Henry Rodriguez’s first career Triple-A start was a memorable one. Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with his first Triple-A home run and three RBIs to lead the Louisville Bats to a 7-5 victory over the Indianapolis Indians Thursday night. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Bats while the Indians’ eight-game winning streak was halted.
Rodriguez belted a two-run home run in the eighth that gave the Bats a 7-4 lead at the time. It turned out to be the game-winning hit.
JJ Hoover was key in relief for the Bats. After the Bats had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Nick Christiani allowed a run to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Hoover came on and got Jose Tabata to ground out, preserving the tie after six.
After Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch to give the Bats a 5-4 lead, Bats manager David Bell elected to let Hoover hit for himself with the bases loaded. Though Hoover struck out, the move ultimately paid major dividends for Bell and the Bats.
Hoover pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings, striking out the final two batters he faced to help the Bats preserve a 7-4 lead heading to the ninth. Hoover was credited with his second win of the season with Louisville.
The Bats were very resilient in ending their losing streak. They trailed 2-0 after two after a two-run double from Brian Friday. It was the fifth time in the six-game series the Indians scored first.
An RBI single from Corky Miller in the fourth trimmed the lead to 2-1 but Indianapolis quickly responded with a Tony Sanchez home run in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead to 3-1. Sanchez homered in each of the final three games of the series—the only home runs he has this season at any level.
The Bats kept battling, though, getting an RBI groundout in the fifth from Rodriguez to make it 3-2. They would eventually tie the game on an RBI triple from Cody Puckett in the sixth and take the lead when Puckett scored on a single from Miller to make it 4-3.
As big of a win as it was for Louisville (32-57), it may have come at a major cost. In the bottom of the ninth, Anderson Hernandez led off with a shot into the gap. Kristopher Negron sprinted and dove for the ball but came up empty, and injured. After several moments, Negron was helped off the field by Bell and a member of the Bats’ training staff. It was not immediately clear the injury Negron suffered.
The Bats look to start a new winning streak Friday when they return home to take on the Toledo Mud Hens. It will be the first of a three game series, the final games for both teams before the All Star Break. The Bats are scheduled to send Tim Gustafson (3-2, 5.28 ERA) to the mound Friday. Toledo has not announced their rotation as of yet. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.