In his Triple-A debut, Norfolk left hander Rick Zagone held the Tribe to just three hits and struck out six over 6.1 innings while first baseman Joe Mahoney provided the games only scores with a two-run longball in the top of the fifth inning as the Tides went on to shut out the Indianapolis Indians 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field.
Zagone (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO), who joined Norfolk earlier in the day, turned in a masterful effort, holding the Indians to just five total baserunners to earn the win in his first career Triple-A outing. Following Zagone’s dominating performance, Tides relievers Miguel Gonzalez (1.2 IP, 1 BB, 4 SO) and Jon Link (1.0 IP, 1 H) shut down the Tribe the rest of the way with Gonzalez earning his fifth hold of the season and Link notching his first save.
While the Tides hurlers washed away the Indians offense, Mahoney provided all the run support the Tides would need on the afternoon. With the score tied 0-0 in the top of the fifth, Mahoney finished off a bloop-and-a-blast combination with his third homer of the season scoring C Chris Robinson, who had roped a one-out base knock before traveling along on the roundtripper.
Along with his longball, Mahoney would also add an double in the seventh to finish as the only batter on either side with multiple hits. Though no Tribe batter managed a multi-hit effort, SS Chase d’Arnaud, DH Jeff Clement and 3B Jordy Mercer all reached base twice.
With his second inning base knock, Mercer extended his hitting streak to an Indians’ season-best 14 games, stretching all the way back to April 30. During his streak, Mercer is hitting .375 (21-for-56) with six runs, four doubles and five RBI.
The tough loss spoiled an excellent effort from Tribe starter Rudy Owens (8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) who took the loss to fall to 2-1 on the season despite giving up only the two-run blast to Mahoney over a season-long eight innings. After returning to the Indians roster earlier in the day, southpaw reliever Kris Johnson (1.0 IP) tossed an inning of scoreless work out of the Indianapolis bullpen.
The Indians wrap up their season’s-longest 10-game homestand and their series with Norfolk on Monday morning at 11:05 a.m. LHP Justin Wilson is scheduled to start the series finale for the Tribe, while the Tides are expected to counter with RHP Steve Johnson.