Game Information: Indianapolis Indians (24-18) at Louisville Bats (18-27)
The Indians secured their fourth straight series win with a 4-3 victory yesterday in Louisville.
Location: Louisville Slugger Field
First Pitch: 7:00 p.m. ET
Game #43 / Road #20: Indianapolis Indians (24-18) at Louisville Bats (18-27)
Probables: RHP Eduardo Vera (2-3, 5.52) vs. RHP Jose Lopez (2-2, 5.31)
Radio: Fox Sports 97.5 / AM 1260 / iHeart app
TV: MiLB TV
YESTERDAY: Alex McRae fired 7.0 innings and yielded just two earned runs while striking out a season-high eight batters, but he left with a no-decision as the Indians needed 10 innings to drop the Bats, 4-3. Christian Kelley scored the winning run in the top of the 10th inning on a double play groundout by Ke'Bryan Hayes, and Tyler Lyons tossed a scoreless bottom half for his first save of the year. Indy led 2-1 after one inning of play thanks to a two-out RBI single by Will Craig and ensuing RBI double off the bat of Kevin Kramer. Two innings later, Kramer again scored Craig from first base on another double, his 13th of the season. Brian O'Grady homered to open the seventh against McRae and tied the game at 3-3 in the ninth with another solo shot off Richard Rodriguez, who was making his 2019 Tribe debut. Craig finished with a game-high three hits, his fourth three-hit game of the year and second straight multi-hit performance.
DAYTIME W: With yesterday's 4-3 victory, the Indians improved to 8-7 in day games and 10-6 in games decided by one run this season. Indy's 10 one-run wins are most in the International League, with Durham and Charlotte both owning nine. Louisville is the only other team in the IL to have played 16 one-run games, going 6-10 in those contests.
FEWER HITS, NO PROBLEM: Entering the current series against Louisville, the Indians were just 3-11 in games where they were outhit by their opponent. The Bats have topped Indy in base hits in each of the first two games in the series, but the Tribe have come out victorious both times by the same score of 4-3.
MCRAE'S MAY: Alex McRae continued his May dominance with a season-high eight strikeouts over 7.0 innings of two-run ball yesterday. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA (9er/24.2ip) in four starts this month. Among IL pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched this May, he is one of four with three wins, tied for second in WHIP (1.09), third in innings pitched, fourth in opponents' average (.213, 18-for-89), sixth in groundout-to-airout ratio (1.33) and seventh in ERA.
HOT HITTER: Kevin Kramer logged the ninth two-double game of his career yesterday at Louisville. It was his third career two-double performance with Indy and first since Aug. 31, 2018 -- also against Louisville. Kramer is batting .362 (21-for-58) with two homers, eight doubles and 14 RBI in May after hitting just .211 (12-for-57) with one homer, five doubles and four RBI in April.
HAYES ON SECOND: Ke'Bryan Hayes leads the IL with 17 doubles and is tied for the Triple-A lead with Tacoma's Ian Miller. He is tied for third in Minor League Baseball behind Curtis Terry (20) from Single-A Hickory and David Fry (18) from Single-A Wisconsin. Exactly half of his 38 hits have gone for extra bases; he also has one triple and one home run to go with his 17 two-baggers this year. He finished fourth in the Eastern League with 31 doubles last year.
DOUBLE THE FUN: The Indians have 98 doubles as a team through 42 games (2.33 doubles per game). They lead the league in two-baggers, one ahead of Durham. Indy's 327-double pace would eclipse last year's league-high mark of 310. Indy's 310 doubles in 2018 was its highest total in the Victory Field era (1996-present), with the previous high being 299 in 1998 and 2000. Indy was the first IL team to have over 300 doubles since 2010. The Indians have led the IL in doubles five times (1963, 1998, 2013, 2017, 2018).
TONIGHT: Right-hander Eduardo Vera (2-3, 5.52) carries a two-game winning streak into tonight's game against Jose Lopez (2-2, 5.31) and the Bats. Vera, 24, has suffered losses in each of his two starts against Louisville this year; the first came on April 19 at Victory Field (5.0ip, 6h, 3r, 2er, 0bb, 4k) and the second was on May 5 at The Vic (5.0ip, 11h, 7r, 7er, 3bb, 4k). Odrisamer Despaigne bested Vera both times. Lopez, 25, started and took a no-decision against Indy on May 4 at Victory Field (5.0ip, 6h, 2r, 2er, 1hbp, 5bb, 5k). In four career starts against Indy, he's 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA (10er/22.2ip) and 23 strikeouts.
ROAD RAGE: Indianapolis is batting .258 and has a 3.99 ERA in 23 home games compared to a .269 average and 4.89 ERA on the road. Tonight's starter, Eduardo Vera, has fared much better away from Victory Field, however. In three road starts, Vera is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA (4er/16.0ip) and .246 opponents' average (14-for-57). In five home starts, he is 1-2 with a 7.39 ERA (23er/28.0ip) and .319 average against (36-for-113).
SERIES WINS: The Indians have won the first two games in each of their last four series. The run started with a pair of wins on May 10-11 at Lehigh Valley, followed by May 14-15 wins over Scranton/WB and May 17-18 triumphs over Norfolk. After splitting a four-game set with Louisville from May 2-5 and losing two of three at Scranton/WB from May 7-9, Indy has reeled off four straight series victories.
DIFFERENT YEAR, SAME STORY: Despite Indianapolis' pitching staff allowing three home runs yesterday, Indy still leads all of Triple-A in fewest home runs allowed (37), ahead of Scranton/WB (40). The Indians have led the IL in fewest homers allowed in six of the last 10 seasons.
LEAGUE-BEST ROTATION: Indy's starters are averaging slightly over 5.1 innings per start this year (226.0ip in 42 games), most among all IL teams. Indy's starters also rank among league leaders in WHIP (1st, 1.33), ERA (2nd, 4.34), GIDP (2nd, 27), strikeouts (3rd, 207) and fewest home runs allowed (T-4th, 27).
INDY SAVES: Indianapolis' bullpen has converted a save chance in each of the Tribe's last six wins and 12 of the last 14 victories overall. The Tribe lead the league in saves converted (17) and save opportunities (25). Eighteen of Indy's 24 wins are by three runs or less.
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