In his first start of the season, Indiana native and Cathedral High School graduate Jake Fox used two doubles to drive in three of the Tribe’s five runs, while five Indianapolis pitchers combined to hold the Louisville Bats offense to a lone run in a 5-1 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Victory Field.
Despite eventually suffering the loss to fall to 0-3 on the season, major league veteran Brett Tomko (6.0 IP, 4 H< 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO) began the contest with four straight perfect innings. However, a lead-off walk to LF Nick Evans in the fifth inning led to an Indians rally and an eventual loss for the long-time big leaguer.
After Evans broke up the perfect game bid with his base-on-balls to leadoff the fifth, CF Brandon Boggs ended the no-hit attempt one batter later with a one-out single to left. Fox then followed with his first career hit for the Indians, a double to deep left field that plated both Evans and Boggs and gave Indianapolis a 2-0 advantage.
Louisville fell victim to another lead-off walk in the top of the seventh, when Boggs led off the frame with a base-on-balls off of reliever Scott Carroll, who took over for Tomko to begin the frame. Fox immediately made the Bats pay when he ripped his second double of the game to center field to plate Boggs and push the Tribe lead to 3-0.
Starling Marte would continue to tack onto the Tribe’s lead with an RBI-double of his own later in the seventh that brought pinch-runner Gorkys Hernandez plateward. C Jose Morales then capped the Indians scoring with a two-out RBI-single that scored Marte to give the Indians a 5-0 advantage.
Fox and friends came alive at the plate late to support a fantastic combined effort from five Indians hurlers. Indianapolis pitchers Kris Johnson, Tim Wood, Daniel McCutchen, Daniel Moskos and Jose Diaz combined to hold the Bats to just one run on five hits while striking out eight.
Johnson (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 SO), who was making his first start since May of 2011, worked out of a second-inning bases-loaded jam to complete two scoreless frames before Wood (3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 SO) worked three strong frames to pick up his first win of the season.
McCutchen (3.0 IP, 2 SO) would earn his first hold of the season with a dominating effort in which he struck out two over three perfect innings of relief. Finally, after getting two quick outs to begin the ninth LHP Daniel Moskos (0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB) would surrender the lone Bats run on an RBI-double from 3B Mike Constanzo before closer Jose Diaz (0.1 IP) came on to shut the door for his second one-out save in as many days.
After an off day Thursday, the Indians will hit the road for an eight-game road trip, beginning with a four-game series in Durham that kicks off with a 7:05 p.m. contest on Friday, April 27. The Indians are expected to send LHP Jo-Jo Reyes to the mound, while the Bulls are scheduled to start LHP Alex Torres.