SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Indianapolis Indians (69-57) seemed to have Sunday’s game at NBT Bank Stadium won. And then, in no time, they did not.
The Syracuse Chiefs (48-79) tied the ballgame with two runs in the bottom of the ninth and finally walked off with a Chad Huffman double in the 13th, as the Chiefs snagged a 4-3 victory in the series finale. It was a slightly disappointing 2-4 road trip for Indy, who faced a pair of teams under the .500 mark in the heat of the postseason race.
Sunday’s game was scoreless through three, but the Indians broke the deadlock in the fourth. Indy recorded just one hit early on versus Syracuse starter Jaron Long, but three knocks in this frame gave them a 2-0 lead. Danny Ortiz‘s single was the last of the three hits and gave the Tribe their first run, while Edwin Espinal extended Indianapolis’ advantage with a run-producing groundout.
Indians starter Drew Hutchison pitched well on Sunday, surrendering one run on three hits and two walks in six innings of work. The Chiefs scored their lone run off of the righty in the sixth, as Brandon Snyder cranked a solo shot to right center on Hutchison’s only mistake of the afternoon.
With a 2-1 lead in hand, Indy was able to add insurance in the eighth. A leadoff double from Joey Terdoslavich put the visitors in business and Chris Bostick later made it a 3-1 ballgame, bringing Terdoslavich home on a fielder’s choice.
The Tribe clung to that 3-1 cushion as Syracuse came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, but the Chiefs sent the game to extras thanks to a clutch rally.
With Brett McKinney on the hill for Indianapolis, momentum started to swing in favor of the home team. The Chiefs drew a leadoff walk and followed with a single to make McKinney and the Indians sweat. After a sacrifice bunt put the tying runs in scoring position for Jhonathan Solano, Syracuse’s catcher came through with a two-run single that evened the score at 3-3.
Indianapolis owned a 59-4 record when entering the ninth inning with the lead prior to Sunday. By the time this one ended in the 13th inning, they were dealt loss number five.
Syracuse put together a solid threat in the tenth, but a double play helped the Indians keep the game going. It was not until the 13th that today’s contest was decided, as Tribe backup catcher John Bormann ran out of gas.
Bormann worked scoreless 11th and 12th innings in his first ever time on the mound, but each of the Chiefs’ first three batters in the 13th reached to finally give Syracuse a 4-3 win.
Indy heads home now to get their final homestand of the year underway on Monday. Nick Kingham (7-6, 3.66 ERA) is penciled in as the Tribe’s starting pitcher in the 7:05 p.m. opener against the Louisville Bats.
The Indians’ lead in the IL West now sits at four games. As of this writing, the second place Columbus Clippers‘ matchup with the Pawtucket Red Sox has yet to reach a conclusion.