Indianapolis Indians 9, Columbus Clippers 1[ box ]
For the second day in a row, the Indianapolis Indians staged a hit-fest against the first-place Clippers, to sweep this 2-game series at Huntington Park in Columbus, OH this afternoon. The Indians’ hit parade was led by 2B Jordy Mercer and C Jason Jaramillo, who combined for 7 RBI. Jaramillo and 1B Matt Hague posted 3 hits each, while Mercer and 3B Josh Harrison each had 2 hits. Starter Brian Burres earned his 4th win of the season, pitching 6 innings.
The Indians put one runner on base in each of the first three innings, but could not score. DH Jose Tabata reached base on a fielding error to begin the game, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. Hague led off the 2nd with a single into center field. Three ground outs took care of the rest of the inning. RF Miles Durham walked to begin the 3rd, and he was left standing on first base when the next three Tribe batters struck out.
LF John Bowker opened the 4th with a walk — the Indians had their lead-off batter reach base in four consecutive innings. This time, though, they were able to take advantage of the situation. Hague slipped a single into left field, and Harrison dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving both Bowker and Hague into scoring position. Mercer drove both runners in with a grounder up the middle. Jaramillo also singled, moving Mercer to third base. A second fielding error by Columbus’ 3B Argenis Reyes allowed Durham to reach base, while Mercer scored. CF Gorkys Hernandez tried to bunt, but was ruled out on batter interference, and a ground out ended the inning. The Indians had a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Brian Burres scattered 4 hits over his first 4 innings of work. Two of the hits came in the bottom of the 1st. With one out, Burres gave up back-to-back singles to 2B Cord Phelps and SS Luis Valbuena, then ended the inning with a pop out and a fly out. The Clippers went down in order in the 2nd and 3rd. Valbuena singled to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but was erased in a double play. RF Chad Huffman also singled, but was left on base when Burres ended the inning with a strikeout.
Burres gave up two more hits in the 5th. The first was a solo home run to 1B Jared Goedert. Former Indy Indian C Luke Carlin followed the homer with a grounder off 3B Harrison’s glove and into left field. Carlin reached second on a bunt and third on a ground out, but Burres ended the inning with a fly out. Burres finished his afternoon with a quick 6th inning, allowing one walk. Burres had thrown 77 pitches, with 51 of them strikes.
Danny Moskos replaced Burres for the 7th inning. Moskos pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit. Jose Ascanio pitched a perfect 9th inning, which ended with a strikeout.
The Tribe batters threatened in the 6th. Harrison led off with a walk and Mercer was hit by a pitch. Jaramillo lined into left field, and Harrison raced around third, heading for home. The throw in from LF Jerad Head was on time and on target to C Carlin, and Harrison was tagged out at the plate. After a ground out, a walk to Hernandez loaded the bases with Tribe runners, but a fly out by Tabata ended the inning with all three stranded.
The 3-1 lead was not enough for the Tribe. They added 6 more runs over the final two innings of the game. Harrison led off the 8th with a double, and moments later, he scored on Jaramillo’s 2-run homer over the right field wall. Durham lined a single into center field after the homer, then stole both second and third bases. Tabata walked, but both he and Durham were stranded when the inning ended.
Four more runs scored in the top of the 9th. Bowker began the rally with a double, then advanced to third base on a passed ball. Hague plated Bowker with a single into left field. Harrison also singled, then Mercer lifted a long fly ball into left center field. The ball bounced off the wall, as did the Clippers’ LF Head and CF Tim Federoff — they collided with each other and the wall, and neither of them caught the ball. When they tracked the ball down, Hague and Harrison had both scored, and Mercer was on third base with a triple. Mercer scored the fourth run of the inning on a ground out by Jaramillo. That brought the Tribe to a 9-1 lead — one run better than yesterday’s 8-1 win.
The Indians now travel to Louisville to begin an 8-game stretch against the Bats. The first four games will be in Louisville, and the last four will be back in Indianapolis.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Jason Jaramillo’s 2-run home run in the 8th, which gave the Indians a bit more insurance. It was Jaramillo’s second homer of the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: A key double play in the bottom of the 4th, which erased Luis Valbuena and Jerad Head, and made sure that Chad Huffman’s later single did no damage. It was a 6-4-3 double play: SS Pedro Ciriaco to 2B Jordy Mercer to 1B Matt Hague.
The Indians had their lead-off batter reach base in 7 of the 9 innings (not the 5th or the 7th).
Josh Harrison has extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Matt Hague has reached base safely in his last 20 games.
John Bowker has reached base safely in his last 24 road games.
(photos by Nancy)