Four Louisville hurlers, led by starter Chad Reineke, who earned the win with six strong innings, held the Indianapolis Indians to just two runs — one earned — on six hits while the Bats offense used timely hitting to double up the Tribe and come away with a 4-2 victory on Monday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
After Indianapolis failed to cash in on a bases-loaded scoring chance in the top of the second, Louisville responded in the bottom of the frame by taking advantage of a scoring opportunity of their own. After a double, walk and passed ball put runners of second and third with one out, Bats C Dioner Navarro placed a swinging-bunt single down the third base line to drive in SS Paul Janish and give Louisville a 1-0 lead.
The Bats added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Janish and RF Bill Rhinehart led off the frame with back-to-back walks and Navarro came through again with a double to left field that scored Janish to make it 2-0 in favor of Louisville. Two batters later, a sacrifice fly by 2B Chris Valaika scored Rhinehart and pushed the Bats advantage to 3-0.
The Indians would get on the board in the top of the sixth thanks to LF Nick Evans and 3B Jordy Mercer. Evans led off the frame by reaching second base on a fielding error and, after a strikeout, came around to score when Mercer smacked an RBI-double to left field to cut the Louisville lead to 3-1.
The Bats got that run back in the bottom of the seventh when 1B Neftali Soto and 3B Mike Constanzo hit back-to-back one-out singles before Janish doubled off the left field wall to drive in Soto. A strong throw by Evans kept Constanzo at third and held the Bats lead at 4-1.
Indianapolis made an admirable last-ditch comeback effort in the top of the ninth, started by CF Starling Marte’s two-out single. After Marte took second base on a wild pitch, SS Anderson Hernandez singled to center field, driving in Marte and bringing the tying run to the plate in Mercer. The Tribe third baseman put a good swing on a pitch and hit a flyball to left field, but Bats LF Kristopher Negron settled under it to end the ballgame with a final score of 4-2. Despite the flyout, Mercer finished the contest with a game-high three hits , his second multi-hit game in four days.
Reineke (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) surrendered just an unearned run to pick up the win, his first decision in four starts. Following Reineke, Bats relievers Nick Christiani (1.0 IP, 1 K) and Ron Mahay (1.0 IP, 2 BB, 2 K) combined for two hitless frames of relief, before RHP Jordan Smith (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) picked up his first save of the season despite giving up two hits and a run in the ninth.
Tribe started Justin Wilson (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K) had control issues — walking five batters in five innings — and took the loss, his third of the year. Two bright spots out of the Indianapolis bullpen were LHP Daniel Moskos (1.0 IP, 1 H), who tossed his fourth straight scoreless outing and new arrival RHP Jared Hughes (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO), who worked a scoreless eighth in his first action since being optioned from Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis and Louisville get back to action on Tuesday night as the teams begin the Indianapolis portion of thier current five-game home-and-home series. LHP Jeff Locke (1-1, 4.80) is projected to take the mound for the Indians while the Bats are expected to counter with RHP Andrew Brackman (1-2, 9.28). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.