INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-The Louisville Bats survived an eighth inning scare and recovered with an insurance run in the top of the ninth to defeat the Indianapolis Indians 4-2 on Saturday night at Victory Field.
The win shrunk the Bats' clinching number to single digits, as the magic number to win the West Division over the Toledo Mud Hens fell to nine.
With the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Louisville reliever Federico Baez forced Indians second baseman Pedro Lopez to ground into an inning-ending double play, preserving the win for starter Travis Wood.
Two pitches later, Bats shortstop Chris Valaika hit a line drive homerun off reliever Jean Machi to left field, adding an insurance run to the visiting team's cause.
After left fielder Luis Bolivar's single scoring catcher Chris Denove in the fifth inning tied the game at two, Denove gave the Bats the eventual game-winning play as he reached first base on a two-out fielding error by shortstop Argenis Diaz, scoring third baseman Juan Francisco from third base.
Wood (4-1) picked up the win after a masterful seven complete innings of work. He struck out seven Indians and walked one. His only hit given up was a two-run homerun to centerfielder Jose Tabatha in the fourth inning. Logan Ondrusek picked up his seventh save of the season by retiring the side in order in the ninth inning.
Making his Triple-A debut, Bats second baseman Todd Frazier went 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout. In his time with Double-A Carolina, Frazier led the Southern League in hits, with 131 in 2009.
Louisville opened the scoring in the third inning when a fielding error by Indianapolis catcher Robinzon Diaz allowed Bats right fielder Darnell McDonald to reach base safely with two outs and Denove to score from third base.
Indians starter Virgil Vasquez (7-4) took the loss. In seven innings, Vasquez allowed three runs (only one earned) off six hits, while striking out two.
The Bats now move on to Toledo for an important four-game series with the Mud Hens starting on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. LHP Matt Maloney (9-8, 2.96 ERA) for Louisville and RHP Ruddy Lugo (11-8, 4.00 ERA) for Toledo are the probable starters.