LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After taking a loss in four of his last five starts, Indianapolis Indians starting pitcher Adrian Sampson returned to form on Thursday night.
Sampson shut out the Louisville Bats in seven strong innings of work, earning his first win since June 7, as the Tribe split their six-game series with the Bats with a 4-0 victory at Louisville Slugger Field.
Indianapolis’ starter dodged trouble early, working around a leadoff triple in the first and a two-out double in the second before the Indians’ offense struck in the third. Gift Ngoepe led off with a walk against Louisville starter Dylan Axelrod, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sampson and scored when Alen Hanson sent a RBI single to center to make it 1-0.
The Tribe continue to add to their lead in the fourth, when a pair of Louisville errors helped Indianapolis go ahead by two runs.
John Bowker and Tony Sanchez recorded back-to-back one-out singles to get the attack started and after Willy Garcia reached on a Kristopher Negron fielding error, the bases were loaded for Ngoepe. The Indians would then cash in on another error from Negron, as his throwing error on Ngoepe’s grounder left everyone safe and gave Indianapolis a 2-0 lead. Axelrod would avoid further damage in the inning, however, retiring the next two batters he faced to keep the Bats within a couple of runs.
Louisville’s starter would not be able to hold the Indians to just one run in the fifth, though, as Indianapolis’ lead doubled with one big swing of the bat.
Pedro Florimon began the frame with a single up the middle, but after the next two batters went down against Axelrod, Bowker stepped up to the plate with two outs. Indianapolis’ right fielder would then make it 4-0, crushing a clutch two-run shot to right for his second home run in as many games.
Axelrod would turn in six innings for the Bats, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and six strikeouts, taking his sixth loss of the year in the end.
Sampson, on the other hand, was dominant in getting back to a .500 record on the season. He kept Louisville scoreless in his seven innings pitched, giving up five hits and a walk on only 82 pitches as he notched his seventh win of 2015. Sampson had allowed six or more hits and four or more runs in his past three starts on the mound.
Jeff Inman took over for Sampson with a perfect eighth before Blake Wood entered the game in the ninth. The Indians’ closer retired the side in order, locking up a 4-0 win for the Tribe.
After winning one of three games in Louisville, the Indians will head to Columbus for their final series before the All-Star break. The three-game set with the Clippers begins at 7:15 p.m. on Friday night with Angel Sanchez (3-0, 2.88 ERA) scheduled to take the mound for Indianapolis.