Span across the plate with an unearned run. Garrett Olson finished the inning for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 6th inning. Mike Crotta surrendered his second earned run of the spring, with a walk and a double in the 7th inning. Chris Resop pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Twins from scoring despite a single and a walk.
Also getting into the game: 2B Brian Friday and SS Jordy Mercer
The Pirates traded infielder Josh Fields to the Rockies this afternoon, for a player to be named later or cash. Fields was in Pirates’ camp as a non-roster invitee, minor league free agent. He had been sent to the minor league camp at the end of last week. In 21 Grapefruit League games, he went 5-for-29, and struck out 11 times.
Josh Rodriguez, the Pirates’ Rule 5 pick from last December, has made the 25-man roster. He will have to stay on the major league roster all season, or else go through waivers and be offered back to the Cleveland Indians. Rodriguez will be a back-up infielder and a bat off the bench. That means that Pedro Ciriaco will be heading back to Indianapolis to begin the season.
C Chris Snyder will begin the season on the Disabled List. That leaves Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo to share catching duties for now, and leaves open a spot for OF John Bowker on the 25-man roster.
Former Pirate RHP Nate Adcock, who was chosen by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft, has won a spot on the Royals’ 25-man roster. Like Rodriguez, if he doesn’t stick with the Royals, he’ll have to go through waivers and be offered back to the Pirates. Adcock pitched for A+ Bradenton in 2010, earning an 11-7 record and a 3.38 ERA. In 141.1 innings, he allowed 131 hits, 53 earned runs, 38 walks, and struck out 113. If he comes back to the Pirates, he would likely be assigned to AA Altoona.
The Indy Indians faced off against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Clearwater, Florida this afternoon…. no results available at this point.