LOUISVILLE, Ky. (IndyIndians.com) - Third baseman Yamaico Navarro and shortstop Jordy Mercer each belted home runs and combined to collect all five Tribe RBI as the Indianapolis Indians earned a four-game series sweep of the Louisville Bats with a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
Louisville looked on their way to preventing a series sweep when they jumped to an early lead with single scores in the second and third frames.
C Dioner Navarro led off the bottom of the second with a double to right and, after a single by 1B Neftali Soto, would come around to score the game's first run when 3B Mike Constanzo grounded into a double play. The Bats then extended their advantage to 2-0 in the bottom of the third, when 2B Willie Harris ripped a one out double before trotting home when CF Denis Phipps followed with a line drive single to right.
However, after being shut out by former Indians RHP Sean Gallagher for the first three frames of the game, the Indians' offense would erupt for a four-run fourth to take a lead they would not relinquish. RF Starling Marte, who saw his eight-game streak of collecting multiple hits come to an end on Tuesday night, led off the fourth with his only base knock of the contest, a single to right.
1B Jeff Clement followed Marte's base knock with one of his own to set the stage for Navarro, who belted a three-run home run to center field to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. Following the homer, which was Navarro's fourth on the season, Mercer connected on a double to left and C Jose Morales rolled a single to center to give the Tribe five straight base knocks to begin the frame.
Mercer would finally come around to score the final score of the inning when RF Jeff Larish grounded into a double play to extend the Indians advantage to 4-2. The Indianapolis offense was not finished, however, as they tacked on three more insurance tallies in the sixth and seventh innings.
Navarro and Mercer teamed up for all three insurance scores beginning with the Indians' single score in the sixth where Navarro led off the frame with a double to left before coming around to score when a sacrifice bunt attempt by Mercer was thrown wildly away. Then in the seventh Navarro drew a two-out base-on-balls before coming plateward when Mercer followed with a two-run longball to left.
The homer was Mercer's fourth on the season and first since returning from a stint in the Majors with Pittsburgh. The longball also completed an impressive offensive night from the Tribe's dynamic duo as Navarro and Mercer combined to go 5-for-7 with two doubles, two home runs, five runs scored and all five Indians' RBI.
Louisville would manage a single score in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Cody Puckett, but it wouldn't be enough as the Indians shut down the rally to come away with the 7-3 victory.
Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk (6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO) improved to a team-best 8-0 on the season after scattering nine hits over six innings of work. Following VandenHurk, reliever Chris Leroux (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) tossed two scoreless innings of relief, before fellow reliever Daniel McCutchen (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER) allowed just a single unearned run in the ninth to finish out the Indians' win.
Gallagher (5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss for Louisville after surrendering five runs on eight hits and three walks over just five innings pitched. Bats reliever Josh Judy (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) was a bright spot out of the Louisville bullpen tossing two scoreless frames in a losing effort.
With the victory the Indians (54-31) gain a four-game series sweep and have now won seven straight overall and nine consecutive on the road. Indianapolis will now return home for a short-two game series with Louisville, beginning with the sold-out Independence Day contest on Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. LHP Jeff Locke is expected to make the Fourth of July start for the Tribe, while the Bats are scheduled to oppose with RHP Ryan Feierabend.
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