INDIANAPOLIS – A 5-0 lead wasn’t enough for the Indianapolis Indians (65-54) on Sunday, as the Pawtucket Red Sox (56-61) roared back for a 9-5 victory.
The PawSox scored the final nine runs of Sunday’s game, including a six-run seventh that broke things open, to finish off a three-game sweep of the Tribe. As of this writing, Indy’s lead for first place in the IL West is now down to 2.5 games.
Despite the end result, Indianapolis did get off to a fantastic start on Sunday. The Indians put a crooked number up on the scoreboard in each of the game’s first three innings and led by five runs going into inning number four.
Max Moroff was key to the Tribe’s quick start. Moroff homered in the first inning and then drove in two more with a two-out single in the second.
Indy wasn’t done, though, plating two more runs in the third. Jose Osuna and Ryan Lavarnway hit back-to-back doubles to make it 4-0, while a two-out fielding error allowed the Indians to score another run and push their cushion to 5-0.
With the International League’s leader in wins on the mound in Tyler Eppler, a five-run cushion seemed like it could be enough for Indianapolis. It wasn’t meant to be on this day.
The PawSox set out on the comeback trail in the fourth, getting their first two runs of the afternoon. It could have been more, however, as six men in a row reached at one point. A base-running blunder hurt Pawtucket during that stretch, limiting them to just a two-run fourth.
The Sox kept rolling in the fifth, adding another run in a hurry. Tzu-Wei Lin led off with a double and scored a batter later, as Tony Renda singled to make it 5-3.
Eppler’s day was done after the fifth, thanks in part to throwing a ton of pitches in that long fourth inning. The righty finished with a final line of three runs allowed on eight hits and two walks.
Alex McRae took over for Eppler in the sixth and tossed a cool 1-2-3 inning. The seventh inning wasn’t as kind to McRae.
Each of the first four batters in the top of the seventh reached versus McRae, leaving Indy’s lead trimmed down to 5-4. McRae did get a strikeout of Sam Travis next, but a two-run single from Jantzen Witte gave the Red Sox their first lead and forced the Indians to call on their bullpen.
Jesus Liranzo was the Tribe’s new hurler, but the PawSox got after him as well. Mike Miller immediately singled, giving the visitors a 7-5 edge. Liranzo then walked Mike Ohlman and served up a two-run double to Kyle Wren, allowing Pawtucket’s lead to balloon to 9-5.
An outfield assist double play was able to stop the bleeding for the Indians in the seventh, but Indianapolis never did recover.
Following a 3-3 homestand that featured the Tribe sweeping Lehigh Valley and getting swept by Pawtucket, Indy will head out on the road for seven games. First stop: Scranton. Nick Kingham (4-1, 2.32 ERA) is expected to toe the rubber in the opener of three against the RailRiders on Monday.