The Indianapolis Indians returned to the friendly confines of Victory Field last night after a disappointing road trip to Toledo in which the lost three out of four games to their divisional rivals. Things didn’t look much better as the Tribe returned to Indianapolis to face the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees who were the hottest team in the International League and winners of their last six games.
About an hour before game time, a Hitchockian fog spread over the field in downtown Indianapolis, giving the feeling that anything could happen Tuesday night at the Vic. But as quickly as it appeared, it seemed a faint memory by the time Indians starter Donnie Veal started the game with a called strike “right down Meridian” as radio announcer Howard Kellman would, and in fact did say.
If you weren’t at the ballpark early Tuesday night, you missed all of the action as things got going in a hurry. Tribe shortstop Brian Friday made a great diving stop just to the left of second base, and was able to get Scranton’s leadoff hitter Kevin Russo out at first on a very close play. After a walk to second basemen Reegie Corona and a single by shortstop Eduardo Nunez, Veal seemed to have put himself in a tight spot. But a sharply hit grounder again to the left of second base enabled the Indians shortstop Friday to step on second and throw to first for the inning-ending double play.
Things started well for the Indians in the home-halk of the first as leadoff hitter and center fielder Jose Tabita showed his former club–he was drafted by Yankees in 2004–what he is all about by hitting a leadoff double down the left field line. Second basemen Neil Waler was hit by a pitch to put a man on first and second with no outs until first basemen Bryan Myrow singled on a line drive to right field which was enough for Tabitia to motor home.
The Indians super-slugging third basemen Pedro Alvarez popped up for the Tribes first out of the inning, but things were still looking good when right fieder Brandon Jones walked to load the bases. Unfortunately for Indianapolis sports fans everywhere, the good start was all for naught, as catcher Luke Carlin hit a rope right at shortstop Nunez for one out, and he beat Bryan Myrow to second base for the final out of the inning.
It was more of the same for the Indy Indians in the bottom of the second as Friday hit a two out double to get things going. After a stolen base on the very next pitch, he stood just 90 feet from pay dirt. Friday hardly had time to catch his breathe when Tabata hit a dribbler down the third baseline and beat out the throw to first which earned him his 12 RBI of the season. Neil Walker then singled to move Tabaita to third, and Myrow got back at it with another RBI single. Alvarez was once again the human party foul as he grounded out to second base to end the inning.
|Video Highlights from the Indianapolis Indians last BIE day game on May 13, 2010, at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. BIE offers IPS children an opportunity to apply classroom learning to the game of baseball.|
That was it for the fireworks as Tribe starter Veal (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO) was at the top of his game the rest of the night in what was easily his strongest outing of the season. Holding the visiting Yankees to just two hits through seven innings of work improved Veal’s record to 3-2 on the year. Saddled with the loss for Scranton/Wilkes Barre was Jason Hirsh (6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). Hirsh came into last night’s game with a hot hand as he was a winner in his last four straight starts.
Coming on in relief of Veal was Anthony Claggett (1.0 IP, 1 SO) who struck out one in a perfect inning of relief to earn his first hold of the season before Brian Bass (1.0 IP, 2 SO) struck out two in the ninth to notch his second save. The combined shutout by the Tribe was their second of the season and came just one day after they were shutout by the same 3-0 score in Toledo.
The win improves the Indianapolis Indians overall record to 20-18, and the loss moves the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees to 23-14. The Indians continue their series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, May 19 at 11:00 a.m. RHP Mike Crotta is expected to get the nod for the Tribe, while RHP Romulo Sanchez is the probable starter for the Yankees. The early start is due to the Indians “Baseball in Education” learning series for young Indianapolis children from throughout IPS system in which the game of baseball in incorporated with learning materials from subject such as math, science and social studies. Wednesday’s game marks the third such Baseball in Education day for the Tribe this season.
The game can be heard on Indianapolis radio station WXLW-950 AM , or watched live on Comcast and Bright House Networks digital channel 81 with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley giving you the play-by-play. The pre-game show on WXLW-950 AM begins at 10:40 a.m.
EXTRA GAME NOTES
- With his 3-for-4 performance Tuesday night in which he had scored two runs and added an RBI for good measure, Indians center fielder Jose Tabata now leads the International League in hits with 50. In a close second with 49 hits is the Tribes very own second basemen Neil Walker who went 1-for-2 in last night’s contest.
- Tabata also leads the IL with 19 stolen bases after he stole tow against the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees.
- After last night’s victory, the Indianapolis Indians still find themselves in third place in the International League West Division trailing the first-place Columbus Clippers by 2.5 games and the second place Toledo Mudhens by 0.5 a game.
- In news that my only interest me, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-7 Monday night in a 15-inning game. Their game time of 4 hours and 52 minutes fell just 5 minutes short of the Indianapolis Indians 4 hour and 57 minute, 15-inning marathon against the Louisville Bats on April 26, 2010. It isn’t just the near identical time of game the two contests have in common. Both games were called by the same crew of umpires. This information was gathered by Indians TV and radio broadcaster Scott McCauley, that’s the kind of work you get when you tune in to an Indians broadcast.