By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats kept their chances for a division three-peat alive Friday night.
The Bats bombed the host Indianapolis Indians 16-6 at Victory Field. The win moved Louisville (78-62) within a half-game of Columbus (79-62), which lost 5-3 to Toledo on Friday, in the International League West with three games remaining in the regular season.
The two-time defending IL West champ Bats, who lead Syracuse (75-65) by three games in the IL wildcard standings, can clinch at least a playoff spot with a victory Saturday, or a loss by the Chiefs.
Louisville lambasted Indy - posting the most runs it has scored since a 19-6 win over Charlotte on July 27 - by scoring six runs in the first inning, four in the fourth, two in the fifth, three in the seventh and one in the ninth. Danny Dorn, Todd Frazier and Michael Griffin had four RBIs apiece to lead the Bats to just their fourth victory in their last 10 games.
Dave Sappelt led off Friday night's game with a single, he moved to third when Zack Cozart followed with a triple. Indians starter Michael Crotta (5-10) then walked Dorn to load the bases before Frazier cleared them with a triple. After Mike Costanzo walked Eric Eymann grounded out to score Frazier. Griffin followed with a two-run homer to right field to make it 6-0. Crotta lasted only one inning, allowing those six runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one.
Indy answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning off Louisville starter Tom Cochran. The left-hander, who was promoted from Double-A Carolina on Thursday, lasted four innings in his Triple-A debut giving up three earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five.
The Bats increased their lead to 10-3 in the fourth.
Griffin tripled with one out off Indy reliever Corey Hamman, then scored on Sappelt's two-out double. After Cozart walked Dorn doubled home Sappelt and Cozart. Frazier followed with his 31st double of the season to score Dorn.
In the fifth Eymann walked with one out, then scored on Griffin's two-run homer off Indians reliever Anthony Claggett.
Indy scored three in the sixth off reliever Jerry Gil to cut Louisville's lead to 12-6, but the Bats came back with three of their own in the seventh.
Eymann doubled with one out, moved to third on Griffin's single, then scored on a single by newcomer Sean Henry. Henry, who was promoted from Carolina earlier in the day, took second (and Griffin moved to third) on Sappelt's ground out. Cozart followed with a single to score Griffin before Dorn greeted new pitcher Brian Bass with a single to score Henry.
Henry led off the ninth with a double, then scored on Dorn's two-out double.
Griffin went 4-for-5 to lead Louisville's 18-hit attack. Dorn and Frazier added three hits apiece for the Bats.
Louisville's Philippe Valiquette (2-1) picked up the victory with two innings of scoreless relief. He allowed one hit while walking one and striking out one over the seventh and eighth innings before giving way to Jared Burton in the ninth.
The Bats close out their road portion of the regular season at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Indianapolis. The two teams then return to Slugger Field for the final two games of the regular season. Louisville right-hander Matt Klinker (4-3, 5.74 earned run average) will take on Indy righty Jeremy Powell (10-9, 4.84).
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