By Josh Cook
Pitching has been a strength of the Louisville Bats all season, and that was never more apparent than Monday night.
The Bats swept a doubleheader from the host Indianapolis Indians, beating them 6-0 and 1-0 in a pair of seven-inning games at Victory Field. It marks the first time all season Louisville has had back-to-back shutouts and it tied the Bats with Durham and Pawtucket for the International League lead in that category - all three have nine.
It also gave the Bats five straight wins, which matches their season-best streak set from May 7-11.
In Game 1 Louisville got a solid start from Chad Reineke and backed him up with single runs in the first and fourth innings and two runs each in the second and third.
In the first Zack Cozart singled with one out, took second on Yonder Alonso's ground out then scored on Todd Frazier's double.
In the second Wladimir Balentien led off with a single, then scored on Chris Valaika's first home run of the season off Indians starter Dana Eveland.
Alonso led off the third with his fifth homer of the season to make it 4-0. Frazier followed with his second double of the game, and his 14th of the season. He moved to third on Juan Francisco's ground out then scored when Balentien greeted new pitcher Brian Bass with a sacrifice fly. Eveland (0-1), a left-hander, gave up five earned runs on six hits while walking one and striking out one over 2 1/3 innings in his first start since being sent down from the parent Pittsburgh Pirates.
Louisville made it 6-0 in the fourth when Cozart walked with one out, then scored on Alonso's double.
That was more than enough for Reineke and Daniel Ray Herrera. Reineke (5-6) gave up only three hits, while walking four and striking out three over five innings as he lowered his earned-run average to 3.01. It also dropped Louisville's second-best IL ERA to 3.68.
Meanwhile Herrera tossed two innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Frazier led Louisville's nine-hit attack with three, while Alonso added two.
In Game 2, the Bats (41-45) drew the first, and only, blood in the first.
Gary Matthews Jr. led off the game with a double, his fourth in his brief time with the team. He moved to third on Cozart's sacrifice bunt, then scored on Alonso's single off Indy starter Michael Crotta (4-5).
That was all a trio of Louisville pitchers needed. Ben Jukich (3-4) gave up just four hits, while walking two and striking out four, over five innings. Highly-touted rookie Aroldis Chapman tossed one inning, walking one and striking out one, while Carlos Fisher pitched a one-hit seventh inning for his second save of the season.
Matthews led Louisville with two hits.
The Bats return to Slugger Field on Tuesday to begin a six-game homestand beginning at 7:05 p.m. against Indianapolis (44-42), which has lost eight straight. They play two games against the Indians, two against Toledo, then two against Columbus before the All-Star break.
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