NORFOLK, VA – The Indianapolis Indians (19-17) recorded just one hit through eight innings on Wednesday. Indy’s bats woke up just in time to tie the game, but the Norfolk Tides (20-16) fired right back.
Jordan Luplow crushed a game-tying three-run home run in the top of the ninth, but Norfolk responded quickly in the form of a walk-off single from Renato Nunez. The Tides won the ballgame by a score of 4-3, snapping the Tribe’s three-game win streak.
J.T. Brubaker, who earned a win with six scoreless in his Triple-A debut last Thursday, was back on the hill for Indy in this one. The righty wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in Louisville, but still turned in a solid outing.
Brubaker retired six of the first seven batters he faced, but Norfolk got to him in the third. Four straight Tide batters reached with one out, two hits and two walks, with a two-run double from Nunez serving as the big knock of the frame. We would hear from Nunez again later.
In the fourth, a two-out rally hurt Brubaker. Garabez Rosa singled and then stole second base, setting Jaycob Brugman up with a RBI opportunity. Brugman cashed in, lacing a single up the middle to push Norfolk ahead by a score of 3-0.
Brubaker put a zero up in the fifth, his final inning of work. The 24-year-old finished with a final line of three runs allowed on five hits and four walks.
Opposing Brubaker on the mound was Yefry Ramirez, who was fantastic for the home team.
Ramirez gave up a leadoff single to Kevin Newman in the first and walked Erich Weiss in the fifth, but that was it. The right-hander went seven innings, shutting out the Indians with relative ease.
Andrew Faulkner took over for Ramirez in the eighth, working around a two-out walk to pull the Tides within three outs of a victory. Indianapolis wouldn’t make it easy, though.
Faulker returned to the hill for the ninth, where Newman and Austin Meadows got hits. Those hits put runners on the corners with one out and forced Norfolk to call on their bullpen. Matt Wotherspoon entered, facing Luplow. After falling behind Luplow 3-1, Indy’s right fielder mashed Wotherspoon’s fifth pitch over the fence in left center to tie the game at 3-3.
The clutch long ball gave the Indians new life, but the Tides dashed their dreams pretty quickly.
Bo Schultz came on to pitch for the Tribe in the bottom of the ninth, but was welcomed by Brugman with a leadoff single. Adrian Marin sacrificed to move Brugman into scoring position for Mike Yastrzemski, but he was intentionally walked to allow a force out at all three bases. That didn’t come into play, as Nunez ripped a walk-off single to left.
Despite notching just four hits as a team, Newman continues a scorching stretch of hitting for Indy. Newman went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, extending his streak of multi-hit games to six. The Tribe’s shortstop is now 16-for-26 since May 10.
The rubber game of this three-game series is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Clay Holmes (1-2, 5.33 ERA) goes for the Indians in the 12:05 p.m. contest.