INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians (9-8) got their first taste of Minor League Baseball’s new extra innings rule on Wednesday. Their first impression wasn’t too favorable.
The Syracuse Chiefs (11-7) rallied to tie the game with two runs in the eighth and win with two in the tenth, taking advantage of MiLB’s new rule that put a runner on second base to start extra innings. Indy got a leadoff single in the bottom of the tenth, and had the tying runs in scoring position with one out, but could not get them home and lost 4-2 in ten.
Chiefs second baseman Irving Falu was the hero, driving in all four of Syracuse’s runs.
Indianapolis’ pitching, which shut out the Chiefs in each of the first two games of this series, also held Syracuse scoreless through seven on Wednesday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Clay Holmes led the charge with five clean innings, limiting the Chiefs to two hits and two walks. The right-hander was efficient, too, tossing just 60 pitches.
Out of the Indians bullpen, Tanner Anderson and Josh Smoker got the home team to the eighth with a 2-0 lead.
The Tribe got runs in the third and sixth innings, with a Kevin Newman run-scoring grounder and a bases loaded walk from Jacob Stallings giving Indianapolis a lead to work with.
Tyler Jones took over on the hill for Indy in the eighth, where Syracuse got a rally started. Jones opened the inning by getting a pop out, but a walk and a double followed to get the visitors stirring. Jones then struck out Bengie Gonzalez, but Falu tapped a ball up the first base line and beat it out. Both runners raced home, tying the score at two runs apiece.
The ballgame went into extras from there, with the Tribe getting their very first look at the new rule.
Tuffy Gosewisch started the tenth standing on second base and Hunter Jones singled to lead off, prompting the Indians to have reliever Damien Magnifico intentionally walk Gonzalez to load the bases. That brought Falu to the plate and he gave Syracuse the lead, knocking a two-run single to left.
Magnifico beared down and got the Tribe out of the inning, leaving the home team with a two-run deficit to gnaw at in their half of the tenth.
Pablo Reyes started on second base for Indy and just like the Chiefs, the Indians got a leadoff single. Unlike their opposition, however, the Tribe were unable to take advantage. Kevin Kramer popped out. Austin Meadows struck out. Jordan Luplow grounded out. And with that, the tying runs were left aboard and the Chiefs avoided a sweep.
Indianapolis will have a day off on Thursday before beginning a six-game Ohio road trip on Friday. First up is a stop in Columbus, where the Indians will battle the Clippers at 7:15 p.m. in Friday’s series opener. Austin Coley (1-1, 10.80 ERA) get the ball for Indy.