photo: �Neil Walker is congratulated after his second homer in three days.
Indianapolis Indians �9, �Columbus Clippers �4 (box)
The Indianapolis Indians exploded for 7 runs in the 4th inning tonight at Victory Field, and that included three home runs -- by CF Jose Tabata, LF Neil Walker, and DH Brian Myrow. The Columbus Clippers could not keep up, as the Indians more than doubled them up on hits.
Donnie Veal (photo) made the start for the Tribe, and he got into trouble right away in the top of the 1st. �Columbus CF Trevor Crowe led off with a single up the middle. �SS Jason Donald tried to bunt Crowe to second, but only succeeded in popping up to Veal for the first out. �DH Carlos Santana smashed a double to the wall in right center field, past the desperate reach of RF Brandon Moss (photo below -- Moss is at the wall, but the ball is in the splash of dirt down to his right, by the feet of his shadow.)�RF Shelley Duncan worked a walk to load the bases, with just one out. �But Veal bore down and struck out 1B Wes Hodges, then got former Indy Indian Brian Bixler to look at strike three, ending the inning with the bases still loaded but no runs in.
Once he got through that inning unscathed, Veal settled in. �He faced the minimum number of batters over the next four innings. �The only base runner he allowed was C Damaso Espino, who walked in the 2nd inning, but was immediately erased with a double play. �It took Veal 28 pitches to work through the first inning, and only about 38 pitches to get through the next four innings.
Columbus starter Hector Rondon did reasonably well against the Indians for his first three innings. �He gave up a lone walk to Brian Myrow in the 1st. �He gave up a single to Brandon Moss in the 2nd inning. �Moss stole second base easily when neither the Columbus SS Jason Donald nor the 2B Anderson Hernandez covered the bag. �Hernandez kept the throw from sailing into the outfield, but that was with a late scramble to catch it well behind the second base bag. �Moss got as far as third base when C Erik Kratz produced a lot of held breaths with his long fly ball to left field -- which was caught up against the wall. �In the 3rd inning, SS Argenis Diaz lined a single in to right field, but he was caught stealing.
It was the 4th inning that did Rondon in and gave the Indians their biggest inning of the season. �Brian Myrow (photo below) began the fun with a solo home run, which rose down the right field line, flew over the wall just inside the foul pole, then hooked around behind the foul pole to land in the picnic section. �The Clippers tried to protest (no video conferencing for the umpires in the minor leagues), but to no avail, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead. �3B Pedro Alvarez lined out to center for the first out. �Then 1B Steve Pearce and Brandon Moss hit back-to-back line drives, Pearce to left-center and Moss to right. �Erik Kratz came to the plate with runners on first and second, and he bounced a little tap back to the mound. �Rondon fielded it cleanly, whirled and prepared to throw to second base -- and then didn't. �He had the ball in his arm, and even moved his arm as if to throw, but did not release the ball. �Unlike in the 2nd inning, both his second baseman and his shortstop were moving towards the bag and would have been there by the time the ball got there, and they and the ball would have all reached the bag well before Moss coming from first base. �It should have been a double play, particularly since Kratz is not the fastest down the line to first base. �But Rondon did not make the throw. �Instead, he again turned, and threw to first base, making the out on Kratz. �Instead of being out of the inning, he had two outs and runners on second and third bases.
2B Brian Friday had the key hit in the 4th inning. �With two outs, he slipped a single up the middle, just between the middle infielders, scoring both Pearce and Moss. �Argenis Diaz continued the inning with a single into right field, and the Tribe again had runners on first and second base with two outs. �Jose Tabata cleared the bases with a 3-run long bomb, a little further inside the right field foul pole than Myrow's had been. �No argument from the Clippers this time. �Then, to cap it off, Neil Walker made it back-to-back home runs, with a blast to mid-right field. �That sent Hector Rondon to the showers, having surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits. �Jess Todd came in from the Columbus bullpen. After a walk to Myrow in his second at-bat in the inning, Todd got Pedro Alvarez to fly out, ending the long inning.