INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians (40-32) came through in the clutch on Saturday night, treating a season-high 14,598 fans at Victory Field to a great game.
Jung Ho Kang tied the game with a two-out single in the ninth and a bases loaded walk to Pablo Reyes won it for the Tribe in the tenth, as Indy picked up a 7-6 victory over the Durham Bulls (40-32). It was the Indians’ second walk-off of the season, upping their record to 2-27 when trailing after eight innings.
Brandon Lowe, who homered in Durham’s win over the Indians on Friday, was also a thorn in Indy starter J.T. Brubaker’s side on Saturday.
Following a scoreless first, Lowe took Brubaker deep for a two-run shot. We would hear from him again.
The Tribe answered the Bulls’ two runs in the top of the second by scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. Jordan Luplow singled and Kevin Newman walked to open the frame, with Ryan Lavarnway’s 429-foot blast to dead center giving the home team a 3-2 edge.
That 3-2 edge didn’t last too long, however.
Durham reclaimed the lead in the fourth, as Lowe cane to the plate after two of their first three batters in the inning recorded hits. Lowe got a hit too, mashing a three-run homer to right center to hand the Bulls a 5-3 advantage.
Saturday’s back-and-forth battle continued in the fifth, where the Indians evened the score at five runs each.
Newman doubled with one out and Kang walked with two outs, leaving Luplow with a chance to make something happen. He did just that, doubling to center to plate both runners and tie the game at 5-5.
The Bulls quickly took back control of the game, though.
Brubaker, despite Lowe’s two long balls, remained on the mound for Indianapolis in the sixth. Durham got a leadoff double in the frame, but Brubaker followed with consecutive outs before Bo Schultz replaced him.
Schultz was unable to keep the game tied, serving up a RBI double to Jeremy Hazelbaker that pushed Durham back in front.
The run scored on Hazelbaker’s knock was charged to Brubaker, who finished with a final line of six runs allowed on nine hits in 5.2 innings of work. His six runs allowed ties a career high and serves as the most runs allowed in a start this season in either Double-A or Triple-A.
Durham clung to their one-run lead all the way until the bottom of the ninth, where the Indians rallied.
Erich Weiss worked a leadoff walk to start the ninth, giving Indianapolis a source of hope. Newman followed with a sacrifice bunt, getting it down with two strikes to move Weiss into scoring position. Once there, Reyes came in to pinch run for Weiss. Chris Bostick grounded out and was unable to move Reyes up a base, bringing Kang to the plate with two gone. Kang delivered for the Tribe, sliding a single past Lowe’s glove to score Reyes and tie the game once again.
In extra innings, the Bulls quickly put runners on the corners but couldn’t score. Adam Moore grounded into a double play, leaving Lowe standing on third base with two outs. Lowe wouldn’t get any further, as Hazelbaker grounded out to end the top of the tenth.
In Indy’s half of the tenth, the bases were loaded in an instant. A sacrifice bunt that went for a single and a walk brought Wyatt Mathisen to the batter’s box with a chance to be a hero. Mathisen struck out swinging, giving Reyes the opportunity. Reyes didn’t even have to take the bat off of his shoulder to do so, taking four straight balls to force home the ballgame’s winning run.
The final game of this series and the homestand is scheduled for a 1:35 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon. Clay Holmes (6-3, 3.39 ERA) will aim to win the rubber game for Indianapolis.