The Indianapolis Indians (31-13) were the beneficiaries of home runs from shortstop Josh Harrison, right fielder Jerry Sands and left fielder Brett Carroll as they knocked six total extra-base hits in a 6-3 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox (25-18) on Saturday night at McCoy Stadium. The three-homer performance marks the second time in just four games the Tribe has lifted three dingers in one game, after previously accomplishing the feat last Wednesday vs. Buffalo.
Despite the final result, both team’s offense sputtered through the evening’s opening frames, as each respective starter navigated 2.0 scoreless innings. Neither hurler allowed a base hit during the pair of innings, however, Tribe starter LHP Kris Johnson (W, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) retired his first 10 batters faced to extend his scoreless outing through three full frames, while LHP Franklin Morales (L, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) was tagged for a trio of runs in the top of the third.Hot hitting 2B Ivan DeJesus sparked the third-inning rally with his 12th hit in his last 10 games, a single that was lined into center field, before DH Darren Ford coaxed a one-out walk. With a pair of runners on the base paths, Harrison connected on a 2-2 offering for his first homer of the season, giving the Tribe a quick 3-0 edge.
The lead proved to be short lived as Pawtucket responded by evening the score in the bottom of the fourth, beginning with a walk from 1B Drew Sutton, who immediately moved to second on a single from RF Bryce Bretnz in the next at-bat. As Johnson coaxed a flyout to center from 3B Brandon Snyder, Pie over-sailed his cutoff man on the throw from the outfield to allow both runners to advance into scoring position.
With a chance to cut into their deficit, the PawSox turned to an unlikely hero in LF Jeremy Hazelbaker, as the outfielder entered today’s contest batting just .150 with no RBI against left-handed pitchers. However, that all changed with one swing when Hazelbaker lined a single to left that brought both Sutton and Brentz plateward to propel Pawtucket within 3-2.
Hazelbaker then continued to harass Indianapolis in the frame, swiping second base before dashing home on an RBI double from CF Ronald Bermudez to knot the contest at 3-3 after the fourth.
The Indians’ quickly offered a little payback from the Red Sox three-run outburst by putting two more dents in the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Last night’s hero Sands stepped to the plate, and although his triple from last night came up just short of a homer, the slugger finished the job tonight by hammering a monstrous shot to left to retake the lead 4-3. Sands’ solo homer was his first of the season, despite knocking 26 HR in 2012.
Three batters later, Harrison extended the Tribe’s lead to 5-3 as he reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and crossed home on a double down the right-field line from Pie. Harrison’s run scored was just a small part of his impressive performance tonight, as the infielder finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, one home run, three RBI and a two stolen bases.
Following a Red Sox pitching change, Carroll put the exclamation point on the evening with a one-out blast that sailed over the left-field wall to make the score 6-3. After leaving the yard tonight, Carroll has now produced three home runs over his last four games and five dingers over his previous nine contests.
Though the damage had already been done, PawSox RHP Terry Doyle (3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) still worked 3.0 impressive innings in which he limited Indianapolis’ powerful bats to just two hits and no earned runs. The reliever walked three but also fanned three as he kept the contest relatively close through last three innings.
Preserving the win then fell on the Tribe’s dominant right-hander Ryan Reid (SV, 2.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 2 SO). The reliever worked a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth in relief of Johnson to both pick up his first save of the season and extend his team season-high scoreless frames streak to 23.1 IP. Reid, who has not allowed a score since April 10 vs. Toledo, fanned four through a season-high tying 3.0 IP to slam the door on Pawtucket, pick up the save and preserve the Indians 6-3 win.
The Tribe and PawSox will continue their four-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium. Indianapolis is expected to throw RHP Gerrit Cole (3-1, 2.55) while Pawtucket is scheduled to give the ball to RHP Allen Webster (2-0, 2.52).
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