INDIANAPOLIS -- A second consecutive sellout crowd packed the ballpark to see the Tribe pound out three runs in the opening frame, but the throng of 14,437 fans had little to cheer about from there as opposing starter Josh Smith authored a 131-pitch, 9.0-inning complete game to guide the visiting Louisville Bats (46-43) to an 8-3 rout of the Indianapolis Indians (48-41) on Saturday night at Victory Field. The defeat, coupled with a Clippers win in Toledo, drops Indy into a two-way tie with Columbus atop the International League's West Division.
The Tribe came out swinging in the opening frame to put each of its first four batters aboard safely. Michael Martinez and Jaff Decker led the charge with back-to-back singles, and after Matt Hague coaxed a walk to load the bases, slugger Chris McGuiness hammered a two-run double out to right field that boosted Indy to an early 2-0 advantage.
With Hague standing on third and no outs, the Indians benefited from a touch of good fortune as Bats third baseman Ruben Gotay turned a routine groundout into an errant throw to first to allow Hague to dash home and widen Indy's first-inning lead to 3-0.
One look at the Tribe's order then gave Louisville starter Smith all he needed to efficiently dispose of Indianapolis' batters through what turned into an 8.0-inning lockdown. Smith held Indy to just five hits as he breezed through the remaining eight frames and the right-hander capped off his complete-game gem having given up just two earned runs (three runs) on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
While Smith went the distance on the mound, the Bats offense helped its starter pick up his ninth win in 11 decisions by plating a pair of runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth inning as part of an 8-3 Louisville win.