Pitcher Rick VandenHurk remained undefeated and was backed by a three-run homer from Yamaico Navarro and a two-run shot by Jordy Mercer as Indianapolis tied its season high with its seventh straight victory in a 7-3 win over the Bats on Tuesday at Louisville Slugger Field.
While the International League West-leading Indians (54-31) captured their 15th win in 17 contests, the Bats (31-56) lost for the seventh time in a row. Louisville scored four runs or less in every game of the losing streak.
The Bats gained a 2-0 lead over VandenHurk, but the 26-year-old right-hander managed to grind out his eighth victory against no defeats by tossing six innings and allowing two earned runs on nine hits with five strikeouts. VandenHurk has won five consecutive starts.
It was a good night to be a Navarro, no matter if you were wearing a Bats or Indians uniform. Yamaico Navarro of Indianapolis missed hitting for the cycle by a triple. He singled, homered and doubled in his first three at-bats before walking in his fourth and mercifully striking out in his fifth for a 3-for-4, three-RBI, three runs-scored outing. Dioner Navarro of Louisville, an IL All-Star selection, also had three hits - a double and two singles - in going 3-for-5 with a run scored.
Not to be overlooked was Mercer. He hit a towering two-run homer in the seventh that pushed Indianapolis' lead to five runs. The 434-foot shot was Mercer's fourth home run of the year.
The Indians grabbed the lead in the fourth off Bats starter Sean Gallagher behind five straight hits to open the frame. The middle one was the big blow, as Yamaico Navarro delivered a go-ahead three-run homer to the berm in left center. Mercer followed Navarro's fourth homer of the season and second of the series with a double and scored on a double-play ground ball by Jeff Larish.
Louisville never recovered. It accumulated nine hits through five innings, but its struggles to capitalize on its chances were summed up in the fifth when Joey Gathright and Willie Harris opened the inning with back-to-back singles before a double play settled things down and a fly out to the warning track in center by Dioner Navarro closed the frame.
That disappointment came after the Bats left two runners on base in both the second and third innings, respectively. For the game, Louisville stranded 11 baserunners and was 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Louisville did strike first when Dioner Navarro opened the second inning by yanking a double down the first base line, advanced to third on a single by Neftali Soto and scored on a double-play ground ball by Mike Costanzo.
Another double, this time by Harris, led to a second run in the third. Denis Phipps followed Harris' drive to the gap by punching a single to right, and Harris managed to elude the tag of Indianapolis catcher Jose Morales after a strong throw by rightfielder Larish.
Gallagher (6-6) took the loss after giving up five earned runs on eight hits in five innings. Gathright and Harris had two hits apiece for the Bats, who had 11 total.
Starling Marte's streak of multi-hit games ended at eight. He went 1-for-4, singling in his second at-bat. He is 9-for-18 in the series.
The Bats and Indians will continue their six-game split series at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis. Louisville's Ryan Feierabend (1-2, 5.81 ERA) is set to oppose Indianapolis' Jeff Locke (6-4, 3.05).