LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In Thursday’s series finale at Coolray Field, the Indianapolis Indians were able to head home on a high note as they earned both a series split and a winning road trip with a victory over the Gwinnett Braves.
A five-run fifth frame was the difference in the contest, as the Tribe took the lead for good on their way to a 9-5 win over the G-Braves. The victory allowed Indy to take two of four games from Gwinnett and four of seven overall on their road trip.
Thursday’s game remained scoreless until the fourth, when the Indians plated a run against Gwinnett starting pitcher Chris Ellis. It was a two-out rally that gave Indianapolis the lead, as Willy Garcia doubled and then scored to make it 1-0 on an Ed Easley RBI single.
The Tribe’s lead would not last for long, however, as the Braves took a 3-1 lead with a three-run bottom of the fourth against Indians starter Trevor Williams. Seven G-Braves batters hit in the inning, with a two-run Matt Lipka single and a run-scoring wild pitch putting Gwinnett in front.
Momentum would shift in the top of the fifth, though, as Indianapolis broke the game wide open with five runs. Three consecutive walks started the inning, with an Adam Frazier RBI groundout and a Josh Bell RBI single tying the score at 3-3 and forcing the Braves to pull Ellis. Ryan Weber would replace Ellis, but the Indians would continue to drive in runs, with a RBI single from Cole Figueroa and a run-producing groundout from Easley giving Indy a two-run advantage.
Four of the five runs scored in the fifth were charged to Ellis, who finished with a final line of five runs allowed on three hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
Williams rolled into the sixth for the Indians, where Gwinnett got after him and ended his night. Indianapolis’ righty gave up a pair of singles and hit a batter in the frame, allowing a Braeden Schlehuber grounder to make it a 6-4 ballgame.
Kelvin Marte replaced Williams and got the Tribe out of the inning, leaving Williams with a final line of four runs allowed on ten hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Williams would end up earning his second straight win with Indy and Marte notched a 3 1/3 inning save, giving up just one run on two hits the rest of the way out of the bullpen.
The Indians added runs in the seventh and ninth against Gwinnett’s relievers, taking us to our final score of 9-5.
In the seventh, Bell and Figueroa each picked up their second RBIs of the game as Bell tripled and Figueroa singled. Then in the ninth, Bell ripped a double for his third hit of the night and scored a batter later when Danny Ortiz came up with a RBI single.
The Tribe will return home on Friday to take on the Buffalo Bisons, as they open a six-game homestand at Victory Field. Frank Duncan (4-2, 3.00 ERA) serves as Indy’s probable starting pitcher for the 7:15 p.m. contest.