INDIANAPOLIS – In front of a season-high 14,366 fans, 2017’s 4th of July Indianapolis Indians (47-37) home game was one dominated by pitching.
Tribe starting pitcher Steven Brault gave up just one run in six innings pitched, but it was enough for the Columbus Clippers (43-40) to pick up a 1-0 win at Victory Field. Tuesday’s contest was Indy’s 20th consecutive 4th of July game at the Vic and with the loss, the Indians are now 10-10 in those ballgames.
Despite his seven-game winning streak ending, Brault was fantastic yet again for the Tribe.
The lefty was mowing down batters through the game’s first five innings, but the Clips struck in the sixth for the evening’s lone run. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for the visitors, with Ronny Rodriguez‘s sacrifice fly bringing home the eventual winning run.
Brault finished up with a final line of one run allowed on three hits and three walks. Rodriguez’s RBI was the first run Brault has allowed at Victory Field since May 11.
Ryan Merritt was the man on the mound for the Clippers and the right-hander had his way with Indianapolis. The Indians did not record an extra-base hit all night long and outside of a bases loaded threat in the sixth in which Eury Perez was thrown out at the plate, Indy did not pose much of a threat offensively.
Merritt turned in a final line of no runs allowed on four hits and two walks in seven frames pitched.
The 1-0 loss was the Tribe’s sixth of the year and the club’s 11th shutout defeat of the season, which is the most for an International League team. Ten of those shutout losses have come at home.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, who was suspended for 80 games for performance-enhancing drugs, started the Triple-A portion of his major league rehab in Tuesday’s game. The two-time Gold Glove winner served as Indianapolis’ designated hitter and went 0-for-3 with a hit by pitch. He will continue to play with the Tribe until his suspension expires on July 18.
The Indians and Clippers will continue this series on Wednesday, as the scene shifts to Columbus. Game time from Huntington Park is slated for 7:05 p.m. with Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.26 ERA) expected to pitch for Indy.