INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians finally have a win streak going and outfielder Jose Osuna has been the man in the middle of it.
Osuna, who made his debut with Indy on June 30, smashed a home run for the third consecutive game on Saturday and made it count. Tied at 2-2 in the eighth, the 23-year-old clubbed a game-deciding three-run shot to lift Indianapolis to a 5-2 win over the Charlotte Knights at Victory Field.
Before Osuna could take over the headlines, Indians starting pitcher Chad Kuhl was the talk of Saturday’s contest. The right-hander was back on the hill for the Tribe for the first time since June 20, but only lasted one inning.
Kuhl successfully worked his way around a pair of hits in the first before exiting the game with a potential injury. Indianapolis was forced to call on their bullpen for the long haul from there, but Charlotte was able to take advantage for some offense.
Justin Masterson took on a good chunk of the bullpen work with four innings pitched in relief of Kuhl, but could not keep the Knights off of the scoreboard in the third. Six Charlotte batters stepped up to the plate in the frame, with a clutch two-out RBI single from Jason Bourgeois giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Knights would strike again in the seventh, this time scoring against Indy reliever Josh Outman to grab a two-run cushion. Jason Coats came up with the big hit, scoring Carlos Sanchez after a single and a stolen base put him in scoring position.
After Charlotte starter Tyler Danish blanked the Indians for six straight innings, Indy’s bats started to come to life in their half of the seventh. Willy Garcia got the scoring started for the home team with a RBI double and then Gift Ngoepe was able to reach base and tie the score at 2-2 with some two-out luck, taking advantage of a throwing error at shortstop to plate Garcia.
Danish would be lifted after completing the seventh, leaving him with a final line of two runs allowed (one earned) on six hits and seven strikeouts.
The Tribe then finished off their comeback in the bottom of the eighth, following Osuna to a third straight victory. Brad Goldberg took over for Danish and surrendered back-to-back one-out single before Osuna teed off on another game-winning home run. Indianapolis’ left fielder showed off his power, belting an opposite field blast that pushed the Indians ahead by a 5-2 mark.
With a newfound three-run lead, Jorge Rondon was able to cap a good night of relief pitching by working around a two-out single and guiding the Tribe to the win with the save.
After getting swept in three games at the hands of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Indy will get the chance to wrap up a four-game sweep of Charlotte on Sunday. First pitch from the Vic is slated for 1:35 p.m. with Wilfredo Boscan (5-7, 4.23 ERA) expected to make the start for the Indians.
Starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow and catcher Elias Diaz were called up the Pittsburgh Pirates in the majors, while reliever AJ Schugel was optioned to Indianapolis.