After a long day of traveling and coming off an extended road trip, the Indianapolis Indians fell flat in their return home. The Pawtucket Red Sox knocked around Tribe starter Brad Lincoln for five runs on seven hits en route to a 12-3 victory over Indianapolis before a sellout crowd of 14,481 on Friday night at Victory Field.
With the loss Indianapolis falls back to the .500 mark at 38-38 on the season, while the win improves Pawtucket’s record to 39-34. The victory also gives the Red Sox a 1-0 series lead and improves their record to 2-3 against the Tribe this season.
After the first two Pawtucket batters were quickly retired in the top of the second, DH Ryan Lavarnway lined a double to deep right field to spark the PawSox eventual four-run rally. Following the two-bagger, RF Nate Spears ripped a base hit to center to plate Lavarnway and put Pawtucket ahead 1-0.
C Luis Exposito then extended the rally when he drew a base-on-balls to set the stage for 2B Brent Dlugach, who launched a double to right to plate Spears and push the PaxSox lead to 2-0. The two-base hit for Dlugach continued his run of success at Victory Field, as the right handed slugger has now hit .355 (22-for-62) with eight runs and ten RBI in 16 games in his career at Indianapolis.
Following Dlugach’s drive, Lin lifted what turned out to be the game-winning base hit when he plated both Exposito and Dlugach with a soft base knock that fell amongst three Tribe defenders. Along with his two-run two-out second inning single, Lin also scored an insurance run for the Red Sox in the fifth and put the game away with a bases-clearing double in the eighth.
RF Daniel Nava scored Lin with a two-out double in the fifth to push the Pawtucket lead to 5-2, before the Red Sox broke the game wide-open with five runs in the eighth. In the eighth inning offensive outburst, PawSox batters drew four walks, including two with the bases loaded, before Lin capped the frame with his three-run two-bagger.
Center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin (3-for-5, 1 R, 5 RBI) led all batters with three base knocks and a season-best five RBI, while Lavarnway (2-for-3, 2 R) and Spears (2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI) also collected multiple hits for the PawSox. Also joining Lavarnway with multiple runs scored on the evening for Pawtucket were Exposito (0-for-2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB) and Dlugach (1-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB), while only 3B Josh Harrison (2-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB) posted a multi-hit and run effort for the Tribe.
PawSox starter Kyle Weiland and two relievers combined to hold the Tribe offense to just two earned runs on six hits. Weiland (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO) worked through some early control issues to come away with the victory and improve to 6-6 on the season.
Meanwhile, Lincoln (5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 6-7 on the season after surrendering five runs on seven hits, while striking out six over five innings of work. Recently acquired reliever Steven Jackson (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) was a bright spot out of the Indians’ bullpen, tossing two scoreless frames of relief.
The two teams resume their four game series with a Saturday night special. First pitch at the “Vic” is scheduled for 7:05PM.