The Bats continued their hot play of late, getting 6 1/3 solid innings from starter Yohan Pino and a 2-run homerun from rehabbing big leaguer Ryan Ludwick to hold off Indianapolis 6-4 Tuesday night at Slugger Field.
Pino, who continued building on a terrific July that saw him give up only 5 earned runs in 36 and 1/3 innings during the month, finished with 9 strikeouts and no walks while scattering 5 hits in 112 pitches. He didn’t factor into the decision after taking a 2 run lead into the 7th inning before giving up a solo homer and back to back double to tie the game. Nick Christiani came on in relief to strand the runner at 2nd and earned the win for his effort. Curtis Partch and Kevin Whelan combined to close out the game, with Partch allowing 2 runs on 3 hits to open the 9th before Whelan came on to shut the door and give the Bats their 5th straight win.
Ludwick, who separated his shoulder and tore his labrum on opening day, smoked a line drive over the left field wall in the bottom of the 3rd to give the Bats a 2-0 lead. The homer marked just his 2nd hit in his rehab stint with the Bats, and his only hit of the night. After the Indians rallied to tie the game in the 7th the Bats retook the lead, scoring four runs by combining doubles by Mike Hessman and pinch hitter Henry Rodriguez and a single by Billy Hamilton with a walk, an error and a balk.
With the win, the Bats not only pull closer to the division leader, but also now sit just 2.5 games off the Wild Card lead, albeit with 4 teams ahead of them. Regardless, for a team that hasn’t had a winning record since May, they have a better shot at the postseason than most gave them a month ago.
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