CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Back in action for the first time since Tuesday night, the Indianapolis Indians‘ bats were a bit rusty in the first game of their seven-game road trip.
The Tribe recorded just four hits, as they were stymied by Charlotte Knights starting pitcher Terance Marin in a 3-0 loss at BB&T Ballpark on Friday.
Marin was spectacular for Charlotte, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball, but was matched by Indianapolis starter Adrian Sampson.
Sampson cruised through his first three innings of work, retiring nine of the ten batters he faced, before allowing the game’s deciding run in the fourth.
Tyler Saladino led off the frame by crushing a home run to left center off of the Indians’ starter, making it 1-0 with a single swing of the bat.
The mistake to start the fourth would be enough to ruin Sampson’s fantastic start, as he took the loss despite only giving up one run. He completed seven strong innings for the Indians, allowing just three hits and striking out five.
Marin would need just one run with his stellar performance, but would get a pair of insurance runs after he left the game.
Indianapolis closer Blake Wood replaced Sampson in the eighth, but a two-out rally allowed the Knights to build on their slim lead.
Wood struck out the first two batters he faced, but after Chris Marrero singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Micah Johnson was given an opportunity to drive in a run. Charlotte’s second baseman would not disappoint, as he made it 2-0 with a RBI single. The Knights would not stop there, as Johnson stole second and came around to score on a RBI single from Saladino to make it a three-run cushion.
Charlotte’s bullpen did their job in securing the win, as Matt Lindstrom pitched a perfect eighth in relief of Marin before Zach Phillips earned his fourth save of the season by working around a walk in the ninth.
The Indians will be back at it on Saturday night, when they hook up with Charlotte in game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with Angel Sanchez scheduled to make his Triple-A debut on the mound for the Tribe.
On Friday, it was announced that pitcher Collin Balester was traded to the Cincinnati Reds organization for a player to be named later. Sanchez, who will start for the Tribe on Saturday, was promoted from the Double-A Altoona Curve to replace Balester on the Indians’ roster.
Balester has a record of 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA and four saves in 21 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015. The reliever made eight appearances with Indianapolis, with a 3.07 ERA in 14 2/3 innings pitched.
Sanchez comes up to the Triple-A level for the first time in his career after pitching for four different organizations in 2014. After finishing with a record of 2-14 and an ERA of 5.96 last season, the right hander’s numbers look much better with Altoona this year. Sanchez has earned a win in eight of his nine decisions with the Curve, posting an 2.79 ERA in 13 starts.