Tribe starter Brandon Cumpton along with relievers Mike Zagurski and Vic Black held the International League’s top offense to just one unearned run on three hits, while right fielder Jerry Sands smashed the game-winning triple in the bottom of the seventh to lead the Indianapolis Indians (30-13) to a 2-1 series clinching victory over the Buffalo Bisons (24-16) on Friday night at Victory Field.
Indianapolis continued their record-setting start and earned a 3-1 series victory over the first place Buffalo Bisons to improve to a Minor League baseball best 20-5 at home this season. Victory Field also welcomed its 10 millionth fan on the record-setting night as Cam Maddox was named the honorary 10 millionth fan and walked away with a prize package worth $1500.
After grounding into rally ending double plays in each of his first two at-bats, C Tony Sanchez sparked what proved to be the Indians’ game-winning rally in the seventh. With one out, the Tribe backstop lined a double to left to extend his hitting streak to seven-straight games during which he is now batting .458 (11-for-24) with five runs, six doubles and seven RBI.
Following Sanchez’s two-bagger, Sands supplied the clutch hit of the night as he launched a triple to deep center field to plate what proved to be the Tribe’s winning tally. The right handed slugger, who entered the series with just four extra-base hits on the season has now collected a double and triple in each of his last two contests.
Cumpton (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO) did not figure in the final decision despite turning in a brilliant performance in which allowed just one unearned run on two singles while striking out seven over 6.0 innings. Over his last three starts, the Triple-A rookie has now posted a miniscule 1.89 ERA (4 ER in 19.0 IP) with 19 strikeouts and only nine walks.
Following Cumpton, Indianapolis relievers Mike Zagurski and Vic Black combined for 3.0 innings of scoreless relief to finish out the victory. Zagurski (1.1 IP, 2 SO) tossed 1.1 hitless frames and picked up his first win of the season, while Black (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) shut out the Bisons over the final 1.2 frames to notch his 11th save.
Buffalo got on the board first when they plated an unearned run in the top of the second. 1B Luis Jimenez led off the frame with a base-on-balls, moved to second on a single by 3B Andy LaRoche and eventually trotted home on a Tribe miscue.
Indianapolis, however, quickly answered the bell with a run of their own in the bottom half of the second as 3B Jared Goedert battled through a 10-pitch at-bat to belt a solo homer over the left field wall. The longball was Goedert’s third of the season and capped a powerful homestand in which the Tribe belted seven longballs over eight home contests.
After exchanging single scores in the second, both starters settled in and held the offenses off the board over the next four frames. Indianapolis, however, finally broke through with a single score in the bottom of the seventh off Buffalo right hander Justin Germano.
The seventh inning score ended up pinning Germano (7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) with the loss, dropping his record to 3-3 on the season. The veteran starter suffered the loss despite turning in by far his best outing of the season, allowing just two runs on nine hits over 7.0 innings of work.
Indianapolis now heads on the road for an eight-game road trip, beginning with a 6:05 p.m. contest in Pawtucket on Saturday night. LHP Kris Johnson (3-3, 3.68) is scheduled to take the hill for the Indians, while the PawSox are expected to send LHP Franklin Morales to the mound.