INDIANAPOLIS - The Indians lost for the seventh time in their last eight games with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Pawtucket on Friday night. Three runs in the seventh inning spelled doom for Indy, who dropped 2.5 games back of Columbus in the International League West with the loss.
Indianapolis (35-30) snapped a 21-game, first-inning scoring drought with two in the opening frame but that was all the offense could muster against southpaws Kyle Hart and Dan Runzler. Cole Tucker laced a leadoff triple and scored on a Jake Elmore double to the wall in right-center. Two outs later, Jason Martin slapped a single through the right side of the infield to make it 2-0.
Pawtucket (29-37) plated its only run during Eduardo Vera's 6.0-inning performance in the fourth. Rusney Castillo singled and took third on a Josh Ockimey double to right to set up a sacrifice fly by Juan Centeno.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Tribe until the seventh with Vera out of the game. Rehabbing reliever Chris Stratton (L, 0-1) walked the No. 9 hitter Josh Tobias on five pitches before allowing a single to former Indian Gorkys Hernandez. Jantzen Witte capitalized with two men on, driving a game-tying double to right.
With the infield in on the cut of the grass, Chad De La Guerra hit a grounder to Tucker's left at shortstop. The 22-year-old fielded the ball but his throw home caromed off the glove of Christian Kelley to the backstop. The throwing error resulted in the decisive runs and final 4-2 margin.
2017 Indians reliever Dan Runzler (S, 1) closed the game for Pawtucket with two shutout innings in relief. Hart (W, 3-1), an Indiana University alum from its 2013 College World Series team, fired 7.0 innings and fanned five while surrendering just two runs.
The Tribe and PawSox play the second game of their series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Alex McRae (4-2, 5.18) will start for the Indians against Daniel McGrath, who will be making his Triple-A debut for Pawtucket.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.