INDIANAPOLIS – Just after the Indianapolis Indians‘ seemingly put themselves in control of Thursday night’s game, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders came out of nowhere to steal a victory.
Indians starting pitcher Angel Sanchez threw eight innings of one-run baseball, but the RailRiders came up with a run in each of the game’s final two innings to stun the Indians and earn a four-game series split with a 2-1 win at Victory Field.
Thursday’s game was a full-on pitcher’s duel, with Sanchez and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s pitching staff exchanging scoreless innings until the seventh.
Diego Moreno, normally a relief pitcher, made his third start of the season for the RailRiders and allowed just two hits in four shutout innings. Jose Ramirez took over for Moreno in the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings of his own before the Indians scored the game’s first run in the seventh.
John Bowker began the inning with a single to left, but was stuck on second base after the next two batters of the frame went down quietly. Hunter Morris stepped up to the plate next and would come through for the Tribe, sending a RBI double to right to make it 1-0.
It seemed as if one run would be enough for Sanchez, who cruised through the seventh with only two hits and a walk allowed. Indianapolis may have kept their starter in the game for too long, however, as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s offense came to life to tie game in the eighth.
Kyle Roller started the frame with a double to right and advanced to third a batter late when Gregorio Petit came up with a single to put runners on the corners with no one out. Tyler Austin followed by grounding into a double play, but it would prove to beneficial one as pinch runner Jose Rosario came home to even the score at 1-1.
Sanchez would issue a walk after the run-scoring double play, but ultimately make it through the eighth with the game tied. He surrendered one run on four hits and two walks in eight innings on the mound, but could not pick up the win.
The RailRiders would complete the comeback in the ninth, using two-out small ball to score the deciding run against Indians closer Blake Wood.
Ramon Flores grounded out to second and Rob Refsnyder struck out to start the inning, but a walk to Greg Bird kept the frame alive for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With Gary Sanchez now at the plate, Bird would move up into scoring position on a wild pitch and score when the RailRiders’ catcher recorded a RBI single to center.
Entering Thursday’s game, Indianapolis held a record of 46-1 when leading after seven innings. The loss was just the second of the year in the situation for the Indians and only the third time in 38 tries this season that the RailRiders were able to erase a deficit after the seventh.
Nick Goody, who gave up a walk-off single in Tuesday’s game, entered the game in the ninth and locked up the win for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Tribe went down in order in their half of the inning, allowing the RailRiders to claim a 2-1 win.
After a series split with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Indians will return to divisional play on Friday. The Louisville Bats will come to town for a three-game set, with Radhames Liz (2-2, 1.44 ERA) scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe in the 7:15 p.m. series opener.
Indians reliever Yhonathan Barrios was a part of the trade that brought Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. As a result of the deal, utility man Steve Lombardozzi was designated for assignment and Morris (who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a RBI double in Thursday’s game) was activated from the disabled list.