Indianapolis Indians 3, Louisville Bats 2[ box ]
LF John Bowker’s lead-off homer in the top of the 8th broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Indians the win at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY tonight. This was the first of 8 straight games between these two teams — four in Louisville and four in Indianapolis, and it got the Tribe off on the right foot. Two more rehabbing Pittsburgh Pirates joined the Indians today — Alex Presley and Chase d’Arnaud both had their rehab assignments transferred up from the A+ Bradenton Marauders.
With Garrett Olson on the mound for the Indians, the Bats went down in order in the 1st inning. With two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, C Devin Mesoraco blasted a long fly ball over the left field wall. The solo homer gave the Bats a 1-0 lead.
Olson worked around one runner on base in each of the next three innings. LF David Cook led off the 3rd with a single and was bunted to second base, but was left there. Olson hit RF Jeremy Hermida with a pitch in the 4th, but also left him stranded. Bats’ starter Edison Volquez slapped a bouncer back to the mound in the 5th. The ball was deflected by Olson, making SS Chase d’Arnaud change directions abruptly. Going to his right, d’Arnaud got to the ball in the hole, and was able to make an off-balance throw to first, where 1B Matt Hague came off the bag to make the catch, then tried for a swipe tag, but missed. Olson left his mound opponent standing on base too.
The Bats scored again in the 6th. Olson began the inning by surrendering back-to-back doubles. 2B Chris Valaika led off with a double to the wall in the right-center alley, then 3B Juan Francisco took a ball just out of the reach of 3B Josh Harrison, down the left field line, and into the corner. Valaika scored easily from second base, to give the Bats a 2-0 lead. It also chased Olson from the game. Olson had pitched 5 innings and allowed those 2 runs on 5 hits. Olson, who typically gives up as many or more walks as hits, did not walk any batters tonight. He threw 73 pitches (46 strikes) and struck out 3 batters.
Jared Hughes came on in relief of Olson, with Valaika on second base and no outs. Hughes began with a ground out. He intentionally walked Hermida, then unintentionally walked Mesoraco to load the bases. Next up was 1B Corky Miller, who grounded to short, where d’Arnaud started an inning-ending double play: d’Arnaud to 2B Jordy Mercer to 1B Hague.
Meanwhile, Volquez was holding the Tribe hitters pretty tightly. The Indians posted 3 consecutive hits in the top of the 1st. With one out, rehabbing RF Jose Tabata singled up the middle, off the glove of Bats’ SS Kristopher Negron. Tabata quickly tried to steal second base, but was thrown out on the attempt. Bowker and Hague also singled, but with two of them on base, d’Arnaud struck out to end the inning.
Volquez kept the Indians hitless over the next 4 innings, though he did give up walks to CF Alex Presley and Tabata in the 3rd and to Hague in the 4th. Bowker had the next hit — a single in the 6th — but two strikeouts ended that inning.
The Bats held that 2-0 lead going into the top of the 7th, when the Indians finally got to Volquez. With one out, Mercer reached base on a fielding error by the Bats’ 2B Valaika. He advanced to second base on C Jason Jaramillo’s broken bat bloop over second base and into center field. Pinch-hitter Jeff Clement, in for Jared Hughes, drove a fly ball into left-center. LF Cook made a diving attempt to catch the ball, but missed it at the warning track. The ball bounced off the wall and Clement cruised into second base, as Mercer scored. Jaramillo was held up at third, but he scored the tying run moments later on Presley’s RBI ground out.
Tony Watson took over for Hughes in the bottom of the 7th. He held the tie with a scoreless bottom of the 7th.
That brought up Bowker to lead off the top of the 8th. He took Volquez’s 2-2 pitch over the center field wall to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. Volquez headed for the showers, and was charged with the loss. The next three Indians were retired in order. The Indians were not able to add any insurance runs in the top of the 9th. Jaramillo singled with one out, but could not come around to score.
Watson came back out to pitch the bottom of the 8th, and he again held the Bats scoreless, working around a single. Watson also struck out Hermida on three pitches. Hermida did not agree with home plate umpire Craig Barron on the call, and found himself quickly ejected from the game. Bats’ manager Rick Sweet also argued, and he was ejected for the first time this season. Watson was credited with the win, his third of the season. Justin Wilson earned his first Save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 9th.
The three rehabbing Pirates had just one hit among them — Jose Tabata went 1-for-3; Chase d’Arnaud went 0-for-4; and Alex Presley went 0-for-4, but with an RBI.
The Columbus Clippers won both ends of a double header today. With the Indians’ win, that means that the first-place Clippers are now 12 games ahead of the Indians, who are in second place. The Bats are in third place, now 3 games behind the Indians.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: John Bowker’s game-winning home run in the 8th inning. It was his 15th home run and 65th RBI of the season for Bowker.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: The inning-ending double play in the 6th inning. The Bats had already scored one run, and with one out and the bases loaded, reliever Jared Hughes got Bats’ Corky Miller to ground into a double play, SS Chase d’Arnaud to 2B Jordy Mercer to 1B Matt Hague, ending the inning without another run scoring.
Several roster moves today, involving the Pirates and the Indians:
As above, Alex Presley and Chase d’Arnaud are moving up the chain in their rehab assignments. Presley went 1-for-6 in two games for the Bradenton Marauders. D’Arnaud got into 4 games with the Marauders and went 4-for-12, with a double, a homer, and 3 RBI. Jose Tabata, who is also with the Indians on a rehab assignment, might be getting close to returning to the Pirates, with Presley next closest.
P Jeff Locke was promoted to the Indians from AA Altoona. He has made 22 starts in 23 games for the Curve, earning a 7-8 record and a 4.03 ERA. In 125 innings, Locke has allowed 56 earned runs on 118 hits, with just 46 walks and 114 strikeouts.
P Ross Ohlendorf was reinstated from the Pirates’ 60-day DL, putting him back onto the Pirates’ 40-man roster. Then he was optioned back to the Indians. He’ll be able to pitch in the Indians’ starting rotation for the next few weeks, then will be called back up to Pittsburgh when the major league rosters enlarge on September 1st.
In order to make room for Ohlendorf on the 40-man roster, the Pirates removed reliever Tim Wood from the 40-man roster, designating him for assignment. Wood has been the Indians’ closer for a big part of the season. He has a 2-0 record and a 2.84 ERA in 40 relief appearances, with a league-leading 23 Saves. Hopefully, he’ll clear waivers and get through the process quickly, so he can get back to pitching for the Indians.
(photos by Nancy)