Indians Win Wild One: Beat Buffalo Again

Even Mother Nature seems to be no match for the Indianapolis Indians these days. The Tribe waited out a 90 minute rain delay Friday night at Victory Field before getting down to the business of beating the visiting Buffalo Bisons, 8-5. Things didn’t look good early for the Hoosier hardballers as they spotted the Bisons a 4-0 lead. But before the night was through, all the loyal Indianapolis sports fans who braved the weather were rewarded with a few fireworks both during and after the game.

Indianapolis starting pitcher Donnie Veal (5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) had control issues throughout his five innings of work, but got better as the night progressed. Already up 2-0 after the first inning, Buffalo’s Triple-A lifer Mike Hessman stepped to the dish in the top-half fo the third inning looking to add to his one RBI already.

The Bisons third basemen Hessman just missed a three-run home run in the top of the first inning thanks to the gusty winds in downtown Indianapolis last night. In his second at bat, on an 0-2 curveball, he would not be denied. He picked a pitch off his shoe laces that got friendly with the  left field foul pole for a 2-run home run and a 4-0 Buffalo lead.

Video highlights of the Indianapolis Indians come-from-behind win last night at Victory Field over the Buffalo Bisons. Even Mother Nature can’t stop the Tribe right now.

At this point in the game it looked as if was going to be a long one for the Indy Indians, but instead of packing it up, the Tribe picked it up. Starting slowly with one run in the bottom of the fourth, on a no outs bases-loaded walk on four pitches to second basemen Brian Friday, the home team was poised to add a few more.

But in the blink of an eye, shortstop Argenis Diaz bounced a dribbler back to Buffalo’s starting pitcher Dillion Gee (5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO) for a 1-2-3 double play and Indians hurler Veal skied a foul ball straight back to Bisons catcher Josh Thole to put the kibosh on what could have been.

What followed in the fifth inning is telling of the Tribe’s recent turnaround. Before their 7-win 3-loss road trip, the Indians most likely would have stuck to that one single run and allowed the visitors to tack on a few more for good measure. But the new-look Circle City team no longer plays that.

Indy posted four runs in the bottom of the fifth–capped off by a 2-run home run from catcher Luke Carlin–to take a one run lead. The Tribe then added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give themselves some breathing room.

With the wind blowing so powerfully last night that it would have surprised no one if Dorothy and Toto touched down in centerfield, Carlin said of his home run, “With the wind blowing like that, I was trying to get a ball up, something I could drive. I got into a fastball count and looked for one and he (Bisons’ starter Dillion Gee) gave it to me. I pretty much hit it with all I had right there.”

The two teams exchanged runs in the eight inning before Indians closer Jean “Macho Man” Machi (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) came in and closed the door for his third save of the season.

Last night’s win pushes Veal’s record to 2-2 on the season, while the loss moves Buffalos Gee to 3-1. The Indianapolis Indians are 2 games above .500 for the first time all season with a record of 15-13, and the Bisons move to 16-12 overall.

The two teams do it all again on Saturday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. where RHP Mike Crotta is expected to toe the rubber for Indianapolis, and RHP Tobi Stoner is the probable starter for Buffalo.

Video of the newest addition to the ZOOperstars that will be appearing at Victory Field this Saturday in downtown Indianapolis.

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 6:40 p.m.

Saturday’s game is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis for all Indianapolis kids because every Saturday home game is ZOOperstar Zaturday where some of the biggest sports fan from the nearby Indianapolis Zoo in White River State Park will be on hand to get the crowd going. For ticket information, or a complete schedule of all Indians games, visit the team’s Web site today.

Extra Game Notes

  • Last night’s game marked the first time in 13 straight contests where the Indians did not score the first run of the game.
  • Indianapolis third basemen Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-3 last night but plated 4 fellow Tribe members–giving him a total of 29 RBIs on the season which is good enough for third in the International League. Alvarez has now driven in a run in each of his last seven games and has totaled 17 RBI during the streak.
  • Indians center fielder Jose Tabata continues to get on base with frightening regularity. Tabata has now reached base in all but one game he has played this season and has scored at least one run in each of his last eight games.While much of the preseason hype was given to the hard-swinging hitter Alvarez, Tabata has been the Tribe’s most consistent offensive player. Tabata went 2-for-4 last night, scoring 3 runs and stole his IL leading 14th base of the season.
  • With the win lat night, the Indianapolis Indians have now moved into sole possession of second place by half a game in the International League West Division. They still trail the Columbus Clippers by 3.5 games. The two teams won’t face each other until the July 4th weekend at Victory Field.