In the span of two hours, Indianapolis Indians right fielder Kevin Melillo went from goat to golden boy as he scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning last night at Victory Field for a 6-5 win. Indianapolis has now won four out of five games on their current home stand, including the first contest of a four-game tilt against the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Tuesday night’s game looked as though it would be a wet one with a storm system blanketing much of downtown Indianapolis. But the baseball gods must have wanted to see some action because the Victory Field ground crew rolled-up the tarp in time for the scheduled start of 7:05 p.m. Starting on the hill for the home team was right-hander Charlie Morton who was making his 2010 Triple-A debut with Indy after spending the first few months of the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Starting pitcher Charlie Morton was on the hill for his first Triple-A start of the 2010 season.
The Indians were able to jump to an early lead in the bottom of the first as two of their star players did what they do best. First, leadoff man and left fielder Jose Tabata drew a walk to open the game and promptly stole his International League leading 24th base. After the two and three hitters popped-out, super-slugging third basemen Pedro Alvarez lined a double to right center field and Tabata scored to put Indianapolis on the board.
The visiting Pawtucket Red Sox were quick to respond in the top of the second as they scored two runs of their own. Things got started when first basemen Lars Anderson singled. He then moved to third base on a single from designated hitter Aaron Bates, who moved to second on a throwing error from the Tribes right fielder Melillo. Indians starter Morton was able to get the next two batters out and almost made it through the inning unscathed until Pawtucket’s third basemen Jorge Jimenez hit a two-run single to right. Jimenez was thrown out trying to advance to second base by Tribe catcher Luke Carlin, but the damage was done and the visitors lead 2-1.
The score remained the same until the top of the fourth inning when sloppy play form the Hoosier-hardballers extended the Paw Sox lead. Pawtucket left fielder Ryan Kalish reached first on a fielder’s choice that left DH Bates out at second for the first out of the frame. Next up was catcher Dusty Brown who doubled to left field and drove in Kalish for a 3-1 Pawtucket lead.
Third basemen Jimenez walked to put runners on first and second but center fielder Bubba Bell flied out for out number two. It looked as though the Tribe would be able to limit the damage to just one run when second basemen Niuman Romero hit an easy fly ball to right field. The only problem for Indianapolis sports fans in attendance was that right fielder Melillo miss played the ball and watched it bounce off of his glove for his second error of the game. It was a costly mistake to the tune of two more runs for the Paw Sox and a 5-1 lead.
Indians outfielder Brian Melillo had a costly error that cost the Tribe two runs.
The score remained the same into the seventh inning as it appeared the Circle City crew just didn’t have their “A-game” last night. But the Tribe wouldn’t call uncle just yet and put together an impressive home half of the frame.
Second basemen Brian Friday starting things off with a single to center, and moved to second on a base hit from shortstop Argenis Diaz. Tabata singled as well which score Friday and left Indians on first and second with no outs. Melillo started to make up for his two errors with a single to left field that scored Diaz and Tabata as the Pawtucket left fielder Kalish missed played the ball for an error.
After moving to second on Kalish’s blunder, Melillo advanced to third base on a Brian Myrow fly ball. With Alvarez at the plate, Pawtucket reliever Dustin Richardson threw a wild pitch that scored Melillo and tied the game at 5-5. Pedro walked but was stranded at first as center fielder Jonathan Van Every was called out on strikes to end the inning.
The score remained dead-locked at five at the end of nine innings and the two teams headed to extra-innings to settle the contest once and for all.
In the bottom of the eleventh inning Kevin Melillo was given a chance to make up for his two costly errors earlier in the game, and he delivered. After Tabata lead off the inning with a pop out in foul territory to the first basemen, Melillo stepped to the plate and smacked a deep fly ball to right-center field. The ball hit the warning track as it fell just out of the reach of Pawtucket right fielder Daniel Nava. Melillo was cruising into third base with a stand up triple when the cutoff throw from second basemen Romero sailed over the head of Jimenez and into the Indianapolis Indians dugout. Melillo automatically advanced on the play and the ball game was over, Indians win 6-5 thanks for coming out.
The entire Indians team was all smiles as they celebrate Kevin Melillo’s walk off triple in the bottom of the 11th inning. He is under there somewhere.
Further proof that the baseball gods wanted to get this one in was the fact that no more than five minutes after “The Vic” erupted in winning jubilation, the heavens opened and rain came pouring down.
Neither starter figured in the final decision thanks to the late game heroics. For the Indians, Charlie Morton (3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) allowed five runs, only two were earned, on six hits over 3.2 innings in his first Triple-A start of the season. Red Sox right-handed starter Adam Mills (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) gave up just one run on five hits over six complete inning of work.
The two teams are at it again early on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch. The hometown Indians will look to right-handed Mike Crotta to keep the winning ways going and will be opposed by Pawtucket’s left-handed Kris Johnson.
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 12:40 p.m
EXTRA GAME NOTES
- Indianapolis Indians left fielder Jose Tabata stole two more bases in Tuesday night’s game which extended his already International League lead to 25 for the season. Tabata now has six more stolen bases than the Charlotte Knights second basemen Brent Lillibridge and the Durham Bulls first basemen Dan Johnson who both have 19 for second best.
- Indianapolis pitcher Brad Lincoln has been called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and will make his Major League debut on wednesday night in Washington D.C against the Nationals.
- The win pushes the Indianapolis Indians record to 32-27 which is good enough for a share of second place in the International League West Division with the Toledo Mud Hens. The two rivals are now just 3.5 games back from the division leading Columbus Clippers. Toledo is hosting the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as Columbus plays host to the Rochester Red Wings.
- The win also marks only the second time all season that the Indians have been 5 games above .500.