ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Catcher Erik Kratz blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning and reliever Jeremy Powell tossed four innings of scoreless relief as the Indianapolis Indians defeated the Rochester Red Wings 8-3 on Friday night at Frontier Field.
With the win the Indians improve to 15-19 overall and 9-8 on the road, while the loss drops the Red Wings to 18-15 on the season and 11-8 at home. The 8-3 victory for Indianapolis was the final meeting between the Tribe and Rochester in the regular season and evened the season series up at four games apiece.
Powell (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER 1 BB, 1 SO) was brilliant in relief for the Tribe, allowing just one hit in four innings to improve to a team best 4-0 on the season, while Kratz used his three-run blast in the fifth to break out his recent slump.
The Tribe jumped out to an early lead with four runs in the first inning as the first six Indian's batters that came to bat all reached base. The four runs in the first continued a trend for Indianapolis, who scored at least one run in the first or second inning of every game in the series against Rochester.
CF Andrew McCutchen got things rolling again for the Tribe as he led off the game with a single, moved to second when SS Brian Bixler was hit by a pitch, and moved to third when LF Jeff Salazar roped a single of his own. 1B Steve Pearce and RF Garrett Jones then followed with back-to-back clutch two-run singles to give the Tribe an early 4-0 advantage.
Jones and Pearce continue to rank one and two on the team in RBI and have been clutch all season long with runners in scoring position. The duo entered the game batting a combined .400 (26-for-65) with 40 RBI when Tribe runners are in scoring position and added four more RBI to their total with their clutch first inning base knocks.
However, Rochester would did not just roll over after the Tribe jumped out to their early lead, as they plated three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first. DH Luke Hughes started the Rochester scoring attack with a sacrifice fly that plated his team leading 26th RBI of the season.
Then, following a double by LF Dustin Martin, a costly Indians' error allowed another run to score and extended the inning for 3B Matt Macri, who plated the third Red Wings' run with a double to left-center. Following the Rochester rally in the bottom half of the first, both pitching staffs settled down and tossed three consecutive scoreless innings.
But it was the Indians's bats that would break through with another four-run outburst in the fifth inning, sparked by Salazar, who led off the frame with a walk and quickly swiped second for his team leading 11th steal of the season. Then following back-to-back walks to Jones and 3B Neil Walker, DH Larry Broadway drove in Salazar with a sacrifice fly and set the stage for Kratz's game sealing three-run homer.
After their three runs in the first, Rochester was held scoreless for the rest of the contest as Powell and RHP Brian Slocum combined for seven innings of scoreless relief. Slocum (3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) picked up his first save of the season after allowing just one hit in three innings of work, and his effort was the third three inning save by a Tribe reliever on the just completed eight-game road trip.
Walker (2-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB) turned in the only multi-hit performance for the Tribe, while only Huber (2-for-4, 1 R) managed multiple base knocks for the Red Wings.
Rochester starter Kevin Mulvey (4.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO) took the loss to drop to 2-2 on the season, while Indians starter Jason Davis (2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) lasted just two innings and did not figure in the decision.
Indianapolis returns to Victory Field to take on the Syracuse Chiefs in a four game homestand beginning Saturday, May 16th at 7:00 p.m.. RHP Ty Taubenheim is scheduled to start for Indianapolis, while RHP J.D. Martin is expected to get the nod for the Chiefs.
The contest will be carried by WXLW-950 AM and www.IndyIndians.com with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley. The pre-game show begins at 6:40 p.m.
Post-game quotes -- RHP Jeremy Powell
(on what was working for him in his four innings of scoreless relief)
"Just like the last time I faced the Red Wings I was throwing everything. I would throw a couple off-speed pitches to keep them off-balance and then go to the fastball. Tonight, I also had a good sinker and two-seam fastball working. I wasn't overpowering, but my pitches had enough movement, and I was able to get them to hit the ball on the ground."
(on if any pressure came off after Kratz's three-run blast in the fifth)
"A little bit of weight came off my shoulders for sure. It definitely gave us a lot of breathing room, but we still had a lot of the game to go at the time. I just continued to try to get the team as deep into the game as possible. And in the end it worked out for us as we were able to come away with this great win."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.