The Indianapolis Indians offense erupted for a season-high 13 runs on 18 hits highlighted by center fielder Starling Marte reaching base five times as well as four-hit performances from third baseman Matt Hague and first baseman Nick Evans as the Tribe went on to blow away the Durham Bulls 13-2 on Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
After the first off day of the season, the Indianapolis offense came to play on Friday night, shooting out of the games with eight runs over the first two innings, before sandwiching three tallies in the fifth between single scores in the fourth and seventh. The Tribe’s top seven were tremendous with each batter collecting multiple hits, five scoring multiple runs and three driving in multiple runs.
Marte got things rolling with a double to lead-off the game, the first of two doubles and the first of five times that the Tribe’s top prospect would be on base. Hague then plated Marte for the first score of the contest with an RBI double to right, one batter later, for the first of his four base knocks and first of his three RBI.
DH Jake Fox then followed Hague’s two-bagger with a mammoth two-run home run to left field that scored Hague and pushed the Indians advantage to 3-0. Fox remains red hot since coming of the Indianapolis disabled list as he also added a run scoring single in the second and has now gone 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and six RBI in his first two starts with the Tribe this season.
Following Fox’s big fly in the first the Tribe would tack another tally when an RBI double from LF Brandon Boggs plated Evans, who reached on an error following the home run. After plating four scores and batting completely around in the first, the Indians would do the same in the second, this time getting things kick started with a lead-off walk from Marte.
2B Anderson Hernandez then followed with the first of four consecutive singles by the Tribe with the base hits from Hague and Fox each bringing home scores and the one from Evans pushing Hague to third where he would later score on a sacrifice fly from SS Jordy Mercer. Finally, after a Boggs base hit loaded the bases, an RBI groundout from C Eric Fryer would push the Tribe advantage to 8-0 after just two innings played.
The Indians offense was not finished, however, as Evans brought out the power bat in the middle frames, leading off the fourth with a solo shot to right-center, before ripping a two-run double with one out in the fifth. Before Evans finished off the fifth with his two-run two-bagger, Marte led off the frame with his second walk of the night and came home when Hague connected on an RBI single to center.
Fittingly, after beginning the scoring, Marte would finish it as he put the icing on cake with an RBI double in the seventh that plated Mercer and gave the Indians their finally total of 13 runs. Marte’s table setting proved to be a key to the Tribe’s success on Friday evening as he not only ripped two doubles, but also drew two walks, took a hit-by-pitch and scored three runs.
Overshadowed by the Indians offensive outburst was excellent pitching from Tribe starter Jo-Jo Reyes and reliever Bryan Morris. Reyes (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) went six innings to earn the victory and move into a tie for second in the International League with his third win already this season. Morris (3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO) would take over for Reyes in the seventh and toss three scoreless innings of relief to pick up his second save of the season.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Durham starter Alex Torres (1.0 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K) suffered his third loss of the season surrendering seven runs (six earned) on six hits in just an inning of work.
Indianapolis and Durham now continue their four-game series on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. LHP Rudy Owens, who entering Friday night led all starters in Minor League Baseball with a 0.43 WHIP since April 15 is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Tribe, while the Bulls are expected to counter with RHP Chris Archer.