COLUMBUS, OH – Ryan Lavarnway hit a clutch home run in the top of the ninth on Monday, pushing the Indianapolis Indians (59-48) to another come-from-behind victory.
The Columbus Clippers (55-51) had just claimed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, but the Tribe rallied for three runs in the ninth to grab a 4-2 win at Huntington Park. Indy’s lead for first place in the IL West is now at 2.5 games over the Toledo Mud Hens and 3.5 over Columbus.
Indians starting pitcher J.T. Brubaker was fantastic on Monday, but the score was still only 1-1 after 7.5 innings played.
Brubaker worked a season-high tying seven innings, limiting the Clips to one run on seven hits and no walks. The lefty struck out eight batters, which also matched a season best.
Nonetheless, Indianapolis was even with Columbus when Brubaker’s night concluded.
The Clippers responded versus new Tribe pitcher Michael Feliz, scoring the go-ahead run against the right-hander. Feliz punched out the first two batters of the eighth, but Yandy Diaz was able to smash a two-out home run to right to give Columbus a 2-1 cushion heading to the ninth inning.
Ben Taylor climbed the mound for the Clips, looking to put away Indy, but immediately ran into trouble. Chris Bostick led off with a single and Jacob Stallings followed with a double, quickly putting a pair of runners in scoring position for the visitors. Kevin Kramer dug in next and tied the game, using a sacrifice fly to make it 2-2. Lavarnway was next to bat and he came up huge for the Indians, smoking a two-run bomb over the right field fence to shoot Indianapolis ahead.
Feliz returned to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Tribe and took advantage of the opportunity to redeem himself. He did surrender a two-out single, but was still successfully able to close out a W.
Game two of this three-game set is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start on Tuesday. Clay Holmes (7-3, 3.36 ERA) is penciled in as Indy’s probable starting pitcher.