Indians Blanked by Bats, 3-0
LOUISVILLE, KY -- The Indianapolis Indians (11-6) collected just five hits and moved only two batters past second base in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Louisville Bats (9-7) on Saturday afternoon at Louisville Slugger Field. After dropping both Thursday's and today's contests, Indianapolis suffered its first series loss of the 2013 season.
The Indians found themselves with plenty of opportunities to plate an early run in the game's first three frames, but after putting runners on in all three innings, the Tribe remained unable bring any runner home. Along with three stranded runners in the final two innings of Thursday's game, 15 left on base in last night's contest and five stranded in today's first three frames, Indianapolis totaled 23 stranded runners over a span of 14 straight innings of having left a runner on base.
Despite the team's offensive struggles, Tribe RHP Brandon Cumpton (L, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 8 SO) kept the contest close by surrendering runs in just one of his 6.0 total innings pitched. In an almost eerily similar fashion to his first Triple-A start of the season at Toledo, Cumpton cruised through the majority of his outing, but allowed three scores in the third inning to add a blemish in an otherwise solid appearance. After retiring each of Louisville's first six batters, Cumpton found himself in a jam in the bottom of the third.
RF Josh Fellhauer led off the frame with a liner to right and advanced to second on a smoked groundball from C Konrad Schmidt that bounced just outside the reach of Tribe third baseman Matt Hague. As Louisville RHP Chad Reineke stepped into the box, Indians C Lucas May allowed a pitch to scoot between his legs for a passed ball that moved both runners into scoring position.
CF Billy Hamilton, who has been driven in to score a run in each of the first two contests of the series, returned the favor to his teammates with an RBI single to right that gave the Bats a 1-0 lead. One batter later, LF Felix Perez augmented Louisville's advantage with a scorcher that bounced off the right field wall, plating both Schmidt and Hamilton to make the score 3-0. Through two games in this series, Perez batted 5-for-9 with a double, walk-off home run and three RBI.
With a three-run lead in hand, Bats starter RHP Chad Reineke (W, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) kept Indianapolis off the board through his 5.2 shutout innings of work. The right-hander yielded five hits and gave up two free passes, but allowed just one Tribe batter to advance past second on the afternoon. Reineke also struck out five in his longest outing since Aug. 20, 2012, when he navigated 7.2 innings at Columbus.
The Indians threatened to break up the shutout in the sixth, courtesy of the speedy CF Felix Pie, who reached first on a two-out error by 2B Jason Donald. With RF Jerry Sands at the plate, Pie snagged second base and third base in successive pitches, before a tag-out at home erased the Tribe's potential run.
Louisville relievers Clay Hensley (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER 0 BB, 0 SO), Justin Freeman (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 0 SO) and Kevin Whelan (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 3 SO) combined to no-hit the Indians through the final 3.1 innings to preserve the Bats' shutout. Whelan, who picked up his third save of the season, struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to cap off the scoreless contest.
A bright spot in Indianapolis' defeat was a 1-for-4 performance by Hague to extend both his on-base streak to 15 games, and his hitting streak to six games.
The Indians return home tomorrow for 10-game homestand that will be kicked off with two matchups against the Louisville Bats. The Tribe is scheduled to send RHP Gerrit Cole (1-1, 3.65) to the mound and the Bats are expected to give the ball to RHP Yohan Pino (NR). First pitch is set for 1:35 p.m.
The contest will be televised on HTSN, Hometown Sports and News, available via cable or over-the-air on digital channel 6.2. The game will also be carried on WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 1:15 p.m.
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