Bats drop seventh straight, 7-3 to Indians [Sports]

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The Indianapolis Indians scored seven consecutive runs highlighted by homers from Yamaico Navarro and Jordy Mercer as they beat the Louisville Bats for the fourth straight time, 7-3. Rick Vandenhurk started for the Indians and tossed six strong innings to pick up his eighth win of the season. Vandenhurk (8-0) has yet to lose a decision in 2012. A crowd of 11,118 saw the Bats lose their seven straight.

With the Bats up 2-0, the Indians (54-31) caught fire in the fourth. After Starling Marte and Jeff Clement each singled to begin the inning, Yamaico Navarro crushed a three run homer to push the Indians to the lead. The next batter, Jordy Mercer, doubled and later scored when Jeff Larish grounded into a double play to make it 4-2.

After Navarro scored on a throwing error in the sixth, Mercer capped the Indians’ scoring with a 436-foot bomb to left field in the seventh to make it 7-2. The Indians have now won seven straight and are 12-3 against the Bats this season.

The Bats’ losing streak comes on the heels of a season-high nine game winning streak. During the losing streak, the Bats have been outscored 52-19 and they are hitting just .225.

For the first time since June 26, the Bats were the first to score. Their first run came in the second when Willie Harris scored from third when Mike Costanzo grounded into a double play. The Bats got two more on before Sean Gallagher struck out to end the inning.

The very next inning, the Bats got an RBI single from Denis Phipps. It was Phipps’ second straight game with an RBI. The Bats got runners to the corners with one out and a chance to plate more but Neftali Soto struck out and Costanzo grounded out, ending the threat.

Louisville (31-56) had plenty of chances throughout the game. They had  two on with one out or less in the fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings but scored just once, on Cody Puckett’s sacrifice fly in the ninth. They finished with 11 hits but only 3 runs to show for them. As a team the Bats were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base. They lost for just the eighth time (20-8) when outhitting their opponent.

“That’s happened to us a few times this year,” Bats manager David Bell said. “We spread (hits) out too much and it is frustrating at times.”

A pair of bright spots offensively for the Bats were Dioner Navarro and Felix Perez. Navarro, who will represent the Bats at next week’s Triple-A All Star Game, went 3-for-4 in the game for his fifth three-hit performance of the season.

“(Navarro) has done it all,” Bell said. “He’s hit from both sides of the plate and been really impressive defensively.”

Perez went 1-for-3 in the game and has now hit safely in 23 of his last 31 games. In that time, Perez is hitting .336 with eleven doubles, two homers, and twelve RBIs. Unfortunately, Perez came up limp after trying to beat out a grounder in the seventh and was removed.

“We’re hoping it’s cramps,” Bell said. “That would be the best case scenario.”

The Bats and Indians head to Indianapolis for the final two of their six-game split series, the first of which is Wednesday. Ryan Feierabend (1-2, 5.81 ERA) will be on the mound for the Bats against the Indians’ Jeff Locke (6-4, 3.05). First pitch for the Fourth of July affair is set for 6:05 p.m.

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