The Louisville Bats seem to keep finding new ways to lose ballgames. Sunday night was no different. Taking a 4-2 lead into the ninth, the Bats had the Indianapolis Indians right where they wanted them. The Indians, however, picked themselves up off the mat and delivered a knockout punch to the Bats in the form of a seven run ninth inning, capped by a grand slam from Starling Marte, to win 9-4 before 8,177 at Louisville Slugger Field.
Jeff Clement doubled to start the ninth and Jordy Mercer followed with a homer to tie the game up. Travis Webb then came in for Carlos Fisher, who was charged with a blown save. Webb gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. The Indians (28-21) took the lead on an RBI fielder’s choice from Alex Presley before Marte’s slam capped the scoring, ending all doubt of the outcome of the game.
The Bats (16-35) appeared to have the game in the bag after a three run seventh that started with some controversy. Dioner Navarro led off the inning with what appeared to be a go ahead solo home run that was ruled to have not gone over the wall by third base umpire Seth Buckminster. Bats manager David Bell immediately got in the face of Buckminster arguing the call. The umpires got together to discuss the call but ruled the ball did not go over and gave Navarro a double.
After Neftali Soto singled and Bill Rhinehart struck out looking, Cody Puckett stepped in looking for his first hit at Louisville Slugger Field. Puckett came through with an RBI double off the right-centerfield wall to put the Bats in the lead 2-1.
After an intentional walk to Willie Harris, Miguel Rojas hit what looked to be an inning-ending double play, but Anderson Hernandez booted the ball, allowing two runs to score, making the score 4-1.
The Indians came right back in the eighth with a solo homer from Presley off Fisher trimmed the Bats’ lead to 4-2 before the ninth inning collapse. The Indians, who had just 17 homers on the season, tied a season high with three blasts in the game.
Indianapolis pitchers struck out 14 Bats hitters, including a career high 11 from starter Jeff Locke.
The Bats wasted another quality start, this time from Chad Reineke who went seven strong innings giving up just one run on five hits while walking one and striking out two.
It was Reineke’s best outing of the season and his longest outing since May 22, 2011in Norfolk. The righty went eight innings and gave up one run on four hits, walked two and struck out seven that night. The Bats won the game 2-1.
Louisville fell to 11-11 when scoring the first run of the game.
Neftali Soto got the Bats on the board first with a two out, solo home run to right field. It was Soto’s sixth home run of the season and first since a grand slam on May 20. The homer gave Soto his team-leading 26th RBI of the season.
The Indians countered with an RBI sacrifice fly from Brandon Boggs in the seventh to tie the game at a run apiece. The Indians got runners to second and third with two outs after a double from Anderson Hernandez. Reineke would get Kris Watts to ground out to first to end the threat.
The Bats play host to the Syracuse Chiefs Monday to begin a four game series. Wirfin Obispo (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will take the mound for the Bats in his first career Triple-A start. The Chiefs will send Mitch Atkins (4-3, 3.07 ERA) to the mound. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. Monday is Military Appreciation Day at Louisville Slugger Field. All military service men and women, veterans and immediate family members get free admission with valid identification.
Photo Credit: Max Sharp