CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The future of the Indianapolis Indians, and the Pittsburgh Pirates for that matter, shined brightly on Sunday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Frank Duncan, who joined the Tribe for the first time on May 10, threw 6 2/3 solid innings and outfielder Austin Meadows, who made his Triple-A debut with Indy on Saturday, extended his hitting streak to 26 straight games by clubbing his first home run with the team as the Indians won the series against the Charlotte Knights by a score of 6-3 at BB&T Ballpark.
Charlotte struck quickly against Duncan, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Knights picked up three hits in the inning, with Matt Davidson‘s one-out RBI single putting the home team in front early.
The Indians would respond quickly, though, evening the score in the top of the second. Charlotte starter Jacob Turner gave up a single and two walks to begin the frame, but Indianapolis could only get one run out of it, as Ed Easley made it 1-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Indy kept the offense coming against Turner in the third, as Meadows continued to impress. The Pirates number two prospect followed up Pedro Florimon‘s leadoff double with his first Triple-A home run, a two-run shot to right center that gave the Indians a 3-1 advantage.
After a few scoreless frame, the sixth inning would feature plenty of offense, as each side scored multiple runs.
Indianapolis plated three runs in the top of the sixth, with Josh Bell doubling home a run and Danny Ortiz and Easley collecting RBIs on sac flies. Now trailing 6-1, the Knights answered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Back-to-back RBI singles from Leury Garcia and Vinny Rottino got the job done for Charlotte against Duncan.
Turner finished with a final line of six runs allowed on six hits and four walks in six innings pitched and is still without a win since May 13. Duncan was able to make it through 6 2/3 innings of work, the longest start of his Triple-A career, allowing three runs on nine hits as he earned his third consecutive win.
Indy’s bullpen led the team to a victory after Duncan’s departure, using just one pitcher to shut out the Knights in the game’s final 2 1/3 innings. Trey Haley retired all seven batters he faced, finishing off Charlotte for his fifth save of the year and a 6-3 Indians win.
The Tribe’s road trip continues on Monday, when the team opens a four-game set with the Gwinnett Braves. Game time from Coolray Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with Chad Kuhl (5-2, 2.54 ERA) expected to start for Indianapolis.
Catcher Jacob Stallings has been promoted to Pittsburgh, with infielder Jason Rogers optioned back to Indy. Catcher Tomas Morales was promoted from the Single-A Bradenton Marauders to the Indians as well on Sunday, giving the Tribe a new catcher to play behind Easley while Stallings is up in the majors.