ALLENTOWN, PA — First baseman Matt Hague slugged a solo homer but it wasn’t nearly enough
as the Indianapolis Indians (21-8) were halted in their tracks by right-hander Tyler Cloyd en route to a 7-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (11-16) on Friday night at Coca-Cola Park. The defeat snaps Indianapolis’ season-high seven-game winning streak, and ends the Club’s fantastic 2013 start at just one win shy of the 1959 Indians squad, which began the season at 22-7.
Cloyd (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 10 SO) was masterful on the mound tonight, limiting the Indians’ potent offense to just one earned run on four hits through 8.0 lockdown frames in the right-hander’s 2013 coming-out party. The reigning International League Pitcher of the Year defended his crown by not allowing any walks while striking out 10 Tribe batters to pick up his first win of the season and hand the Indians their first loss since the two teams met in a doubleheader on April 24.
The Lehigh Valley starter did not allow more than one hit in any inning throughout the contest, and finished his start by retiring 12 of 13 batters from the fifth to the eighth frame. His 10-strikeout performance was the first double-digit punchout outing by an opponent since Tanner Roark fanned 10 on Aug. 21, 2012 at Syracuse.
Indianapolis starter and Pittsburgh Pirates rehabbing right-hander Charlie Morton (3.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, SO) initially met the opposing hurler pitch-for-pitch through his abreviated outing. Morton, who was limited to just 3.0 frames in his fourth rehab appearance of the season, kept the home team hitless while allowing an unearned run in his no-decision,
Morton’s run came via an error in the opening frame as leadoff batter CF Jermaine Mitchell reached on a booted ball by 2B Ivan DeJesus, and quickly swiped second base to move into scoring position with no outs. The leadoff man then advanced to third on a groundout to the right side and dashed home when 3B Cody Asche floated a sac fly to right, putting the IronPigs up 1-0.
The 1-0 lead marked the first time the Indians have trailed in a contest since the third inning of April 29 vs. Gwinnett.
Following two scoreless frames from both teams, Indianapolis was finally able to broach Cloyd’s shutdown performance courtesy of a solo homer from Hague that knotted the contest at 1-1. Unfortunately, for the Tribe, the lone run was the only dent the visiting team was able to put in the scoreboard.
Recently converted reliever LHP Kris Johnson (L, 3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, BB, 5 SO) took the ball from Morton in the bottom of the fourth, and immediately found himself in trouble with a leadoff walk to Asche. LF Darin Ruf then reached on a single to left field, and following back-to-back outs, RF Leandro Castro slapped a two-out, two-run double that gave Lehigh Valley a 3-1 edge.
The IronPigs added another score in the fifth on an RBI tripe from 2B Cesar Hernandez, pulling ahead 4-1, before Lehigh Valley truly began to pour it on in the bottom of the sixth frame.
1B Cody Overbeck got things rolling with a line drive single, and after he stole second base, the runner moved up to third with a base knock from Castro, who then himself, nabbed second base. SS Michael Martinez then augmented the IronPigs’ lead with a smoked grounder up the middle, bringing in Overbeck and Castro to make the score 6-1.
Mitchell then flied a triple to right to bring Martinez plateward and conclude the three-run inning with Lehigh Valley up 7-1.
The IronPigs closed down the rout with RHP Justin De Fratus, who authored a scoreless ninth in relief of Cloyd’s masterpiece. De Fratus allowed a leadoff single from Ford before inducing a groundball double play and collecting a strikeout to slam the door.
The Tribe and IronPigs will resume their series tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. at Coca-Cola Park. Indianapolis is expected to send RHP Gerrit Cole (2-1, 2.31) to the hill while Lehigh Valley is scheduled to give the ball to LHP Adam Morgan (1-2, 3.23).
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