INDIANAPOLIS (IndyIndians.com) - A late Tribe rally fell just short as Knights center fielder Blake Tekotte finished the night a single shy of the cycle and Charlotte smashed six extra-base hits on their way to taking down the Indianapolis Indians 7-5 in front of Victory Field season-high sellout crowd of 14,685 on Friday night.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead on Friday as the rehabbing RF Jose Tabata lined a two-out single to center and was quickly brought plateward on a double by 1B Matt Hague. The two-bagger from Hague was his team-leading 22nd on the season and gave the Tribe a quick 1-0 advantage.
However, Charlotte quickly erased the Tribe lead with two-run rallies in the fourth and fifth frames before tacking several insurance tallies on two titanic blasts.
2B Carlos Sanchez began the fourth-frame rally with a lead-off base hit to left, before a double by 3B Brent Morel moved runners to second and third with no outs. DH Mike McDade then lined a base hit to left-center to plate both Sanchez and Morel and give the Knights a lead they would not relinquish.
In the fifth, Charlotte added to their advantage with two more scores beginning with a two-out base-on-balls to RF Jim Gallagher that was immediately followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Tekotte. Sanchez the knocked in Tekotte with a base hit to left to extend the Knights lead to 4-1.
Indianapolis sped their way to a single score in the bottom of the fifth as CF Darren Ford led off with a base hit, moved to second on a balk, stole third and came plateward on an infield single courtesy of SS Chase d'Arnaud. The steal was one of two on the night for Ford, giving him 16 and extending the Indians International League lead to 94 stolen bases on the season.
Charlotte, however, blasted three key insurance tallies on the board with home runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Tekotte began the fireworks with a mammoth two-out solo shot to right in the top of the seventh, before McDade mashed a two-run blast in the eighth.
The Tribe did not go away quietly as they pushed across single scores in both the seventh and eighth frames to pull within three runs. RF Felix Pie broke out of his June slide with a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, and Ford followed by bringing home Goedert on an infield single in the eighth to make the score 7-4.
Indianapolis then put together an exciting ninth-inning rally sparked by a one-out single by Pie, a walk to Hague that set the stage for Goedert, who doubled home Pie to cut the Knights lead to 7-5. Goedert's two-bagger also put runners on second and third with just one out, but Charlotte reliever Daniel Webb (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) struck out the final two Tribe batters to earn his first save.
Making his fourth rehab start with Indianapolis, McDonald (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 1-3 after allowing four runs on six hits over six innings of work. His counterpart, Knights starter Tony Pena Jr. (5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO), scattered seven hits over 5.0 innings on his way to earn the victory to improve to 2-5 on the season.
The Indians will look to bounce back in game two against the Knights on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Stolmy Pimentel (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his home Triple-A debut for Indianapolis, while Charlotte is expected to counter with RHP Andre Rienzo (5-4, 5.66 ERA).