DURHAM, N.C. -- Tribe right fielder Jerry Sands smashed two mammoth home runs and drove in five, but 8.0 innings from 2013 International League Pitcher of the Year J. D. Martin and a five-run first inning propelled the Durham Bulls to a 6-5 victory over the Indianapolis Indians in game two of the opening round of the 2013 Governor's Cup Playoffs at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
On most nights, outhitting an opponent 10-7, while collecting six extra-base hits, including two massive home runs would lead to a victory. Unfortunately for the Tribe, game two of the 2013 Governor's Cup Playoffs on Thursday night in Durham was not one of those times.
Being named the IL's Pitcher of the Year after posting a league-best 16-4 record to go along with a 2.75 ERA, Durham's J.D. Martin continued his impressive run with a 8.0-inning performance in game two on Thursday night. Martin (8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) was able to work around eight hits, scattering them over his 8.0 innings of work, while walking none and striking out three in the victory.
The lone blemish of the night for Martin came off the bat of Tribe RF Jerry Sands, who in the top of the seventh launched a home run high over the left field wall to at the time cut the Bulls lead to 5-2. The longball for Sands, his first since July 27, ended a 15.1 scoreless inning streak by Durham pitchers to begin the IL Playoffs.
Durham, however, added what at the time looked like a meaningless insurance score in the bottom of the seventh. That run, however, proved to be the difference.
Bulls CF Kevin Kiermaier led off the seventh by reaching on a missed catch error, before moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt by C Craig Albernaz. Then after a strikeout by SS Tim Beckham, Cole Figueroa broke a 6.2 scoreless inning streak by the Indianapolis bullpen with a single to center to plate Kiermaier and extend the Bulls lead to 6-2.
That run proved to be key as the Indians mounted a ninth inning rally off Bulls reliever Steve Geltz. The red-hot Jared Goedert led off the ninth with his third hit and second double of the night, before a walk to LF Russ Canzler set the stage for Sands.
The Indians right handed slugger came through again smashing a three-run shot to straight away center to cut the Durham lead to 6-5. However, after Bulls closer Kirby Yates surrendered a walk to pinch hitter Ivan DeJesus, he would strike out the side to nail down the win and his second save in as many nights.
Just one night after being held to just two hits through the first 7.0 innings, the Durham Bulls exploded out of the gates with five runs on five hits in the first frame on Thursday night.
Beckham continued his hot start to the playoff series by leading off the game with a double down the left field line, and was quickly brought plateward when Figueroa followed with a double of his own to give the Bulls a quick 1-0 lead. RF Jason Bourgeois kept the hit parade going for Durham when he lined a single to right, moving up to second when the throw came in to the plate.
1B Vince Belnome then blasted a ball off the blue monster in left to bring home both Figueroa and Bourgeois and extend the Bulls lead to 3-0. Belnome's blast also forced Tribe starter Graham Godfrey (0.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER) from the game without having recorded a single out.
RHP Brooks Brown took over for Godfrey and was quickly greeted by a powerful punch off the LF Leslie Anderson, who rocketed the second pitch he saw over the right field fence for the playoff series' first home run. The longball for Anderson was also his first since August 8 and gave the Bulls a commanding 5-0 lead after just one inning of play.
After the Bulls smashed five hits and drove home five runs in the first, Tribe relievers Brown, James McDonald and Atahualpa Severino combined to hold the them hitless over the next 6.2 frames. After getting three outs to end the first, Brown (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO) turned in back-to-back hitless frames in the second and third.
Making a rehab appearance with the Indians, McDonald (2.0 IP, 2 BB, SO) worked around two early walks to toss 2.0 hitless innings of his own, giving way to Severino (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 SO), who tossed a hitless sixth, before falling victim to his defense in the seventh.
Ryan Reid (0.1 IP, H, SO) and Erik Cordier (1.0 IP) also turned in solid appearances out of the Indianapolis bullpen finishing out the game with 1.1 innings of combined scoreless work. Overall, Tribe relievers combined to allow just one earned run on three hits while striking out five in 8.0 innings pitched.
The Indians will now return to Indianapolis to host Durham in game three of their first round Governor's Cup Playoff series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Indians and be followed out of the bullpen by top prospect RHP Jameson Taillon, while the Bulls are expected to counter with RHP Merrill Kelly.
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 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 6:45 p.m.
Starting tomorrow the Indians will host anywhere from one to three playoff contests at Victory Field from September 6-8. 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 with 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.