Gwinnett Braves 11, Indianapolis Indians 5[ box ]
The Gwinnett Braves did not appreciate the Indians scoring 8 runs over the first two innings in Saturday night’s game. So they began this afternoon’s game at Coolray Field by scoring 10 runs over the first 4 innings, and 9 of them in two frames, sending Tribe starter Brad Lincoln to the showers after just 3 innings.
The Indians started the game on a solid note. With one out in the top of the 1st, 2B Josh Harrison walked, and LF John Bowker crushed his 13th home run of the season over the right field wall. 1B Matt Hague also lined a single into left field after the homer, but he was left on base.
Lincoln retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the 1st, then gave up one run in the 2nd inning, when the first four batters recorded a hit. 1B Mauro Gomez led off with a double, then singles by 3B Brandon Hicks, 2B Ruben Gotay, and LF Wilkin Ramirez all singled. Gomez scored, cutting the Tribe lead to 2-1. With the bases loaded and no outs, C Wilkin Castillo gave the Indians a gift. He grounded to first base, where Hague scooped up the ball and fired back to the plate. C Jason Jaramillo had to do some fancy footwork to make sure his foot touched the plate — because the home plate umpire Johnny Conrad did not call out the lead runner Hicks until he saw Jaramillo’s foot on the plate — then Jaramillo relayed the throw back to Hague at first for a 3-2-3 double play. Braves’ starter Julio Teheran struck out to end the inning, and Lincoln was fortunate to get out of that jam with only one run scoring.
However, that was the point at which Lincoln’s luck ran dry. Gwinnett batted around in the 3rd inning as they tomahawk chopped Lincoln with 5 more runs. The first 5 batters hit safely in this inning. Two singles, then a double by RF Stefan Gartrell, driving in both runners to take a 3-2 lead. Gomez singled off SS Jordy Mercer’s glove and into left field, then Hicks brought in Gartrell with a grounder up the middle. After a pop out, both Wilkins (Ramirez and Castillo) both singled, and Gomez and Hicks crossed the plate. The inning ended when Teheran bunted back to the mound, where Lincoln jumped on the ball, whirled and threw to third, for the force out on Ramirez, then 3B Andy Marte fired across the diamond in time to complete the 1-5-3 double play at first base. Braves 6, Indians 2.
That was all for Lincoln. He had thrown 48 pitches (35 strikes) and allowed 11 hits and 6 runs in his 3 innings. He was relieved by Jose Ascanio to begin the 4th inning, but Ascanio had the same bad luck as Lincoln did. Once again, the Braves batted around. A pair of singles began the inning, but this time SS Tyler Pastornicky’s single that slipped just beyond Hague’s reach hit Harrison’s glove and bounced into right field for an error. Gartrell struck out, then Ascanio walked Gomez to load the bases. Hicks singled, driving in 2 runs, then Ascanio walked Gotay to load the bases again. Ramirez singled, also driving in 2 runs, to give Gwinnett a 10-2 lead. A fly out and a strikeout by Teheran mercifully ended the inning.
The Tribe got one of the runs back in the 5th inning. CF Gorkys Hernandez led off with a walk, and pinch-hitter Wyatt Toregas lined a single into left field, moving Hernandez to third. Mercer’s fly out was too short for Toregas to tag up and score, giving the Tribe one out. Harrison grounded to third, and the Braves thought they would be out of the inning with a double play. They did get the force out on Toregas at second, but Harrison beat out the relay throw to first, allowing Hernandez to score. Hague added another run in the 6th, when he singled into left field, moved to second on Jaramillo’s ground out to first, then scored on Durham’s single that zipped past 3B Hicks and into left field.
Ascanio had thrown 33 pitches (18 strikes) in allowing 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in the 4th. Steven Jackson took over on the mound for him to begin the bottom of the 5th inning. He gave up two walks, but kept the Braves scoreless for the first time since the 1st inning. Jackson allowed an unearned run in the 6th. After getting the first two outs, he gave up an infield single to Wilkin Castillo. Pinch hitter Shawn McGill grounded right to Harrison on the grass behind second base, but Harrison had the ball pop out of his glove for his second error of the game. With two runners on, CF Matt Young dropped a single into short left field, and Castillo came around to score, giving the Braves an 11- 4 lead.
Justin Thomas pitched the final two innings for the Tribe. He gave up back-to-back singles over the SS Mercer’s head and into left-center field in the 7th, but left them stranded with a fly out and a ground out. Thomas also pitched a scoreless 8th, allowing one more hit, to bring the Braves’ total to 20.
Hague, who had also walked in the 4th, picked up his 3rd hit of the game in the 8th inning, but was doubled off first base when Marte lined out to second. The Indians scored one more time in the top of the 9th. Jaramillo began the inning by being hit by a pitch. Two strikeouts later, down to their final out, pinch hitter Miguel Perez kept the Tribe alive with a line drive into right field for a single. Mercer followed with another line drive, this one into left field, to load the bases. A walk to Harrison forced in Jaramillo for the Indians’ final run. A ground out by Bowker ended the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: John Bowker’s 13th homer of the season with the Tribe which was the Tribe’s only extra-base hit in the game; and Matt Hague, who reached base every time he stepped to the plate — three singles and a walk.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: The Indians turned two double plays, and both were unusual. In the 2nd, with the bases loaded, Wilkin Castillo bounced to first, for a 3-2-3 (Matt Hague to Jason Jaramillo to Hague) double play. It cut short a rally and held the Braves to one run in the inning. In the 3rd, Julio Teheran bunted into a 1-5-3 (Brad Lincoln to Andy Marte to Hague) double play. That halted the Braves’ 5-run rally.
Pitcher Mike Crotta was designated for assignment by the Pirates today, to make room on the 40-man roster for newcomer OF Ryan Ludwick, who was acquired from the Padres today.
(Photos by Nancy)