It’s been a long time coming, but the Indianapolis Indians are once again champions. After trailing the Louisville Bats 1-0 after a half inning, Indianapolis exploded for six unanswered to beat the Bats 6-1. About 20 minutes later, the Toledo Mud Hens completed their 10-3 victory over the Columbus Clippers, securing the Indians’ first division championship since 2000.
Matt Hague’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Indians a 2-1 lead, all they would need. The single extended Hague’s hitting streak to nine games.
Indianapolis blew it open in the seventh against Cincinnati Reds left hander Bill Bray. Brandon Boggs drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double from Tony Sanchez. Bray then issued back-to-back one out walks to Jose Morales and Chase d’Arnaud. The next batter, Anderson Hernandez, grounded into what should’ve been an inning-ending double play, but Henry Rodriguez made a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and make it 5-1.
Bray, who is on his second rehab stint with the Bats, has given up five runs on four hits in his last two innings of work for Louisville. He has been on the Reds’ disabled list since August 1 with a muscle strain in his back.
Sanchez added an RBI single in the eighth for the final margin.
The Bats had chances all night long to stay in the game but failed in the clutch. Louisville had at least one runner reach scoring position in seven innings but finished just 1-for-12 in those situations. Their lone run came in the first on Felix Perez’s RBI single.
Louisville dropped to a season-low 34 games under .500 at 50-84. They dropped their fourth straight and have lost 13 of their last 16 games.
The Bats also fell to 21-46 on the road, leaving them three road losses shy of the franchise record set in 1997.
Indy goes for the three-game sweep of the Bats Friday night. Pedro Villarreal (3-10, 4.66 ERA) will take the bump for Louisville against Jeff Locke (9-5, 2.68 ERA) for the Indians. First pitch is set for 7:05.