INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - The Louisville Bats rallied from multiple deficits and benefited from a key miscue and wild pitch in the top of the seventh inning as they ended the Indians eight-game winning streak with a 7-5 win in a back-and-forth battle on Thursday night at Victory Field.
After falling behind early, Louisville plated scores in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth frames to rally past the Indians and simultaneously end the Tribe's eight-game winning streak and their own eight-game losing streak.
Indianapolis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to what is sure to be the shortest double of 1B Jeff Clement's career. With one out in the bottom of the second, Clement hit what looked to be a routine pop up between short and third; however, due to miscommunication between Bats 3B Henry Rodriguez and SS Paul Janish, the ball would drop and Clement would speed to second for his team-leading 25th two-bagger of the season.
Following Clement's unique double, LF Jeff Larish would draw a base-on-balls and C Tony Sanchez would single to load the bases for 2B Brian Friday, who plated a pair with a ground-rule double to right. Louisville would quickly respond, however, with a single score of their own in the top of the third, when C Corky Miller ripped an RBI single, scoring CF Denis Phipps, who led off the frame with a walk.
The red-hot Tony Sanchez would get that score back for the Tribe in the bottom of the fourth when he connected on his third homer in as many games. The solo blast for Sanchez, his third with the Indians this season, rocketed over the center-field fence with one out in the bottom of the fourth to give the Tribe a 3-1 advantage.
Following Sanchez's blast, the Bats offense would break out for three scores over the fifth and sixth frames to take over the lead. Louisville first manufactured a single score in the top of the fifth as LF Kristopher Negron was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Janish and came plateward on an RBI groundout by Rodriguez.
The Bats then used back-to-back big hits to take over the lead with two scores in the top of the sixth. After RF Bill Rhinehart drew a one-out walk, 2B Cody Puckett ripped a triple to deep left field and Miller smashed a base hit back up the middle to plate two scores and give the Bats a 4-3 lead.
Indianapolis would escape the top of the sixth without any further damage thanks to an inning-ending double play and then even the score with an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Jose Morales in the bottom half of the frame. But Louisville's offense would not be denied as they tacked on a single score in the seventh and two insurance tallies in the eighth on their way to the victory.
Rodriguez led off the seventh with a base hit and after a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk put runners on first and second, Rhinehart would be struck out for the second out of the inning. An Indians miscue would then extend the frame, and a wild pitch allowed Rodriguez to the cross plate for the go-ahead score.
The Bats then tacked on two key insurance scores with one swing of the bat in the following frame, as Rodriguez launched a two-run longball to left field to plate Janish, who singled earlier in the frame. Overall, Rodriguez finished the night as the offensive star for Louisville as the third baseman collected three hits in five at-bats, scored two runs and drove in three.
Indianapolis would make a final comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth as Anderson Hernandez ripped a leadoff triple to center field and came quickly home when Tabata rolled a base hit to left. However, Louisville would get the final three batters in order to end the threat and earn the victory.
In a battle of the bullpens, Louisville RHP J. J. Hoover (2.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 SO) would earn the victory to improve to 2-0 after tossing 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, before closer Donnie Joseph (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER) fought through the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season. Tribe reliever Kris Johnson (2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) took the loss to fall to 4-1 on the season after surrendering three runs (two earned) over two innings of work.
Neither starter figured in the final decision as Indianapolis starter Daniel Cabrera (5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) allowed four runs on five hits over 5.1 innings and Louisville starter Chad Reineke (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) surrendered three runs on seven hits while striking out seven over five innings of work.
Indianapolis will now embark on a three-game road trip in Columbus prior to the three-day all-star break. The Indians and Clippers kick off the series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with LHP Rudy Owens expected to take the mound for the Tribe and the Clippers scheduled to start RHP Corey Kluber.
The game will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM-WFBQ-HD2, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:45 p.m.