CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sometimes in baseball, just one inning can change the course of a ballgame. The Indianapolis Indians (36-30) figured that out the hard way on Friday.
The Charlotte Knights (30-36) scored six fifth-inning runs, most of which came with two outs, as Charlotte stormed past the Tribe by a final score of 12-4 at BB&T Ballpark. Indy’s four-game win streak came to an end in the team’s largest margin of defeat of 2017. 12 runs allowed also set a negative high mark for the Indians this season.
The start of Friday’s contest was delayed by 42 minutes, but it did not seem to bother Indy. The Indians grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first, as Eric Wood singled home Chris Bostick after Bostick led off with a double.
Clay Holmes was Indianapolis’ starting pitcher on Friday and following a scoreless first, the Knights struck versus the right-hander in the second. Danny Hayes led off the inning with a game-tying homer, while a two-out single from Yoan Moncada later handed the home team a 2-1 lead.
Charlotte held that 2-1 cushion until the fifth, when Indy temporarily went back on top. Phil Gosselin, with runners on second and third, shot the Tribe ahead with a two-run single to right.
That newfound advantage did not last long for the Indians, however.
Holmes retired the first batter he faced in the fifth, but after a walk and a RBI triple from Adam Engel, Indianapolis called on their bullpen in a 3-3 game. Casey Sadler took over for Holmes, but immediately gave up the lead on a RBI double from Hayes. Sadler was able to get the frame’s second out but after a walk, a fielding error by Indians second baseman Erich Weiss allowed the Knights to take a 5-3 lead.
Sadler was replaced by Antonio Bastardo following the run-scoring error, but the lefty ran into more trouble in the form of Moncada. The Chicago White Sox top prospect took Bastardo deep to left center for a three-run homer, sending Charlotte ahead 8-3 on the exclamation point of a huge fifth inning.
When the dust settled, Holmes was left with a final line of four runs allowed on six hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings pitched. Sadler and Bastardo were charged with four runs combined, but just one was earned.
Cody Dickson fired a shutout sixth for the visitors, but the Knights went back to work against Tribe reliever Brett McKinney in the seventh.
Moncada was in the mix this time, too, as his fourth hit of the night set the stage for a two-run home run from Charlotte third baseman Nicky Delmonico.
The Indians got a run back in the top of the eighth thanks to a double from Weiss, but the Knights answered yet again to go up 12-4 on a two-run blast from Carson Blair.
Indy will look to get back in the win column in game two of this weekend series on Saturday. First pitch from the state of North Carolina is slated for 7:05 p.m. with Steven Brault (4-3, 2.11 ERA) scheduled to make his return to his usual starting role on the mound.