LOUISVILLE, KY – Starting pitcher J.T. Brubaker, who pitched to a 1.80 ERA in Double-A to start his 2018 season, got his first crack at Triple-A on Thursday. It went well for the right-hander.
Brubaker blanked the Louisville Bats (11-19) over the course of six solid innings, notching his first Triple-A victory at Louisville Slugger Field. The Indianapolis Indians (16-15) got home runs from three different batters to fuel their offense, earning a four-game series split against their division rivals with a 7-1 win.
Brubaker shut out Louisville, but it didn’t come easily.
The Bats recorded six hits and a walk against Brubaker, but the 24-year-old was unfazed. Louisville put a runner on base in every inning Brubaker pitched but the sixth, but the right-hander forced the home team into three double plays to keep them off of the scoreboard.
Brubaker was a dominant strikeout pitcher with the Altoona Curve in Double-A, punching out a team-high 35 batters in 35 innings pitched to start this season. He only struck out two batters on Thursday, though, opting to get outs in other ways.
Former big league pitcher Cody Reed opposed Brubaker on the mound. Reed silenced Indy’s offense through five innings, but the Indians got it going at the dish in the sixth to break a scoreless tie.
Austin Meadows started the rally in the top of the sixth, singling to center with one out. That brought up Jordan Luplow, who cranked a two-run shot to put the game’s first runs up. It was Luplow’s third homer of the season, a campaign that began with a .180 month of April for the outfielder. Luplow has since hit safely in all but one game thus far in May.
Reed returned to the hill for the seventh, but didn’t last too much longer.
Eric Wood led off the seventh with a blast to left, making it a 3-0 Tribe lead. Pablo Reyes followed with a groundout, but pinch hitter Jerrick Suiter drilled a ground rule double. That two-bagger ended Reed’s night.
Evan Mitchell took over for Reed, but Indianapolis clobbered him. Kevin Newman drew a walk. Chris Bostick singled to load the bases. Meadows scored two with a double. Luplow walked.
Mitchell was pulled before getting a single out, leaving a 5-0 deficit and a bases loaded jam to Kyle Crockett. Crockett fared better, notching a pair of quick outs to get the Bats out of trouble.
Louisville got a run back in their half of the seventh, but the Tribe played long ball again in the eighth.
With Reyes on first base following a one-out single, Wyatt Mathisen dug in as a pinch hitter and mashed a homer to center to extend Indy’s advantage to 7-1. The dinger was Mathisen’s first at the Triple-A level. He homered in his last game in Double-A before being promoted to Indianapolis and hit five with the Curve in 2017.
The Indians return home for a short three-game homestand that begins on Friday. The Columbus Clippers will be in town, with Friday’s opener set for a 7:15 p.m. start. Clay Holmes (1-1, 4.29 ERA) is expected to pitch for Indianapolis.