INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - After Indianapolis took an early 7-2 lead with a six-run second, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre battled back with six runs of their own over the fifth and sixth innings, but the Indians grabbed back the lead for good with two scores of their own in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 9-8 win over the Yankees on Monday night at Victory Field.
In a back-and-forth slugfest, the two teams combined for 17 runs on 21 hits and every single batter that came to the plate reached base at least once.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre jumped on the board first with two scores in the top of the first. CF Chris Dickerson led off the game with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a single by 2B Corban Joseph and came plateward on a groundout by LF Ronnier Mustelier. 1B Russell Branyan added a two-out base knock later in the first to drive in Joseph and give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Indianapolis, would respond in a big way with a six-run bottom of the second, taking advantage of a wild stretch by Yankees starter Dellin Betances, who surrendered three walks, a hit by pitch and two wild pitches in the frame. DH Jeff Clement began the rally with a base hit to center and, following a walk to SS Jordy Mercer, came plateward on single by 2B Yamaico Navarro.
Navarro would then be caught attempting to steal before 1B Jeff Larish drew another base-on-balls to set the stage for RF Brandon Boggs, who lined a single to right to plate Mercer and even the score at 2-2. After striking out C Jose Morales, Betances would then lose all control, hitting LF Gorkys Hernandez with a pitch to load the bases before letting loose back-to-back wild pitches to plate Larish and Boggs and extend the Indians lead to 4-2.
3B Anderson Hernandez followed the wild pitches with another bases-on-balls before CF Starling Marte completed the rally with a bases-clearing double that scored both Gorkys Hernandez and Anderson Hernandez. The two-run double for Marte was the begining of big night for the Indians center fielder, who finished the contest 2-for-4 with a walk, double, triple and three RBI.
However, what looked to be a commanding 7-2 lead would quickly vanish as the Yankees put together back-to-back three-run rallies in the fifth and sixth frames.
Mustelier led off the fifth with an infield hit, moved to second on a walk by DH Jack Cust and came plateward on a base knock by 3B Brandon Laird. RF Colin Curtis then followed with a two-run double to score Cust and Laird and cut the Tribe lead to 7-5.
The Yankees would then take back the lead with three more scores in the top of the sixth, beginning with an RBI double from Mustelier that plated Joseph, who drew a one-out walk earlier in the frame. Branyan then gave Scranton the lead back with one swing of the bat when he launched a two-run longball to right-center.
Despite losing a five-run advantage, the Tribe would not go away quietly as they put together a rally of their own in the bottom half of the sixth, plating the equalizing and go-ahead runs all with two outs.
Gorkys Hernandez began the rally with a two-out base hit to right before stealing second and coming home on a base knock by Anderson Hernandez that just snuck through the right side of the infield. Marte then stepped to the plate and ripped his International League-leading ninth triple of the season to plate Anderson Hernandez for what turned out to be the game-winning run.
In a contest dominated by the offenses, Indians reliever Daniel McCutchen (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) earned the victory to improve to 4-2, despite suffering his first blown save. Tribe right-handers Evan Meek (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 SO) and Tim Wood (1.0 IP, 2 SO) finished off the contest with three scoreless frames of relief, with Meek earning his fourth hold and Wood notching his team-leading 10th save.
Neither starter figured in the final decision as both Indians starter Daniel Cabrera (4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO) and Betances (3.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) suffered from control issues in limited outings. Yankees reliever Mike O'Connor (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) suffered the loss after surrendering the Tribe's final two scores.
With the victory, the Indians improved their International League-best record to 47-30 and maintained their 9.5-game lead in the IL's West Division. Indianapolis will now welcome in Toledo for a four-game series beginning on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. with LHP Rudy Owens expected to take the mound for the Tribe and the Mud Hens scheduled to counter with top prospect Jacob Turner.
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