INDIANAPOLIS – Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Indians were on their way to a big win, the Durham Bulls decided to turn it on.
The Tribe held a 5-1 lead after six innings on Tuesday, but consecutive two-run frames from Durham in the seventh and eighth tied the score back up before the Bulls took a 6-5 decision in eleven innings.
Tuesday’s contest did get off to a bit of a bumpy start for Indianapolis. Indians starting pitcher Drew Hutchison surrendered a leadoff double to Jake Hager and after consecutive groundouts, Hager touched home to give Durham an early 1-0 lead.
Hutchison settled in nicely after the first, though, turning in his best performance of the season to date. The righty finished with a final line of one run allowed on five hits and three walks over six innings pitched.
Newly activated first baseman Joey Terdoslavich and the Tribe offense started to catch fire in the fourth, where they went in front with a three-run frame. All three runs crossed before Bulls starter Chih-Wei Hu could record an out, with Elias Diaz tying the game with a RBI double and Terdoslavich making it 3-1 with a two-run single.
Hu would exit two batters into the sixth, an inning in which Indianapolis plated two more runs. Diaz singled to lead off the inning and scored a batter later on a Terdoslavich double, which forced Durham to call on their bullpen. Diego Moreno replaced Hu, but could not keep the Tribe from scoring again, as a two-out single from Chris Bostick gave the home team a 5-1 cushion.
Indy’s four-run lead would not last long, however, as the Bulls answered with two runs of their own in the top of the seventh. New Indians pitcher A.J. Schugel was roughed up in just 2/3 of an inning pitched, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk to allow the visitors to cut their deficit in half.
Dovydas Neverauskas got the Tribe out of the trouble in the seventh, but a two-out rally hurt the righty in the eighth. It was his fielding error on a comebacker in the frame that kept the inning alive for Cade Gotta, who tied the game. His triple scored Mike Marjama and after an errant throw to third base went into the dugout, Gotta was allowed to come home as well to give us a brand new ballgame.
We went to extra innings from there and in the eleventh, the Bulls put the finishing touches on their comeback.
Back-to-back singles against Indy reliever Brett McKinney got the final rally started, with Casey Gillaspie shooting Durham ahead 6-5 a batter later with a RBI single to center. The Indians would then go down in order in their half of the eleventh, giving the Bulls the surprising victory.
Now losers of nine of their last ten games, the Tribe is in desperate need of a win on Wednesday. Game two of this three-game set is scheduled for a 1:35 p.m. start with Tyler Eppler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) manning the hill for Indianapolis.
Outfielder Jose Osuna was called up to the major leagues on Tuesday following the news that Pittsburgh Pirates star Starling Marte will have to serve an 80-game suspension for PEDs. Terdoslavich, who can play in both the infield and outfield, was activated and placed on Indy’s roster to replace Osuna.