INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indianapolis Indians outfielder Jeff Salazar led the Durham Bulls to a 5-4 win over his old team on Wednesday afternoon, circling the Victory Field bases on a game-winning inside-the-park home run in the top of the tenth inning.
The home run was Salazar's fourth of the season and perhaps one of the slowest-developing inside-the-park homers imaginable. With one out, the outfielder smacked a groundball down the left-field line, cruising into second with what appeared to be a stand-up double. After a slight hesitation, however, Salazar realized the ball had rolled underneath the bench in the Indians bullpen and had yet to re-emerge.
With Tribe LF Alex Presley reaching for the ball, Salazar took off for third and -- after an even slighter pause -- continued toward home plate, easily beating the throw and giving the Bulls a 5-4 lead. The Indians were then retired in order in the bottom of the frame, snapping their three-game winning streak. Indianapolis is now 5-2 against Durham this year, with the season-series finale set for Thursday.
Indianapolis had jumped out in front early, putting up four runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, SS Chase d'Arnaud dove into second base with a hustle double after blooping a ball into shallow left field, eventually moving to third as Presley and DH Jeff Clement drew back-to-back walks.
With the bases loaded, 1B Jeff Larish ripped a ball into the right-field corner, giving the Tribe a 3-0 lead with a bases-clearing triple. C Jose Morales then extended the lead to 4-0 when his sacrifice fly to center field scored Larish.
After being stymied for five innings, the Bulls put together a four-run inning of their own in the top of the sixth. With one out, 2B Shawn O'Malley reached on an infield single when d'Arnaud laid out toward the third base line and snared O'Malley's grounder but couldn't get enough on the throw to record the out. After CF Jesus Feliciano walked, both runners advanced on a double steal and O'Malley came around to score when the throw down to second skipped into center field, cutting the Tribe lead to 4-1.
After a strikeout, RF Leslie Anderson singled on a blooper in no-man's land toward shallow right-center, driving in Feliciano and prompting a pitching change with the score at 4-2 in favor of the Indians. Up next, Juan Miranda tied the game with a two-run home run on an 0-2 pitch, launching the ball far beyond the right-field fence.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision as Indians LHP Justin Wilson (5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) and Bulls RHP Shane Dyer (5.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K) were both wiped off the books when the game became tied. After tossing two innings of relief, Durham righty Brandon Gomes (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) earned the win, improving to 4-0 on the season. Bulls closer Dane De La Rosa (1.0 IP, 1 K) pitched the bottom of the tenth to record his sixth save of the season. Meanwhile, Indians RHP Evan Meek (3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, HR) was charged with the loss, his first of the season.
Indianapolis (30-22) and Durham (23-31) will wrap their season series with Thursday's 7:05 p.m. start. RHP Jeff Karstens (0-1, 6.23) will likely make his second start on a major league rehab assignment with the Indians, while RHP Matt Torra (4-5, 5.01) is expected to start for the Bulls.
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-WFBQ-HD2, 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.