NORFOLK, VA – The Indianapolis Indians (19-16) sent 15 batters to the plate in a ten-run second inning and it was almost not enough.
Indy did not score outside of that second inning outburst and the Norfolk Tides (19-16) rattled off eight straight runs, nearly rallying for an improbable win. The Tribe escaped, however, taking the opener of a three-game by a final score of 10-8.
All but two Indians got a hit in this ballgame, but Indianapolis was actually outhit by the Tides by a clip of 14-12.
Tuesday’s game was scoreless after one inning, but that changed significantly by the time the bottom of the second rolled around.
Eric Wood started the top of the second by striking out, but the next three Indians singled to give Indy a 1-0 lead. Chris Bostick was hit by a pitch next, while Austin Meadows followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0. Next up, Jordan Luplow was walked to load the bases. Kevin Kramer then struck out for out number two, but a walk to Jacob Stallings forced home a run and made the Tides call on their bullpen.
Chris Lee exited, bringing Jhan Martinez on to take his place. Martinez wasn’t able to stop the bleeding, as the Tribe went off with two outs.
Martinez actually got Wood to ground to second, but a fielding error cost Norfolk in a big way. The error allowed Indianapolis to push their lead to 5-0, with Wyatt Mathisen coming up next and clearing the bases with a three-run double. Pablo Reyes added a RBI single and after Kevin Newman walked, Bostick singled home Reyes for the Indians’ tenth and final run of the frame.
It was a nightmare scenario for the home team, but the Tides nearly overcame.
Tribe starter Alex McRae fired two shutout innings to start the night, but was drilled for four runs in the third. Norfolk notched five hits and a walk in the frame, quickly trimming their deficit down to 10-4.
McRae did not return for the fourth, making this his second shortest outing of 2018 (0.2 innings pitched in a start in Syracuse on April 18).
Damien Magnifico replaced McRae and tossed three solid innings. Norfolk did get a run in the fourth, making it a five-run contest, but Magnifico kept them off of the scoreboard in the fifth and sixth.
Things began to get dicey for Indianapolis in the seventh. Josh Smoker took over for Magnifico and the Tides took notice, plating three runs. Just like against McRae in the third, Norfolk recorded five hits and a walk in the seventh to cut Indy’s lead down to 10-8.
The Indians just did hold on from there.
Tanner Anderson started the eighth by hitting Ruben Tejada with a pitch, but got three consecutive groundouts to turn in a scoreless inning. Johnny Hellweg then came on to pitch the ninth and earned his seventh save despite surrendering a leadoff single and uncorking a two-out wild pitch.
Game two of this series is slated for a 6:35 p.m. start on Wednesday. J.T. Brubaker (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the nod for the Tribe.