INDIANAPOLIS – 15,172 fans (largest attendance of 2017) at Victory Field were treated to quite the ballgame on Saturday night.
The Indianapolis Indians (58-49) scored runs in each of the game’s first five innings and held on from there, picking up a 5-3 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox (54-52). Indy’s victory ends a four-game losing skid and puts their lead over the Columbus Clippers in the International League West division standings to two games.
All five runs came against PawSox starting pitcher Hector Velazquez.
Home runs put the Tribe on the scoreboard in the third and fourth. Danny Ortiz mashed his tenth long ball of the year in the third, while Gift Ngoepe rocketed a solo shot to right for his third homer in the fourth.
Consecutive doubles by Chris Bostick and Joey Terdoslavich started the night for Indianapolis, pushing across their first run in the opening inning. In the second, Ngoepe made it 2-0 with a RBI triple. And in the fifth, Edwin Espinal broke a 0-for-8 drought with his first Triple-A hit (a run-scoring knock).
When it was all said and done, Velazquez finished with a final line of five runs allowed on eight hits and a walk in five innings pitched. It was his first outing with Pawtucket of more than two runs allowed since his first start of the season on April 11.
Nick Kingham opposed Velazquez on the mound and turned in another solid performance for the Indians.
Kingham limited the Red Sox to one run (a fourth inning RBI groundout to Bryce Brentz) on eight hits and no walks over the course of seven frames of work. It is the right-hander’s second straight outing of seven innings, one run and zero walks.
Things started to get intriguing once Kingham exited, however, as the Tribe’s bullpen nearly coughed this one up.
Dan Runzler climbed the hill in the eighth, but three consecutive one-out doubles resulted in two runs and cut Indy’s lead down to 5-3 by the time the inning ended.
Dovydas Neverauskas took over in the ninth, but needed some spectacular defense to lock up the save. Neverauskas issued two walks and gave up a single, loaded the bases with two outs. Pawtucket’s Sam Travis nearly came up with a big hit, shooting a grounder up the middle. Ngoepe had other plans, though, showing off his range by making a great play and just barely throwing Travis out to secure the win for the home team.
Indianapolis will go for a series split in Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. series finale. Tyler Glasnow (6-0, 1.46 ERA) gets the ball for the Indians.