INDIANAPOLIS – After a promising start, the Indianapolis Indians‘ season-opening homestand ended on a thud on Wednesday.
Back-to-back wins got the season started for the Tribe, but a tough 7-6 loss to the Columbus Clippers at Victory Field leaves Indy with a record of 2-5 as they head out for their first road trip of 2017.
Columbus brought the offense immediately on Wednesday, as Erik Gonzalez led off the top of the first with a home run. The Clips’ shortstop smashed Indians starting pitcher Drew Hutchison‘s third pitch of the afternoon over the left field wall, where the ball rolled up to the outfield concourse sidewalk.
The Clippers added on later in the opening frame, as Ronny Rodriguez beat out a throw home from Max Moroff to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
Despite recording seven strikeouts, Wednesday was not really Hutchison’s day. Columbus scored their third run of the game on a Jordan Smith homer in the second and after three consecutive scoreless frames, the Clips knocked Hutchison out for good early in the sixth.
A walk and a single to start the inning forced the Indians to call on reliever A.J. Schugel, who would not be able to hold Columbus back. Back-to-back two-out singles, one of which went for two runs, helped add to the Clippers’ cushion.
Hutchison took his first loss of the season, finishing with a final line of five runs allowed on six hits and two walks.
Indianapolis had a solid day at the plate, especially considering they entered Wednesday’s contest on a 23-inning scoreless stretch, scoring six runs on 11 hits. They just could not seem to get over the hump, however.
Elias Diaz‘s RBI single in the first cut a 2-0 deficit down to one run and a Danny Ortiz run-scoring groundout made it 3-2 in the fifth, but Columbus answered every time.
The teams exchanged runs in the seventh, with Indy’s Chris Bostick making it 7-4 with a two-run single, but it was the eighth inning that made things interesting. A walk and a single set the stage for an Austin Meadows RBI knock and an Anderson Feliz sacrifice fly, which all of the sudden made it just an one-run ballgame.
Unfortunately for the Indians, their rally would fall short in the ninth. Clippers reliever Joseph Colon worked around an one-out single from Bostick, preserving the 7-6 win and the sweep for Columbus.
Still looking to get back into the win column, the Indians head to Toledo to begin a four-game series beginning on Thursday. First pitch from Fifth Third Field is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. with Tyler Eppler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) serving as Indianapolis’ probable starting pitcher.