The Indianapolis Indians jumped out to a 8-0 lead after two innings and coasted to a 10-5 road victory over the Gwinnett Braves Saturday in International League action. Third baseman Andy Marte drove in four runs, while second baseman Josh Harrison and All-Star first baseman Matt Hague both homered, to lead the Indians offensive attack at Coolray Field.
With the win, Indianapolis pushes their record to 57-52 on the year, while the loss drops Gwinnett to a 59-48 mark. The victory also gives the Tribe a 1-0 lead over the Braves in the four-game set, as well as a 3-2 advantage in the season series.
Indianapolis got off to a hot start, with all nine batters coming to the plate in a four-run first frame. SS Jordy Mercer was hit by a pitch to begin the contest and then got to third on Harrison’s single, before both came across when LF John Bowker laced a two-run double to right to open the scoring. Bowker moved to third on C Ryan Doumit’s single and then scored on an RBI groundout, while Doumit was driven in on a run-scoring two-bagger from Marte to cap the early rally and give the Tribe an early 4-0 advantage.
The Tribe doubled their lead in the second with another four-score rally. Bowker began the two-out scoring spurt by reaching on a Braves error, prior to Doumit and Hague each drawing free passes to load the bases for Marte. The right-handed slugger delivered with a bases-clearing double to left to make it 7-0, and subsequently scored when RF Miles Durham tripled to left to increase the margin to eight.
With one swing however, Gwinnett in the fifth frame got themselves back into the game. 2B Ruben Gotay led off with single and was followed by base knocks from CF Matt Young and SS Tyler Pastornicky to fill the bases for RF Stefan Gartrell. Gartrell promptly launched the first pitch of the at bat over the center field wall for a grand slam, his 23rd longball of the year, to slice their deficit in half.
The Indians got one of those runs back in the sixth with a roundtripper of their own. Harrison hammered a solo shot to left for his fourth home run of the year to boost Indianapolis’ lead to 9-4. The homer was also the infielder’s second of the road trip, after leaving the yard on July 26 versus Charlotte.
It was then Hague’s turn to leave the yard in the next inning, when he laced a line drive just inside the left field foul pole for his ninth longball of the year. The homer for Hague, who is second on the club in roundtrippers behind Bowker, was his first since June 25 against Pawtucket.
Marte (2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 4 RBI), Harrison (2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI), Bowker (2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI) and Durham (2-for-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI) all tallied two hits for the Tribe.
Indians starter Rudy Owens (6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) earned the victory to improve to 9-6 after allowing five earned runs on eight hits, in addition to six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The southpaw has been solid since the All-Star break compiling a 3-0 mark and 3.12 ERA in four starts in the season’s second half.
Relievers Steven Jackson (0.1 IP, 1 H), Brian Burres (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) and Jose Ascanio (1.0 IP) combined to allow just two hits in the final 2.1 innings in support of Owens.
Gwinnett RHP Erik Cordier (5.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 3-7 after relinquishing four earned runs on eight hits in his five frames of work. Right-handers Arodys Vizcaino (1.0 IP, 1 SO) and Jairo Asencio (1.0 IP, 1 SO) each fired a perfect frame of relief following Cordier.
The Tribe and Braves square off Sunday in the second game of the series. Brad Lincoln is expected to take the bump for Indianapolis.