• VandenHurk strong once again as Tribe’s magic number lowered to four

    August 22, 2012 No comments

    Starting pitcher Rick VandenHurk allowed just an unearned run on two singles and two walks while striking out eight over 7.1 innings to lead the Indianapolis Indians to a 2-1 win over the Syracuse Chiefs in the series finale on Tuesday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.

    After the Indians shut out Syracuse 2-0 the night before, VandenHurk (7.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) continued the Tribe dominance on the mound by surrendering just two hits while striking out eight over a masterful 7.1 innings to earn his team-leading 12 victory of the season. The dominant outing for VandenHurk continued a superb month of August during which the right hander has posted a 2-1 record and 1.95 ERA (6 ER in 27.2 IP) with 27 strikeouts and just six walks across four starts.

    The only real trouble that VandenHurk ran into came in the eighth, when a Tribe error allowed SS Zach Walters to reach base to lead off the frame, before a walk put runners on first and second with no one out. Prior to allowing the first two men in the eighth to reach, VandenHurk had allowed just three Syracuse baserunners over the first seven frames.

    The Chiefs would however take advantage of the Indians misstep as after a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with just one out, LF Eury Perez legged out an infield single to score Walters and cut the Tribe advantage to 2-1. Yet after playing the hero with the RBI base knock, Perez would make what proved to be the games biggest mistake as he was caught attempting to steal second base during the next at-bat by C Tony Sanchez.

    Following Perez’s caught stealing, which was a key second out in the frame, reliever Evan Meek would induce an inning-ending groundout from the Chiefs powerful CF Corey Brown to preserve the Tribe’s 2-1 lead. Despite serving up Perez’s RBI base knock earlier in the frame Meek (0.2 IP, 1 H) finished off the eighth to earn his eighth hold of the season.

    Tribe closer Tim Wood (1.0 IP, 2 SO) then shut the door on another Tribe victory by striking out two in a perfect ninth to earn his 20th save of the season. The 20 saves for Wood are the second highest total in the International League, while the Indianapolis closer also boasts an excellent 2.14 ERA over a team-high 51 appearances.

    In what was the Indians and Chiefs second straight pitcher’s duel, the Tribe would once again get all the offense they would need with one swing of the bat. After the two teams exchanged zeros over the first four frames, SS Chase d’Arnaud came through with a clutch two-out two-run home run in the top of the fifth for what proved to be the Indians’ only scores of the contest.

    The longball for d’Arnaud was his fourth on the season and first since he connected on July 4 at Victory Field. Travelling along on d’Arnaud’s dinger was 2B Brock Holt, who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the frame.

    The red-hot Holt continued his impressive run as he led off the game with a single and later drew a walk and stole his first base at the Triple-A level. With his lead-off base hit, Holt also extended his team-best hitting streak to 10 games, during which the left-handed slugger is batting .476 (20-for-42) with three runs, four doubles and four RBI.

    Syracuse starter Tanner Roark (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO) suffered a tough luck loss as he fell to 6-16 despite allowing just two scores while striking out 10 over six innings of work. Following Roark, Chiefs relievers Mike MacDougal (1.0 IP, 1 BB), Atahualpa Severino (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) and Erik Davis (1.0 IP, 1 H) combined for three innings of scoreless relief in a losing effort.

    With the victory the Indians earned the 3-1 series victory over Syracuse and improved to 78-53 on the season. The Tribe also lowered their magic number for an International League West division title to four, dropping it by just one as the Columbus Clippers earned a 10-7 comeback win over the Louisville Bats.

    Indianapolis now returns home for a six-game homestand beginning with a three-game series against the Louisville Bats, which gets under way at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night. RHP Chris Leroux is expected to start the series opener for the Tribe, while the Bats are scheduled to counter with RHP Kanekoa Texeira.

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