Tribe knocks off Chiefs as Clement hits for cycle

Tribe first baseman Jeff Clement lined a second-inning double, roped a third-inning single, launched a sixth-inning home run and collected a seventh-inning triple to hit for the third cycle in Victory Field history as the Indianapolis Indians defeated the Syracuse Chiefs 7-3 on Saturday night.

It was a historic night for Tribe 1B Jeff Clement who, with his 10th career triple in the bottom of seventh inning, completed the third cycle in Victory Field history. Clement joined current teammate Alex Presley — who hit for the cycle in his third game in an Indians uniform on June 27, 2010 against Toledo — and OF Jason Conti, who accomplished the feat on July 10, 2003 against Norfolk.

Clement began his record-setting performance with a double to lead off the second inning before quickly coming around to score the Tribe’s first run of the game when 3B Yamaico Navarro followed with a base hit to center.  The run from Clement cut the Syracuse deficit to 2-1 after the Chiefs had plated two tallies in the top of the second on a triple from 3B Carlos Rivero and base hit from C Jeff Howell.

Overshadowed by Clement’s performance was that of OF Alex Presley, who would give the Indians the lead for good when he blasted a mammoth two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the third. Presley would finish the night 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, adding a double in the seventh inning along with his fourth longball with the Indians this season.

After Presley’s homer put the Indians ahead 3-2, Clement launched a solo shot to left field to lead off the bottom of the sixth to extend the Tribe’s advantage to 4-2. Then came the seventh inning, when after Presely’s two-out two-bagger and a walk to SS Chase d’Arnaud, CF Starling Marte beat out an infield single to plate Presley and extend the game for Clement.

The Indians first baseman then stepped to the plate and belted a ball to deepest part of the ballpark, left-center field, legging out just the 10th triple of his eight-year career while plating both d’Arnaud and Marte.  The record-setting three-bagger was Clement’s first since June 25, 2010 when also as a member of the Tribe, the left-handed slugger connected on a triple against Toledo at Victory Field.

The historic performance by Clement continued a red-hot streak for the slugger, who over his last five games is now hitting .421 (6-for-15) with five runs, two home runs and five RBI. It also continued a recent power surge as Clement has now belted five home runs over his last 10 games and is batting .378 (14-for-37) with 10 runs scored over that stretch.

Clement’s performance helped Tribe starting pitcher Jeff Locke (7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) earn the victory and improve to 4-3 on the season. After working out of trouble in the second inning, Locke finished his outing with five straight scoreless frames while striking out six and walking just one. Syracuse starter Tanner Roark (5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six over five innings of work.

With the victory the Indians improve to 32-23 on the season, while the Chiefs fall to 26-29 with the loss. The two teams will continue their series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. with RHP Daniel Cabrera (1-1, 3.82) expected to take the mound for the Tribe and RHP Mitch Atkins (4-4, 3.49) scheduled to start for the Chiefs.

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