INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com)- Despite six extra-base hits by the Indianapolis offense, Columbus earned a 7-4 victory on Friday night at Victory Field after collecting five two-out RBI and capping their scoring with the second home run in as many nights for left fielder Jeremy Hermida.
Things got off to a great start for the Indians as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead and saw starter Gerrit Cole set down eight straight following a one-out first-frame base hit. However, Columbus quickly turned the tide with five two-out RBI over the fourth and fifth innings on its way to earning the victory.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the fourth, Columbus 2B Luis Hernandez lead off the frame with a base hit, before Hermida singled with one out to put runners on first and third. Then, after Cole induced a pop out from C Yan Gomes for the second out of the inning, 1B Mike McDade would fall behind 0-2, before fouling off two pitches and taking three balls to push the count full.
With Hernandez and Hermida off to the races thanks to the full count, McDade lifted a two-run double to left that evened the score at 2-2. SS Juan Diaz followed McDade's two-bagger with a base hit up the middle, giving Columbus a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
The Clippers then tacked on two important two-out insurance runs in the fifth, despite knocking just one hit in the inning. DH Cedric Hunter led off the frame with a lead-off walk off new Tribe reliever Ryan Reid, before an error and second walk loaded the bases with two outs for Gomes.
The Columbus catcher would come through in the clutch with a single to right that plated Hunter and Hernandez and pushed the Clippers advantage to 5-2. After the Indians got a run back courtesy of a solo shot from CF Alex Presley in the bottom of the fifth, Hermida put the game away with his two-run longball in the seventh.
Despite the defeat, Presley remained red-hot for the Indians, leading off the bottom of the first with a near home run to deep right-center field, before quickly being brought plateward on a double by SS Jordy Mercer. Presley later added a single and fifth-inning home run, while Mercer drew a walk and ripped his second double of the game later in the contest.
Overall, Presley finished the night 3-for-5 with three runs and an RBI, while Mercer wrapped up the evening going 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI of his own. Through two games, the dynamic duo has now accounted for eight of the Indians 10 total hits.
Though he started off his season debut strong, Cole (4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) was ultimatley saddled with the loss to drop his record to 0-1. On the other side, Columbus starter Corey Kluber (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 SO) earned the victory after surrendering three runs on six hits over 6.0 innings pitched.
RHP Duke Welker (2.1 IP, 2 SO) was a bright spot out of the Indianapolis bullpen, tossing 2.1 hitless frames of relief, while Columbus reliever Jerry Gil (2.0 IP, 2 BB, 2 SO) also did not surrender a base hit in his multiple innings of work.
The Tribe will look to bounce back from their 0-2 start against the Clippers on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Major League veteran and Japanese baseball icon Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound for Columbus, while the Indians will counter with RHP Kyle McPherson.