INDIANAPOLIS – Mitch Keller tossed six innings of one-run ball on Thursday, finally notching his first victory at the Triple-A level with the Indianapolis Indians (65-51).
The 3-1 W gives the Tribe a three-game sweep of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (70-46), the International League’s best team. The Pigs hadn’t lost a series since the middle of June before this trip to the Circle City. Indy has now won 13 of their last 17 ballgames.
Keller certainly looked like the Pittsburgh Pirates’ number one prospect on this night, striking out six Pigs. The righty limited Lehigh Valley to only four hits and one walk, completing his best outing at the level yet.
His six innings and one walk tied Triple-A bests, while his one run allowed set a new high mark while with Indy. Keller also got that elusive first win, but just by a hair.
Jacob Stallings, back in the lineup for the first time since his historic cycle on Tuesday, picked up where he left off with a RBI single in the game’s opening inning. But Lehigh Valley quickly answered in the top of the second, tying the game with their only run of offense versus Keller.
It was some clutch hitting in the sixth that put the Tribe back in front and got Keller in line for a W. Kevin Newman dropped in a one-out double, but was in danger of being stranded on third base when Pablo Reyes dug in with two outs. Reyes drove him home, though, smashing a two-strike single through the right side to hand the Indians a 2-1 advantage.
Stallings was able to get some insurance for the Tribe in the eighth. Indianapolis’ catcher was able to bring Newman home with a two-out knock, who led off with a single.
The Indians’ bullpen got the job done behind Keller, but not without fighting off the Pigs.
Newly acquired lefty Buddy Boshers issued a leadoff walk in the seventh, but got three straight out to keep the visitors off of the board. Steven Brault, optioned to Triple-A less than a week ago, fired a 1-2-3 eighth. And in the ninth, Alex McRae earned his first save despite the IronPigs loading the bases with two outs.
After taking care of Lehigh Valley, Indy will welcome the Pawtucket Red Sox to Victory Field on Friday. The opening game of a three-game set is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. start.