Indianapolis Indians 5, Louisville Bats 4[ box ]
For the second night in a row, the Indianapolis Indians came from behind to beat the Bats at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY. In fact, the Tribe had to catch up to the Bats twice in this game, as they out-hit the Bats, 11- 6. Four rehabbing Pirates’ players played key roles — CF Alex Presley, RF Jose Tabata, and SS Chase d’Arnaud all contributed to the 7th inning rally that brought in the winning run, and Chris Leroux pitched 3 perfect innings in relief.
After waiting out a rain delay of a bit more than an hour, starter Sean Gallagher got started by retiring the Bats in order in the 1st. Then he gave up a pair of doubles to CF Denis Phipps and LF Daniel Dorn for a run in the bottom of the 2nd. The Indians countered with a run in the top of the 3rd. C Eric Fryer led off with a double into center field, and moved to third base on Gallagher’s sacrifice bunt. Presley lined a single into right field to drive in Fryer, and the score was tied, 1-1.
3B Matt Hague and 1B Jeff Clement made it 3-1 in the 4th inning, when they hit back-to-back home runs with two outs. 2B Jordy Mercer doubled after the homers, but a strikeout ended the inning.
The Bats came flying back in the bottom of the frame. Gallagher had retired the side in order in the 3rd, then began the 4th with three consecutive hits. 3B Juan Francisco began the rally with a line drive single into right field. Phipps and Dorn, who had gone back-to-back with their doubles in the 2nd, did the same with triples into the right field corner in the 4th. The triples each drove in a run, then Dorn scored on a sacrifice fly by 1B Mike Costanzo. The inning continued with a walk to C Corky Miller and a single by RF Michael Griffin. Bats’ starter Daryl Thompson dropped down a bunt, which C Fryer pounced on. Fryer fired to third base, for the force out on Miller, the second out of the inning. Gallagher hit the next batter, SS Kristopher Negron, with a pitch to load the bases, then got 2B Chris Valaika to ground into a force out, ending the inning. The Bats had regained the lead, 4-3.
The Tribe put a runner on base in each of the next two innings, but could not score. Tabata singled with two outs in the 5th, and Hague doubled in the 6th. The 7th inning began with a pair of strikeouts. Presley kept the inning alive with a line drive single into right field, then kept the spark going with a steal of second base. Tabata smacked a line drive into right field, and Presley raced around from second to score the tying run. D’Arnaud lined a single up the middle, and Tabata also headed for home. The throw coming in from CF Phipps was on target, but Tabata slipped in under the tag to score the go-ahead run. D’Arnaud was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the rally, but the Indians had the lead again.
Some insurance would have been nice, and the Indians tried to pick up some in the 8th. Hague reached base on a throwing error by SS Negron, and Clement was hit by a pitch. Mercer grounded into a force out, but reached first safely, putting runners on the corners. A walk to Fryer loaded the bases with two outs. All three were left stranded, though, when pinch-hitter Andy Marte popped out.
Chris Leroux took over for Sean Gallagher, who had thrown 73 pitches (49 strikes) in 4 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Leroux needed only 33 pitches (24 strikes) to retire all 9 Louisville batters he faced. Danny Moskos pitched the final two innings for the Tribe. He allowed only one base runner, walking Dorn in the 8th, then retired the Bats in order in the bottom of the 9th to earn his second save of the season. Chris Leroux earned the win, his 6th with the Indians.
The win widens the gap between the second-place Indians and the third-place Bats in the International League West Division. The Indians are 11.5 games behind the first-place Columbus Clippers.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Back-to-back homers for Matt Hague and Jeff Clement in the 4th inning. This was the first time this season that the Indians had back-to-back home runs. It was Hague’s 12th home run of the season, and Clement’s first.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Five shutout innings by the Tribe relievers Chris Leroux and Danny Moskos. They shut down the Bats completely, with only one Louisville batter reaching base in those 5 innings, and that was due to a walk. That gave the Indians a chance to make their comeback and stay ahead.
Infielder Josh Harrison was called up to the Pirates today, taking the roster spot opened up when 1B Derrek Lee was placed on the Disabled List.
C Dusty Brown, who had been (on paper) on the Bradenton Marauders’ roster, was returned to the Indians’ active roster when Harrison’s spot opened up.
(photos by Nancy)