INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - After a two-hour-and-27-minute rain delay in the middle of the first inning, the Indianapolis Indians jumped out to a 4-2 lead before the Gwinnett Braves rallied for four scores in the top of the ninth inning, led by a three-run double off the bat of former Tribe INF Josh Wilson, to earn a 6-4 win on Wednesday afternoon at Victory Field.
Trailing 4-2 entering the ninth inning, RF Stefan Gartrell began the Braves final frame offensive outburst with a leadoff single to center. C J. C. Boscan would then draw a base-on-balls to push Gartrell to second, where he would score one batter later when 3B Terry Tiffee lined a double to right to draw Gwinnett within one run at 4-3.
Following Tiffee's RBI two-bagger, LF Jose Constanza would be intentionally walked to load the bases for Wilson, who would come through in the clutch yet again against his former club, ripping a bases-clearing double to left to give the Braves the final 6-4 advantage. In the first three games of the series against the Indians, Wilson has now collected seven hits, three runs scored, three doubles, a home run and seven RBI.
After Indianapolis starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera (1.0 IP, 1 H) surrendered only a double to RF Felix Pie in a scoreless top of the first, the first rainstorm in over a month would delay the action between the Tribe and Braves for nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Both teams would come out of the break a little sluggish, with each being held to only a single base knock over the first four frames. Gwinnett would finally break the scoreless tie with two scores in the top of the fifth, beginning with LF Jordan Parraz, who broke the tie with a bang when he led off the frame with a solo home run deep to center field.
3B Ruben Gotay followed Parraz's longball with a base hit to right before moving to second when Boscan drew a hit by pitch. After stealing third, Gotay would be nailed at home on a fielder's choice off the bat of pitcher Billy Bullock; however, the International League's leading hitter in Constanza would come through with a clutch base hit to left to plate Boscan and extend the Braves lead to 2-0.
However, Indianapolis would respond with a offensive break out of their own in the following frame, plating three runs to take over the lead for good. 2B Anderson Hernandez began the rally with a base hit to center, before being forced out on a grounder from CF Starling Marte.
1B Matt Hague then drew a base-on-balls and 3B Yamaico Navarro reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out. After Braves reliever Adam Russell entered the game and came through with a key strikeout of RF Brandon Boggs, both Morales and Fryer would come through with clutch two-out base knocks to give the Indians the lead.
Morales first plated both Marte and Hague with a single up the middle to even the score at 2-2, before Fryer ripped a single of his own to bring home Navarro for the go-ahead tally. The Indians would also tack on a would-be insurance run in the seventh, sparked by SS Chase d'Arnaud, who hustled his way to a leadoff triple before coming plateward when Hernandez followed with a sacrifice fly to left.
But it wouldn't be enough as the Braves rallied for four scores off of Tribe closer Tim Wood (1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO), who suffered the blown save and loss to fall to 4-4 on the season. On the other side, Gwinnett reliever Dusty Hughes (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO) was the beneficiary of the Braves final frame rally, earning the win to improve to 1-1 on the season, while closer Jaye Chapman (1.0 IP) worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his seventh save.
Braves starter Eric Junge (3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB) worked three scoreless innings to begin the game, but did not figure in the final decision. Two bright spots out of the Tribe bullpen were RHP Bryan Morris (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) and LHP Doug Slaten (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB , 1 SO), who each worked 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Indianapolis (60-38) and Gwinnett(46-53) will now wrap up their season series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Justin Wilson (7-4, 4.06) is expected to get the start for the Indians, while the Braves are scheduled to counter with RHP Julio Teheran (6-5, 4.96).
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