Louisville Bats 5, Indianapolis Indians 2[ box ]
The Indianapolis Indians wrapped up their 2011 season with a loss to the Bats at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY this afternoon. The loss gives the Indians a final record of 76- 68, which is their best record in the past 5 seasons. They also finished their season season against the Bats with a 12-10 record.
Jeff Locke made the final start for the Tribe. He began by striking out the first two Louisville batters in the bottom of the 1st, then gave up a walk. 1B Neftali Soto smacked his first AAA home run over the right field wall, over the leaping reach of RF Miles Durham, to give the Bats a quick 2-0 lead.
The Tribe answered with a run in the top of the 2nd. 3B Andy Marte drove a one-out liner into left field, Moments later RF Miles Durham lined an RBI single just out of the reach of 2B Mike Griffin and into right field. Marte raced around from second base and slid in to home as the throw in from right field was high.
With two outs in the 3rd, SS Brian Bocock began another Tribe rally. After fouling off a number of pitches, he lined a single back up the middle. A walk to LF Ryan Ludwick put two Tribe runners on base. 1B Jeff Clement slipped a grounder into center field, allowing Bocock to come around and tie the game at 2-2.
Locke was responsible for an unearned run in the bottom of the 3rd that gave the Bats the lead again. With one out, SS Kristopher Negron dropped down a bunt along the third base line. 3B Marte got to the ball, but Negron beat out the throw to first, for an infield single. Negron went to second base when Locke made a wide throw to first on a pickoff play. A bloopy single into left field by RF Denis Phipps had Negron scrambling around third base and heading for the plate. The throw back into the infield from LF Ludwick was cut off, allowing Negron to score easily, but the relay from Marte to 2B Brian Friday was in time for Friday to tag out Phipps, who was trying to advance on the throw. That cut short the Bats’ rally, but they had taken a 3-2 lead.
Locke settled down over the next two innings, allowing only a walk. He finished after 5 innings of work, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 6 strikeouts. He was charged with the loss. Locke threw 81 pitches with 52 strikes.
Sean Gallagher took over for Locke to begin the 6th inning, and quickly got into a jam. Phipps singled into right field and both Soto and LF Danny Dorn walked, loading the bases with one out. 3B Mike Costanzo brought in Phipps with a sacrifice fly. The throw in from CF Hernandez was on target but just barely late. The Bats had increased their lead to 4-2.
The Bats tacked on another insurance run in the 7th. Negron lashed a single into the right field corner, then stole second base. Phipps lined a single into right field, which Durham had trouble handling, though even if he’d fielded it cleanly, Negron would still have been able to score from second base. Soto also singled on a bad hop that got past 3B Marte and into left field, where Jordy Mercer had taken over for Ryan Ludwick.
Gallagher pitched a scoreless 8th, allowing only a single.
The Indians put at least one runner on base in all but one inning after the 3rd, but could not push any of their runners around to score. Durham singled in the 4th and Bocock singled in the 5th, but both were left stranded. C Eric Fryer walked in the 6th, and he was also left on. Friday reached base in the 7th inning when he grounded to short, but the Bats’ SS Negron threw wide to first base. But Friday was quickly erased in a double play.
The Tribe put two runners on base in the top of the 9th. Fryer walked, but was forced out when Durham grounded slowly to first base. 1B Soto threw to second for the out on Fryer, but there was no play back at first base on Durham. Hernandez also walked, giving the Tribe two base runners, and bringing the tying run to the plate. But pinch-hitter Wyatt Toregas did not have his 2-RBI double magic three days in a row, and instead he struck out. Friday ended the game and the season with a ground out.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: The Indians had only 6 hits in the game, with Brian Bocock and Miles Durham collecting two hits each. Durham also drove in one of the Indians’ runs.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: An outfield assist by Ryan Ludwick in the 3rd inning. Denis Phipps singled into left, and that drove in a run, but Ludwick’s throw in from left field, relayed by 3B Andy Marte to 2B Brian Friday had Phipps out at second.
Matt Hague did not play in today’s game — the first game that he has not been in the line up since mid-June.
Jordy Mercer’s appearance in left field was his first time playing in the outfield in his pro career.
The Pirates indicated that 3B Pedro Alvarez would be called up to Pittsburgh for the rest of September, but that he will be sharing playing time at third with Josh Harrison. They also said that they will not call up Matt Hague or Gorkys Hernandez. Even though those two players have earned consideration, both play positions (first base and outfield) which already are crowded on the Pirates’ team. They would get very little playing time.
Ryan Ludwick, who has been with the Tribe on a rehab assignment, will also be going up to the Pirates.
And, of course, for those of us who are counting….there are (only) 212 days until the Indians’ 2012 Opening Day. They open the season on April 5th on the road in Toledo for four games, then play four games in Columbus. The Indians’ Home Opener, on Friday April 13th, against Toledo is 220 days away.
(photos by Nancy)