BUFFALO, N.Y. – Despite a near two-hour rain delay thrown in the middle, three Indianapolis Indians (4-3) pitchers combined to turn in a gem on Thursday.
Tribe starter Tyler Eppler pitched four shutout innings before the wet stuff arrived and the duo of Tyler Jones and Johnny Hellweg limited the opposition to one run the rest of the way. Indy escaped with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons (2-2), starting their seven-game road trip off on the right foot.
Eppler, who tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in his first start of the season last weekend, had it going again on Thursday. The right-hander held Buffalo to three hits and a walk, but his outing was cut short once Mother Nature intervened.
The skies opened up in the top of the fifth of a 0-0 game, delaying the action for one hour and 39 minutes.
All of the offense in this one came in inning number six.
Indianapolis scored their two runs in the top of the inning with three swings against Bisons lefty Chad Girodo. Jose Osuna put the Tribe’s first run on the scoreboard with a solo homer to left, Indy’s first long ball of the season. Then after Jacob Stallings singled with two outs, Chris Bostick ripped a RBI triple to push the visitors ahead 2-0.
Jones took over for Eppler after the delay and tossed a clean fifth frame, but Buffalo answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Teoscar Hernandez took Jones deep to left center, trimming the Bisons deficit back down to 2-1.
Jones responded with a scoreless seventh, turning it over to Hellweg after three innings of three-hit/one-run work. Hellweg would notch his second save of the year, but it wouldn’t come without some drama.
In the eighth, Hellweg needs consecutive strikeouts to strand the tying run at second base. Then in the ninth, Buffalo notched two singles and a walk to load the with two outs before Hellweg fanned Darnell Sweeney to give the Indians their second win in a row.
Game two of this series from Coca-Cola Field is scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. start on Friday. Alex McRae (0-0, 2.45 ERA) will toe the rubber for Indy.