Tribe pitching remains dominant in 5-2 win over Braves

The Indianapolis Indians (18-7) received dominant outings from hurlers Brooks Brown and Ryan Reid as the Tribe pitched a two-hitter through 7.0 frames en route to a 5-2 win over the Gwinnett Braves (12-13) on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field. Indianapolis has now won seven of eight contests during its 10-game homestand, and the Tribe’s 18 total wins are tied for the second most in all of Minor League Baseball.

RHP Brooks Brown worked a masterful outing in his second spot start of the season, despite opening the contest with a leadoff triple to Jose Constanza. The right-hander appeared unphased, however, and recovered to strike out the side and escape the first-inning jam unharmed.

Brown (4.0 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 3 SO) never looked back from there and followed with three straight hitless innings in which he faced just one batter above the minimum. He walked just one and fanned three through his 4.0 scoreless innings to set the table for the Indianapolis bullpen. In his two spot starts this season, Brown has combined to navigate 8.0 shutout frames while walking only one and striking out seven.

Following the starter’s departure from the contest, RHP Ryan Reid (W, 3.0 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 SO) took the hill for Indianapolis. Reid authored 2.0 perfect frames through the fifth and sixth inning before allowing a runner to reach base safely in the seventh.

The Tribe hurler opened the frame with a leadoff walk to Gwinnett slugger 1B Ernesto Mejia in front of a line out from RF Jordan Parraz. SS Sean Kazmar then finally broke the Indians hurler’s hitless streak when he laced a single into left field for the Braves’ first hit against the Tribe in 6.1 innings.

With two runners on and only one out, Reid quickly erased the threat as he induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and pick up his league-high tying fourth win.

Indianapolis looked to its usual suspects for run support in the afternoon’s early-goings as CF Alex Presley coaxed a leadoff walk in the first, took second on a sac bunt from 2B Josh Harrison and came to rest at third on a flyout to right from SS Jordy Mercer. The hit-collector, Matt Hague, then put the Tribe on the board with a two-out single to center that made the score 1-0.

Hague again helped the Indians find the scoreboard when he ignited a two-run rally in the fourth, smacking the first of back-to-back singles between the first baseman and Mercer. With two runners on, LF Felix Pie laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance both Hague and Mercer, and following a strikeout from C Lucas May, 3B Ivan DeJesus Jr. knocked a two-out, two-run base hit that widened the lead to 3-0.

With a total of three two-out RBI in today’s win, the Tribe has now notched 36 two-out RBI as part of its 86 total runs driven in this season.

The home team later added an insurance run to make it 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh as PH Darren Ford reached on a throwing error by C Matt Kennelly, swiped second base on the next at-bat and crossed home on an RBI single from 2B Josh Harrison.

Ford’s stolen base extended Indianapolis’ streak to seven straight games with at least one steal, a span in which the team has nabbed 14 total bases from opponents.

Just as the word “shutout” was on the tip of the lips, 3B Luis Nunez dashed all hopes of a scoreless contest with a towering solo shot to left field to bring the Braves within 4-1. Tribe reliever RHP Erik Cordier followed with a pitch that plunked C Matt Pagnozzi, who dashed to third on a double from the International League’s hit leader LF Joey Terdoslavich.

Following an Indians pitching change, 2B Corey Wimberly kept the rally going with a sac fly to left that brought in Pagnozzi and cut the deficit to 5-2. RHP Mike Zagurski then quelled the Gwinnett uprising with two strikeouts, preserving Indianapolis’ lead.

The home team added an insurance run in the eighth when LF Felix Pie scored on an error before RHP Bryan Morris worked a scoreless ninth to seal the 5-2 Tribe victory and earn his fifth save of the season.

Gwinnett starter Tim Corcoran (L, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 SO) took the loss after allowing three earned runs on six hits in 5.0 innings of work. After earning a victory in his season debut, the Braves right-hander has now dropped two straight decisions.

Mercer’s fifth-inning single extended his hitting streak to six straight games, a span in which he’s batting .429 (9-for-21).

The Indians will go for their third straight win over Gwinnett tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at Victory Field. The Tribe is expected to send LHP Andy Oliver (1-1, 3.76) to the hill against Braves right-hander Omar Poveda (2-0, 1.75).

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