INDIANAPOLIS – In a game that featured 27 hits, leading to eight runs, the Indianapolis Indians (2-1) found a way to get a victory.
The Columbus Clippers (1-2) actually outhit the Tribe 14-13, but a three-run seventh propelled Indy to a 4-3 win at Victory Field. Jordan Luplow and Chris Bostick and were the heroes, notching the game-winning hits.
Alex McRae, making his Triple-A debut, struggled with a high pitch count. One reason for that was Columbus’ success with two strikes.
In the first, the Clippers grabbed a 1-0 lead thanks to a two-out double from Eric Haase. The two-bagger, ripped into the gap in right center field, came with two strikes. Then in the second, the right-hander had to work out of a bases loaded jam. In that second frame, McRae surrendered a leadoff double on a 0-2 pitch and issued two walks after going ahead by two strikes.
Working out of pickles like that forced McRae out of the ballgame after just 3.2 innings of work at 81 pitches. Tanner Anderson took over for him and ended the fourth. McRae wrapped up his Indians debut with a final line of one run allowed on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
The Tribe had evened the score at a run each with three consecutive hits to start the second. Ryan Lavarnway got the RBI single to tie it, but Columbus would untie it against Anderson in the fifth.
Helped by a fielding error by Max Moroff, the Clips loaded the bases with two outs. Nellie Rodriguez came up with the clutch hit, driving in a run with a single to left. Luplow nailed the trail runner to end the inning, however, and that play ended up having importance.
In the bottom of the seventh, Indianapolis mounted a rally.
Todd Cunningham double. Kevin Newman sacrifice bunt leaves runners on the corners after a nice slide from Cunningham at third. Moroff walk. And with one out, Luplow shot the Tribe in front with a two-run single. Finally, Bostick ripped another RBI single to make it 4-2. Baserunning blunders gave the Clippers an unusual double play to close the seventh, however.
The Clippers did answer with a run in the eighth, cutting Indy’s lead to 4-3, but the home team got it right back in their half of the inning. Jerrick Suiter got the RBI on a sharp double to left.
Then in the ninth, Johnny Hellweg closed it out for Indianapolis. Hellweg retired the Clips in order, earning his first save since the 2010 season.
Following a season-opening series win, the Tribe’s homestand continues versus another division rival in the Toledo Mud Hens. The first game of that series is scheduled to get underway from the Circle City at 7:05 p.m. on Monday.