INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians (48-39) cruise into the 2018 All-Star break on a high note, completing a three-game sweep of the Columbus Clippers (45-43) on Sunday.
Indy swung hot bats early and hung on for a 5-4 win over the Clips, giving themselves some breathing room for second place against their division rivals from Ohio.
Kevin Newman set the tone offensively, leading off Indy’s half of the first inning with a home run to left. The Tribe’s next two batters went down, but Ryan Lavarnway started a two-out rally with a double. Wyatt Mathisen then made it 3-0 with the Indians’ second long ball of the frame, steering a two-run shot fair past the left field foul pole.
Indianapolis starting pitcher J.T. Brubaker was solid on Sunday afternoon, but threw a ton of pitches. Brubaker consistently found himself in 3-2 counts throughout the afternoon, but impressively did not issue a single walk.
Brubaker needed 87 pitches to get through four innings of work, a good deal of which came in the top of the fourth. The Clippers worked Brubaker hard in that inning, using a hit by pitch and a single to start a threat. Eric Hasse’s two-run double was the big hit, capping the scoring in the inning and trimming Columbus’ deficit to 3-2. All three batters reached with two outs.
Brubaker was able to leave Haase aboard and wrap up with a final line of two runs allowed on four hits in four innings pitched. It was Brubaker’s second shortest outing of the year, one inning shy of his June 17 start against these same Clippers. He needed 72 pitches to fight through three innings on that day.
Indy got Brubaker’s two runs allowed back in the fifth, however, claiming a 5-2 advantage. A double and a walk set the stage for RBI singles from Jose Osuna and Lavarnway.
Sunday’s game was in good hands with Indy’s bullpen, who held the Clippers in check for just long enough.
Damien Magnifico was selected to eat up some innings following Brubaker’s departure, which he did with ease. Magnifico retired all nine batters he faced, finishing with three perfect innings before turning the ball over to Montana DuRapau.
DuRapau walked a batter in the eighth, but was able to work a clean inning. He returned for the ninth, which turned out to be an adventure. A one-out triple and a two-out homer from Haase allowed the Clips to pull within a run. DuRapau was given the chance to end it with one more out, but walked the next batter he saw on four pitches.
Tanner Anderson was called upon to get the Indians out of the mess, which he did. Anderson ran the count on Drew Maggi to 3-2, but was able to strike him out looking to win the ballgame for the home team.
The Tribe will have three days off (other than the team’s representatives in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday) before hosting an important divisional series versus the Toledo Mud Hens. The Indians will be right back at Victory Field on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m., opening a four-game set with those first-place Hens.