COLUMBUS, Oh. – Pittsburgh Pirates rehabber Starling Marte homered for the first time since April 15 on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Indianapolis Indians (47-38), that was just about the only highlight.
Marte blasted a three-run home run in the top of the ninth, trimming Indy’s four-run deficit down to one, but it was too late for the Tribe. The Columbus Clippers (44-40) held on for a 6-5 win at Huntington Park, cutting the Indians’ lead in the International League West division standings down to 2 1/2 games.
Columbus wasted no time in taking the lead on Wednesday, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first versus Tribe starting pitcher Drew Hutchison. Consecutive one-out singles set the stage for former Indian Erik Kratz, who smashed a three-run shot over the wall in right center to make it 3-0 in a hurry.
The teams then traded runs in the fourth, as Jordan Luplow drove in Indy’s first run with a single and Ronny Rodriguez recorded a run-scoring groundout for the Clips.
Luplow came out swinging again in the sixth, hitting his second Triple-A homer to make it a 4-2 ballgame, but Columbus answered in the bottom half of the inning. A one-out walk to Giovanny Urshela, followed by a two-run bomb from Rodriguez, was enough to end Hutchison’s night on the mound.
Hutchison finished with a final line of six runs allowed on eight hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings of work. In terms of earned runs allowed, it was the right-hander’s worst outing of the 2017 season.
Indianapolis trailed 6-2 all the way until the ninth, when Marte flexed his muscle. With Eric Wood and Eury Perez on base after drawing walks, the former MLB All-Star clubbed a three-run shot to right center to make Wednesday’s contest interesting. The Clippers hung on, however, as Chris Bostick flied out and Danny Ortiz popped up to end it at 6-5.
The Indians aim to avoid a sweep, and gain some extra breathing room in the standings, in Thursday’s series finale. First pitch from Columbus is set for 7:05 p.m. with Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 1.90 ERA) expected to start for the visitors.