INDIANAPOLIS – 19 runs. 26 hits. Quite the show was put on at Victory Field on Sunday afternoon.
Eric Wood clubbed a three-run home run to cap a five-run sixth for the Indianapolis Indians (18-16), who rallied from as many as five runs down to pick up a 12-7 rubber game win. Each Tribe batter recorded at least one hit, as the home team outhit the Columbus Clippers (16-19) by a mark of 18-8.
Indianapolis opened Sunday’s slugfest by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first.
Kevin Newman got things started with a leadoff single, his sixth consecutive hit (4-for-4 on Saturday, eighth inning hit to close Friday). Chris Bostick followed with a groundout, moving Newman into scoring position for Austin Meadows. Meadows promptly doubled to right to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead. Jordan Luplow then grounded out for out number two, but Kevin Kramer singled to plate Meadows and make it 2-0.
Indy’s lead didn’t last long, however, as the Clippers charged back. Tribe starting pitcher Austin Coley retired Columbus with nine pitches in the top of the first, but finishing innings would later haunt the righty.
Yu Chang led off the bottom of the second with a deep drive to right, settling for a double after missing a home run by mere inches. Coley responded by getting a grounder and a pop out and got to a 3-2 count against Mike Papi, but Papi doubled home Chang to cut the Indians’ advantage in half.
In the top of the third, Coley smoothly sat down Columbus’ first two batters before walking Adam Rosales on a 3-2 pitch. That walk hurt, as Melky Cabrera doubled to tie the game and Chang singled to shoot the Clips ahead by a run at 3-2.
Coley’s struggles with two outs were punctuated by inning number four.
With the leadoff man retired, Coley walked Papi and gave up a single to Richie Shaffer. Nellie Rodriguez was next to bat and struck out, but a close hit by pitch call on Brandon Barnes loaded the bases for Rosales. Coley fell behind 2-0 to Rosales and paid for it, as the former major leaguer smashed a grand slam to right.
Coley was able to put an end to that fourth frame, but did not return to pitch the fifth. The right-hander wrapped up with a final line of seven runs allowed on six hits and two walks, with all seven runs scoring with two outs. Coley’s ERA is now at 9.26 after seven appearances (six starts). Multiple runs have been scored against him in all six of his starts, including five or more in three of those outings.
The Indians began their half of the fourth inning with three straight hits, setting off on the comeback trail by trimming the Clippers’ edge to 7-3. That surge knocked Columbus starter Alexi Ogando out of the game, but reliever Jeff Beliveau left runners on the corners and kept the visitors up by four.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tribe did a little two-out damage of their own. Eric Wood doubled to keep the inning alive and it was an error at first base that benefitted the home team. Erich Weiss roped a sharp grounder at the base, but the ball slipped under Rodriguez’s glove and went into right field. It was charged as a rare three-base error, allowing Wood to score and make it a 7-4 game.
Indianapolis got three hits in a row to start the fourth, but outdid themselves by getting four straight to get the sixth going. Newman recorded yet another hit to lead off, with Bostick sticking a single through the right side to put runners on first and third. Back-to-back bloop hits from Meadows and Luplow scored runs and shrunk Columbus’ cushion to 7-6.
Clips reliever Cole Sulser got the hook once Indy drew within a run, but new Columbus hurler Jack Leathersich didn’t fare much better. Leathersich did get Kramer did pop out for out number one, but Wood came up next and connected. Wood demolished a 3-2 pitch deep over the left field wall, suddenly handing the Indians a 9-7 lead with a near 400-foot bomb.
Just for good measure, Indianapolis scored two more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
In the seventh, two hits to start the frame led to runs scoring on a productive groundout and an error. Then in the eighth, the Clippers’ third error of the afternoon set the stage for Indy’s 12th and final run in an active ballgame.
The Indians will have an off day on Monday before beginning a six-game road trip down south on Tuesday. First up is a series with the Norfolk Tides. Alex McRae (0-4, 5.34 ERA) is expected to pitch for Indy in the opener.