INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - The Columbus Clippers spoiled the Indianapolis Indians 2013 season opener with a 4-0 win on the strength of a three-hit combined shutout by four Clippers hurlers, and an eighth-inning grand slam off the bat of designated hitter Jeremy Hermida in front of 12,769 fans on Thursday night at Victory Field.
Four Columbus hurlers, led by former Indians starter Joe Martinez, held the Indians to just three singles while striking out eight to earn the shutout victory. Despite tossing 5.2 scoreless frames to start the contest, Martinez, who pitched for Indianapolis during the 2010 season, did not earn the victory as he was matched pitch-for-pitch by Tribe starter Andy Oliver.
Oliver (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) turned in an impressive performance in his Indians' debut, striking out six while allowing just two hits over 6.0 scoreless frames. The southpaw dominated out of the gate, allowing just one hit over the first five innings of the game, but ultimately did not figure in the final decision as Martinez and Columbus' bullpen held down the Tribe bats.
RHP Vic Black had an impressive start to his Triple-A career, striking out the side in the seventh inning after surrendering a lead-off single. However, his second inning would not go as well as his first, when a lead-off walk to LF Cedric Hunter, base hit to CF Tim Fedroff and an intentional walk forced by a passed ball loaded the bases in the top of the eighth.
Following the intentional free pass, Black was pulled for veteran reliever Mike Zagurski, who on his first pitch of the night, surrendered a mammoth grand slam home run off the bat of Hermida. The longball ultimately pinned Black with the loss, dropping his record to 0-1.
Hermida's blast would also be all the Clipper's bullpen would need, as relievers Nick Hagadone (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO), Matt Langwell (1.1 IP, 2 BB, 2 SO), Matt Capps (1.0 IP, 1 BB) combined to toss 3.1 hitless frames of relief, with Langwell earning the victory to improve to 1-0 on the season.
While Hermida provide the game's big blow, Fedroff (2-for-4, 1 R) and C Yan Gomes (2-for-4) combined for four of the Clippers' five hits on the evening. For the Indians, CF Alex Presley turned in the only multi-hit performance, accounting for two of the Tribe's three total base knocks.
The loss was the Indians sixth straight Opening Day defeat, but they will look to bounce back in game two of the four-game season-opening series with Columbus on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. at Victory Field. RHP Corey Kluber is expected to take the mound for the Clippers, while Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect, RHP Gerrit Cole, is scheduled to make his season-debut on the mound for the Indians.
Fans win free tickets
WTHR meteorologist Nicole Misencik has announced the game-time temperature for tonight's Indians home opener at 56 degrees. With this announcement all Tribe fans in attendance to tonight's contest have won a free ticket to any 2013 April home game of their choice.
Fans do not have to redeem free tickets during tonight's contest. The free tickets can be redeemed any time at the Indians box office, which is open during all home games, and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday non-game days.