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Indians Defeat Norfolk Behind Morton’s Eight Strikeouts

INDIANAPOLIS – In his second minor league rehab start after having hip surgery in September of 2014, starting pitcher Charlie Morton limited the damage on his way to getting a win for the Indianapolis Indians.

Morton struck out eight batters, allowing two runs (one earned) on 11 hits in seven innings for the Tribe in a 3-2 win over the Norfolk Tides on Thursday night at Victory Field.

Morton and Norfolk starter Zach Davies exchanged scoreless innings in the first and second, but in the third the Tides took the lead due to some shaky defense from the Tribe.

Henry Urrutia led off with a single and Daniel Alvarez followed with what looked to be a routine double play ball to shortstop Gustavo Nunez, but Nunez could not complete the play. The botched double play would come back to haunt the Indians, as Alvarez would come around to score after advancing to second on a groundout, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a Christian Walker RBI single.

Indianapolis would answer in their half of the third against Davies, tying the game on a sacrifice fly from Brent Morel after singles from Alen Hanson and Jose Tabata.

In the fourth, the Tides would take back the lead on a RBI groundout from Paul Janish. Michael Almanzar hit a one-out single to get the offense going for Norfolk, followed by a Julio Borbon bunt single that left runners at second and third on a catching error by Hunter Morris at first base. Janish then gave the Tides a 2-1 lead on a groundout to third that scored Almanzar.

The Tribe would respond again versus Davies, grabbing the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs.

Tony Sanchez led off the frame by striking out, but was able to make it to first on a wild pitch that reached the backstop. Elias Diaz followed with a single, but after back-to-back groundouts, there were runners on second and third with two outs. Gorkys Hernandez would come up with the clutch two-out hit for the Tribe, drilling a double to right to put Indianapolis ahead by a score of 3-2 after four innings.

Davies threw two more shutout innings for Norfolk, allowing three runs on eight hits in his six total innings of work.

Morton would make it through the next three innings for the Indians, needing 96 pitches to give the Indianapolis bullpen a chance to close the game out.

Deolis Guerra came on in relief of Morton in the eighth, retiring the Tides in order to set up Blake Wood for the save opportunity in the ninth.

Wood would nail down his ninth save of the season by striking out the first two batters of the inning before recording the final out of the game on a groundout by Urrutia.

The Indians and Tides will meet at Victory Field again on Friday night, with game time scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Indianapolis’ Casey Sadler (2-2, 2.76 ERA) and Norfolk’s Eddie Gamboa (2-1, 3.19 ERA) are the probable pitchers.

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