INDIANAPOLIS -- In a game that featured nearly four hours worth of rain delays, first baseman Mike Hessman and right fielder Denis Phipps each blasted home runs as the Louisville Bats (67-75) spoiled a three-RBI effort from Tribe left fielder Jerry Sands in an 8-4 win over the Indianapolis Indians (80-62) in front of a sellout home finale crowd of 14,392 on Saturday night at Victory Field.
After a one hour and 53 minute rain delay at the outset, both offensives came out swinging. Louisville opened the game with a single score in the top of the first as CF Ryan LaMarre led off the game with a hit by pitch, moved to second on a single by 2B Emmanuel Burriss and came plateward on an Indians' throwing error.
Indianapolis, however, quickly responded with two tallies of their own in the bottom half of the first, beginning with a one-out double from the Tribe's August Player of the month Robert Andino. The Indians shortstop came immediately home when the 2013 team MVP Matt Hague reached on a throwing error by Louisville 3B Neftali Soto.
Sands then helped the Tribe storm ahead later in the first when he lined a two-out double to center to bring home Hague and give the Indians the 2-1 advantage. Unfortunately, the lead was short lived as Louisville responded with four scores over the next two frames.
Phipps evened things up with one swing of the bat for Louisville, launching a solo homer to lead off the top of the second. The longball was the eighth on the season for Phipps, four of which have come against the Indians.
After Phipps powered the Bats back to a 2-2 tie, Hessman blasted them ahead for good with a three-run mammoth home run to left field that scored both Burriss and Soto, who reached on back-to-back singles earlier in the frame. Hessman also added a two-run bomb in the top of the ninth to give him a team-best 25 roundtrippers on the season, including five against Indianapolis.
The Indians did attempt to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh as CF Chase d'Arnaud led off the frame with a double, before Hague reached on a hit by pitch. Sands then came throw with another big smash as he singled to center later to bring home both d'Arnaud and Hague for his second and third RBI of the contest.
This, however, would be all the Tribe could muster as the Bats plated two more scores in the top of the ninth to come away with the 8-4 victory.
Indians starter Doug Mathis (4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss after surrendering five runs on nine hits over just 4.0 innings of work. On the other side, Bats reliever Daniel Corcino (2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) picked up the win to improve to 7-14 after working 2.1 innings of relief.
Indianapolis will now head to Louisville to finish out the regular season with a short two-game set at Louisville Slugger Field beginning on Sunday night at 6:05 p.m. RHP Jameson Taillon (1-2, 3.77 ERA) is expected to make the start for the Indians, while the Bats are scheduled to send RHP Pedro Villarreal (3-9, 4.69) to the mound.
The game will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, 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 5:45 p.m.
Indianapolis Indians playoff tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at IndyIndians.com, through the Indians' single-game ticket hotline at 317-269-2282 or by visiting the Victory Field Box Office.
The Indians will kick-off their playoff celebration on Friday, Sept. 6 at Victory Field. Festivities for the event will include a free special edition playoff T-shirt for the first 2,500 fans and a post-game fireworks show to cap off the evening.
Fans can also enjoy Monday Dollar Menu pricing of $1 for hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, popcorn and potato chips during all home playoff contests.