INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Indians broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, added one more in the eighth and then held off the Gwinnett Braves in the top of the ninth for a 3-2 win Monday night at Victory Field.
In that top of the ninth, trailing 3-1, the Gwinnett bats came alive against Indians reliever Vic Black. Rightfielder Joey Terdoslavich led off with a single and first baseman Ernesto Mejia followed with a single to right. After an out, third baseman Joe Leonard stroked a long double to left, scoring Terdoslavich from second, moving Mejia to third and cutting the lead to one. But with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second, Black got catcher Matt Pagnozzi to ground out to third and struck out shortstop Sean Kazmar to end the game.
The G-Braves (12-14) got off to a hot start, scoring one in the top of the third inning. Todd Cunningham doubled off the wall and scored on single to left by Terdoslavich for a 1-0 lead.
But Braves starter Omar Poveda surrendered the lead in the bottom of the third, as he walked Indians’ rightfielder Jerry Sands to lead off the inning and gave up a double to left to catcher Tony Sanchez, putting runners on second and third. Andy Oliver helped his own cause with a sac fly to right, scoring Sands and tying the game at 1-1.
It stayed knotted up until the bottom of the seventh. Leftfielder Felix Pie stroked a one out single to left and third baseman Jared Goedert walked to put two on. After getting the second out of the inning, Poveda walked the next two batters, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead.
The Indians (19-7) tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth. G-Braves reliever Wirfin Obispo gave up a one out single to shortstop Jordy Mercer and then walked first baseman Matt Hague. Ryan Buchter came in to relieve the right-hander. He went to work quickly, striking out Felix Pie for the second out. The Braves turned the ball over to Cory Rasmus to face the right-handed Jared Goedert, but the move didn’t pay off as he doubled to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Poveda (2-1) worked seven innings, walking five. He gave the Braves another quality start, allowing three hits and two runs, while striking out six.
Indians starter Oliver worked six innings, giving up four hits, one earned run, two walks and recording seven strikeouts. Duke Welker (3-0) was the winner in relief of Oliver. He pitched one inning with two strikeouts. Black worked the final two innings, recording three strikeouts and picking up his sixth save.
Despite the loss, the Braves out-hit the Indians on the night, 7-5. Mejia was 2-for-3 and Cunningham and Terdoslavich were both 2-for-4.
Pie led the Indians with a 2-for-4 night.
The G-Braves and Indians conclude the four game series Tuesday morning at Victory Field. First pitch set for 11:05 p.m. RHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-1, 5.79) will start for the Braves. The Indians will pitch RHP Francisco Liriano (1-0, 1.80).