By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats let one slip away.
The host Indianapolis Indians scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Bats 4-2 Sunday afternoon at Victory Field.
However despite the loss Louisville (72-56) maintained its half-game lead over Columbus (72-57) in the International League West because the Clippers lost 4-2 to Toledo on Sunday evening.
Trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth Indy scored three runs against Bats reliever Carlos Fisher to beat Louisville for just the second time in the last eight games between the two teams.
But before the eighth it looked as if the Bats were on their way to winning for the fifth time in their last six games.
In the second Todd Frazier doubled with one out off Indians starter Joe Martinez, then scored on Chris Valaika's single to give Louisville a 1-0 lead.
The Bats made it 2-0 in the fifth when Dave Sappelt, coming off his five-hit game Saturday night, led off the inning with a single. He moved to second when Zack Cozart was hit by a pitch, took third when Wladimir Balentien walked and scored on Juan Francisco's single.
The Indians (65-64) made it 2-1 in the sixth on Alex Presely's one-out, solo home run off Ben Jukich. It was one of the only mistakes by Jukich, who had previously given up only leadoff singles in the first and third innings to that point.
The left-hander gave up just five hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out six over 6 2/3 innings.
Fisher came in with two on and two out in the seventh and got Akinori Iwamura to ground out to end the inning. He wasn't so lucky, though, in the eighth.
Presley led off the bottom of the eighth with a double to left field, then Brandon Moss followed with one of the ground-rule variety to score Presley. Fisher got John Bowker to ground out, which moved Moss to third before Pedro Ciriaco reached on a fielding error by Valaika, who was playing shortstop. Moss scored on the play to give the Indians the lead for good. Jason Jaramillo followed with a single to score Ciriaco and make it 4-2.
It was the third blown save of the season for Fisher (1-1), who gave up three hits and three runs (two of which were earned) over 1 1/3 innings.
Steven Jackson (4-0) picked up the win with one inning or relief, while Jean Machi retired Louisville in order in the ninth to earn his 19th save of the season.
The two teams close out their three-game series at Victory Field at 7 p.m. Monday night before playing twice more Tuesday and Wednesday at Louisville Slugger Field, where the Bats play nine of their final 15 games of the regular season.
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