INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians (22-19) were back home at Victory Field on Monday night. The celebrated the occasion with a win.
Tribe starting pitcher J.T. Brubaker threw six innings of two-run ball, helping Indy pick up a 3-2 win over the Louisville Bats (13-27). The Indians completed the victory with a thrilling game-ending double play, one in which first baseman Wyatt Mathisen bare-handed an errant throw off of Louisville’s dugout fence and nailed the tying run at the plate.
Indianapolis struck first, using a two-out rally to lead 1-0 after one. Chris Bostick laced a double off of the right field wall to keep the inning alive, bringing Jacob Stallings to the plate. Stallings gave the Tribe the lead, ripping a RBI single to left as Bostick beat the tag at home.
The Indians extended their advantage to 3-0 in the third.
Kevin Newman started the rally, singling on a hard-hit ball that glanced off of Louisville’s second baseman’s glove. The Bats seemingly had Newman out soon after when he was caught in a rundown, but a throwing error from Louisville first baseman Steve Selsky kept Newman on the basepaths. That was important, as Pablo Reyes followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0. Reyes moved up to second base while the throw came home, then stole third and scored to make it a 3-0 game after Bostick singled.
All three runs came against Bats starter Brandon Finnegan, who would later make his presence felt with a bat in his hands.
Finnegan was opposed on the hill by Brubaker, who was solid for a third consecutive Triple-A start. The righty worked around some trouble to turn in four scoreless innings, but his lone mistake of the evening came against his opposition in the fifth.
Mason Williams singled to start the fifth, but Brubaker answered with a force out and a pop out to bring Finnegan into the batter’s box. Brubaker got to within one strike out putting up a fifth inning zero, but Finnegan launched a 2-2 pitch into the right field lawn to draw Louisville within a run at 3-2.
Brubaker shook off the home run with a scoreless sixth, capping his night on the hill. The 24-year-old kept the Bats at those two runs, giving up four hits and two walks over the course of his six frames pitched. He has shown his stuff at this level thus far, picking two wins and giving up only five runs in 17 innings of work (2.65 ERA).
Behind Brubaker, Indianapolis relied on three relievers to protect a one-run lead.
Bo Schultz was perfect in the seventh. Tanner Anderson surrendered a two-out single, but got a grounder right back to him to close out the eighth. Johnny Hellweg struggled with his control in the ninth, hitting a batter and issuing a four-pitch walk, but he was just barely able to close it out in exciting fashion.
With runners on first and second and one out, Hellweg got Garrett Boulware to ground to second base. Newman stepped on the bag for out number two, but his throw to first was wide and bounced off of the fence of Louisville’s dugout. The ball caromed perfectly into Wyatt’s hand, so he fired home just in time to throw Gabriel Guerrero out and win the game for Indy.
The Indians will face the Bats again on Tuesday, with first pitch slated for an early 11:05 a.m. start. Clay Holmes (2-2, 4.31 ERA) will start for the home team, who looks for a third straight win.