The Indianapolis Indians offense exploded after an early pitcher’s duel to hammer the Louisville Bats 10-3 Saturday at Slugger Field in Louisville. With the victory, the Indians moved to twenty games over .500 at 51-31, and increased its lead in the International League’s West division to 10.5 games over second-place Columbus.
1B Jeff Clement hit his team-leading 10th home run to get Indianapolis on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Louisville countered with a run in the home half to even the score at 1-1 before the Indians offense kicked into high gear.
The Tribe put a crooked number on the board in the sixth after when Matt Hague belted a three run bomb to give Indianapolis the lead for good. The Indians plated four runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth against the beleaguered Louisville pitching staff. All four Bats hurlers allowed at least one run. Louisville starter Chad Reineke was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs in six innings of work.
Clement and Hague led the Tribe’s attack offensively, aided by CF Starling Marte, LF Gorkys Hernandez, and 2B Chase d’Arnaud. They combined for 10 hits and eight RBI’s as the surging Indians finished 20-9 in the month of June.
Clement says it’s no surprise why the Indians are in first place. “We’ve got a really good team. We pitch the ball really well, we have been swinging it really well, we play defense really well, you do those three things well as a team and you are going to win a lot of games. Offense picked up today and put a lot of crooked numbers on the board. Anytime you put up 10 runs you are probably going to win the game.”
Indianapolis again received a quality pitching start. Daniel Cabrera (6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) was solid to improve his record to 4-3. Relievers Duke Welker and Kris Johnson shut down the Bats over the final three innings.
The series continues Sunday when All-Star Rudy Owens goes to the bump for Indianapolis. He’ll be opposed by Louisville’s Tim Gustafson.