Sands first inning grand slam powers Tribe past PawSox

Right fielder Jerry Sands blasted a first inning grand slam and third baseman Jared Goedert added a solo shot in the sixth to help power the Indianapolis Indians (32-14) past the Pawtucket Red Sox (26-19) 8-4 on Monday night at McCoy Stadium.

One night after suffering their worst loss of the season, the Indians offense led them to a bounce back victory over the PawSox in game three of the series on Monday evening. Indianapolis jumped out of the gates quickly and never looked back plating five first frame scores on the bats of the evening’s offensive stars in Sands and Goedert.

CF Alex Presley began the first frame offensive outburst with a lead-off walk, before the red-hot Felix Pie later followed with an infield single to move Presley into scoring position. With two outs, Goedert then plated the games first score when he lined a single to center to bring home Presley and give the Tribe a 1-0 advantage.

On the attempt to get Presley at the plate, both Pie and Goedert moved into scoring position, leaving first base open for LF Brett Carroll, who drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Up to the plate stepped the suddenly surging Sands, who cleared the bases with his second homer of the season, depositing the ball over the left field fence to give Indianapolis what proved to be an insurmountable 5-0 lead.

The PawSox attempted to mount a comeback behind a powerful swing of their own as top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. blasted a mammoth two-run homer to right-center field in the bottom of the third to cut the Indians advantage to 5-2. However, Indianapolis quickly responded with single scores of their own in the fifth and sixth as Pie lined a two-out run scoring single in the fifth, before Goedert smashed a solo shot to lead-off the sixth.

The roundtripper for Goedert was his fourth on the season and continued a recent power surge for the Indians offense. With Goedert’s blast and Sands’ slam the Tribe has now hit 19 home runs in 19 games in the month of May after connecting on just 11 longballs in 27 contests in April.

Pawtucket managed two more runs on the evening as former Indians INF Brock Holt roped a two-out single to score 1B Brandon Snyder in the bottom of the seventh and SS Jose Iglesias launched a solo homer in the top of the ninth. However, Indianapolis pushed across another tally of their own in the eighth as two walks and a base hit for Goedert loaded the bases for C Lucas May, who drew a free pass to force home the final Tribe tally.

While Goedert (3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB) and Sands (1-for-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB) provided the games big blows, the top of the Tribe lineup also turned in an impressive performance as Presley (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, BB), Harrison (2-for-5) and Pie (2-for-5, R, RBI) each posted multi-hit efforts.

Despite not striking out a batter, Tribe starter Brooks Brown (6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO) went 6.2 innings and earned the victory to improve to 3-0 on the season as he also did not walk a batter and induced three key PawSox double plays. Following Brown, LHP Mike Zagurski (1.1 IP, 1 BB, 3 SO) and RHP Tim Alderson (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO) finished out the victory, with Zagurski fanning three in 1.1 innings to increase his strikeout total to an unbelievable 34 in just 19.2 innings this season.

Pawtucket starter, knuckleballer Steven Wright (6.0 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) could not recover from the Tribe’s five-run first and was pinned with the loss to fall to 2-2 on the season.

Indianapolis will look for the series victory over Pawtucket in the series finale set for 12:05 p.m. on Tuesday. The Indians are expected to send LHP Andy Oliver (3-1, 2.61 ERA) to the mound, while the PawSox are scheduled to counter with RHP Rubby De La Rosa (0-1, 3.65 ERA)

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