Kingham Throws Gem as Indians Blast Hens
INDIANAPOLIS - Nick Kingham carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and three Indians homered as the Tribe cruised to a 7-3, series-clinching win over the Mud Hens on Thursday night at Victory Field. Kingham's dazzling performance was accompanied by 15 hits from Indy's league-leading offense.
The Indians (35-29) led three batters into the bottom of the first and never looked back, pulling within 3.5 games of first place in the International League West Division for the first time since May 8. Jung Ho Kang gave the Tribe a 1-0 advantage with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right, plating Kevin Newman who singled and stole second to open Indy's first at-bat.
One inning later, Max Moroff and Ryan Lavarnway cranked back-to-back solo shots off A.J. Ladwig with two outs, the second time Indianapolis has gone back-to-back in 2018.
The Tribe doubled their lead with three more runs in the fourth. Jordan Luplow doubled and was along for the ride on Kevin Kramer's team-high ninth home run of the year. Moroff then singled to short and advanced to second on a throwing error, setting up a two-out RBI single by Pablo Reyes, his second of three hits on the night.
Kingham (W, 3-1) flirted with perfection on efficiency. He sat at just 54 pitches through five frames and worked a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out Harold Castro for his fifth punchout. After retiring Mike Gerber on a flyout to left to open the seventh, Dawel Lugo bounced a chopper to Kingham's right off the mound. The Tribe right-hander moved swiftly to field the ball but his jump throw attempt toward first sailed wide of the bag, resulting in an infield single and coinciding throwing error.
He calmly retired the next two batters on fly balls before working a scoreless eighth, departing at a season-high 101 pitches.
Kramer gave Indy its seventh run in the seventh with a sharp double into the right-field corner. Christopher Bostick extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single before scoring on Kramer's two-bagger.
The Mud Hens (39-26) thwarted Indy's shutout bid with three runs in the ninth off Casey Sadler. Ladwig (L, 5-3) was tagged for six runs (five earned) on nine hits over four innings.
Newman joined Reyes with three hits from the leadoff spot, while Kramer, Moroff and Lavarnway each collected two hits. Indy's six through nine batters finished a combined 9-for-15 with three home runs, one double, five RBI and four runs scored.
The Indians hit the road for a three-game weekend series in Columbus starting on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. ET. Right-hander Tyler Eppler (6-2, 2.84) will oppose Clippers southpaw Adam Wilk (2-5, 3.44).
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