INDIANAPOLIS – Saturday night was all about the Indianapolis Indians (47-39).
Tribe starting pitcher Casey Sadler fired six shutout innings and the Indians broke the game open with four runs in the eighth, cruising by the Columbus Clippers (45-42) for a 7-0 victory. The win puts Indianapolis 2.5 games ahead of the Clips for second place in the division. The Indians trail the Toledo Mud Hens by a game and a half for the top spot in the IL West.
Indy’s previously scheduled starter, Alex McRae, earned his first-ever promotion to Pittsburgh before he could reach Victory Field’s mound on Saturday. Sadler did an admirable job in his place.
The right-hander gave up five hits and issued one walk, but shut out the Clippers over his six innings of work. It was Sadler’s first start since June 24, when he tossed five scoreless frames versus Durham.
Jesus Liranzo was the only Indians hurler to pitch behind Sadler. Liranzo completed a three-inning save, no-hitting the Clippers to secure the shutout for the home team.
Offensively, the Tribe took advantage of an error to go ahead early.
Indianapolis notched two singles and were the beneficiary of a hit by pitch, loading the bases in the bottom of the second with no one out. Jason Martin was next to bat and hit a dribbler back to Columbus pitcher Mitch Talbot, who bobbled an attempted throw home and ended up choosing to throw to first base. That throw ended up in right field, allowing Martin to reach and two runners to score.
Talbot was able to strike out the side following the error and blanked the Indians in his next two innings of work before the home team struck again.
Sean Rodriguez provided the power for Indy in the fifth inning, slamming a solo shot to left to give the Tribe a 3-0 edge. It was Rodriguez’s first homer and fourth run batted in, playing in his sixth rehab game with Indianapolis.
A 3-0 lead would be more than enough, but the Tribe added four more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Three walks, two hits and a wild pitch entailed an eventful inning that left Indy ahead 7-0.
The Indians will go for the sweep of the Clips on Sunday afternoon in their final game before the All-Star break. J.T. Brubaker (4-3, 3.77 ERA) gets the nod on the hill for Indianapolis.
The International League announced on Saturday that Indians right-handed pitcher Tyler Eppler will play for the IL in next week’s Triple-A All-Star Game. Eppler will join infielder Kevin Newman as Indy’s representatives.