INDIANAPOLIS – After a rough road trip in which they lost six of seven games, it appeared on Friday night that the Indianapolis Indians were more than happy to be back home.
Indianapolis used a six-run first inning and four innings of one-hit baseball from starting pitcher Radhames Liz to defeat the Syracuse Chiefs by a score of 9-1 in the Tribe’s first game at Victory Field in over a week.
The Indians’ offense jumped all over Syracuse starter Scott McGregor in the game’s opening inning, forcing the Chiefs to call on their bullpen after McGregor could only record two outs.
Steve Lombardozzi, John Bowker, Wilkin Castillo and Gorkys Hernandez all hit RBI singles before Liz helped his own cause with a two-run base knock to give the Tribe a 6-0 lead. All five run-scoring hits came with two outs, causing McGregor to leave the game after allowing six runs on five hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning on the hill.
P.J. Walters took over for McGregor and stopped the bleeding for Syracuse in the first, but Brent Morel made sure the Indians’ bats remained hot in the second.
After Willy Garcia got the frame started by grounding out, Morel hit his fourth home run in his last seven games and seventh of the season by drilling a solo shot to left to make it 7-0.
While the Indians were getting it done at the plate, Liz cruised through his four innings on the mound. The Tribe’s starter was effective in his first start of the season, surrendering just one hit while striking out six batters.
Brad Lincoln replaced Liz by tossing a scoreless fifth, but would run into trouble against the Chiefs in the sixth.
Trea Turner advanced to second with one out after Lombardozzi made a throwing error on a potential double play, keeping Syracuse’s offense in business. Then, after Justin Martinson struck out for the inning’s second out, Kevin Keyes cashed in on Indianapolis’ error by making it a 7-1 game with a RBI single to left.
Lincoln exited the game after two innings pitched, allowing one run (none earned) on three hits and three strikeouts.
As for Syracuse’s bullpen, Walters worked into the seventh, when the Indians came up with another two-out rally.
Lombardozzi recorded an one-out single before Castillo was hit by a pitch and Hernandez walked to load the bases with two gone in the frame. Kelson Brown then pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot, sending a two-run double to right to increase the Tribe’s advantage to eight runs.
Josh Wall, Bobby LaFromboise and Yhonathan Barrios combined to shut down the Chiefs in the game’s final three innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks on their way to securing a 9-1 win for Indianapolis.
The Indians will try to make it three wins in a row when they take on Syracuse in the middle game of the series on Saturday night. First pitch from downtown Indianapolis is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with Wilfredo Boscan (4-3, 4.28 ERA) serving as the Tribe’s probable starting pitcher.
Before Friday’s game, it was announced that reliever Deolis Guerra (2-1, 1.23 ERA in 25 appearances) was promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates to replace Rob Scahill on the big league roster. Castillo, who was activated from the disabled list and added to the Indians’ roster, started at catcher and went 1-for-3 with a RBI single and two runs scored in Friday’s game.