The Tribe turned five double plays and scored two first-inning runs on back-to-back triples, but the Pawtucket RedSox (32-21) responded with a 14-hit, eight-run barrage that boosted them to an 8-2 win over the Indianapolis Indians (35-19) on Wednesday afternoon at Victory Field. The Tribe will now have to earn a victory tomorrow to avoid suffering its first series loss at home this season.
Indianapolis picked up right where it left off from last night’s victory, immediately putting a dent in the scoreboard with back-to-back triples from SS Chase d’Arnaud and CF Alex Presley that gave the Tribe a 1-0 lead. The consecutive triples marked the first back-to-back three baggers for a pair of Indians batters since OF Andrew McCutchen and INF Brian Bixler accomplished the feat in the first inning on April 15, 2009 vs. Columbus.
With Presley standing on third, 1B Matt Hague continued the Indians recent power surge with an RBI single to left to extend the advantage 2-0. Unfortunately for the Tribe, the two early scores proved to be the only offense the team could muster as Pawtucket’s hurlers worked eight straight scoreless frames en route to their victory.
Starter Graham Godfrey (W, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) quickly recovered from his rough first inning to spin 4.0 shutout frames of two-hit ball in which he walked and struck out one. After Godfrey departed from the contest with a win in-hand, LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (2.2 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 3 SO) limited the Indians offense to just one hit through 2.2 innings while RHP Oscar Villarreal (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER) closed the game down with 1.1 scoreless frames.
Despite snagging the early 2-0 advantage, the home team was unable to maintain the lead throughout the afternoon behind RHP Brandon Cumpton (L, 5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, BB, 2 SO), as the right-hander ultimately suffered his third loss of the season. Cumpton opened the contest with two solid frames, including an ending inning twin-killer in both the first and second inning, but was tagged for four scores in the top of the third.
DH Mitch Maier and SS Brock Holt got things rolling for the PawSox with back-to-back singles to right, and two batters later, 2B Justin Henry was plunked by a pitch to load the bases. 3B Jonathan Diaz then pushed Pawtucket’s first run across the plate with an RBI groundout to second, before RF Bryce Brentz put the exclamation point on the frame with a two-out three-run blast that nearly sailed out of the ballpark and gave the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.
One inning later, the Indians offense caught a tough break as Hague coaxed a leadoff walk, and after two quick outs, was picked up on a blast that bounced to the right-field wall by DH Jeff Larish. However, instead of being credited with an RBI double that should have allowed Hague to dash home and cut into the Tribe’s deficit, Larish’s base hit ricochetted into the stands for a ground-rule double that forced the baserunner to hold at third instead of coming plateward. With the runners stuck on second and third, C Lucas May was unable to drive in a score, flying out to left to end the potential rally.
After beginning the season 0-for-12 at the plate, Larish has now gone 3-for-7 with a run scored, one double, a home run and three RBI over his last two games.
Pawtucket then took full advantage of a double of its own in the next inning as Henry grounded a one-out two bagger to left, followed by an RBI line drive from Diaz that widened the Sox’s lead to 5-2. Just one inning later, the visiting squad again padded it’s cushion when CF Ronald Bermudez reached first and advanced to second on a two-base throwing error from 3B Jared Goedert, before dashing home when Hague dropped a throw at first that could have ended the inning.
Pawtucket would tack on two more tallies for good measure, courtesy of an RBI single from Snyder in the eighth and a run-scoring base hit from Jonathan Diaz in the ninth that put the game even farther out of reach at 8-2. Diaz’s single in the final inning gave the Red Sox 14 total hits on the afternoon, establishing a new opponent single-game high for base knocks this season.
Indianapolis and Pawtucket will conclude their four-game set tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at Victory Field. The Indians are scheduled to give the ball to LHP Kris Johnson (5-3, 3.78), while the Red Sox are expected to counter with RHP Steven Wright (2-2, 4.26).
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