The first half of your Indianapolis Indians’ East Coast road trip was a resounding success, with a series sweep over the Norfolk Tides. After five losses in the seven games prior to this set, the Atlantic Ocean air appears to have raised their spirits and gotten them back to playing winning baseball.
Indy has been lobbying hard for fans to vote infielder Chris Bostick into the upcoming AAA All-Star Game; so far this week, he’s been making quite a case for himself. Bostick racked up four hits, two RBIs, two doubles and a few highlight-reel defensive plays to lead the way for Indy against Norfolk.
GAME 1: Indians 7, Tides 3
Carrying a 3-3 tie into the top of the fifth inning, the Indians got an RBI single by second baseman Erich Weiss and never looked back, claiming victory in the opener behind a quality start from pitcher Drew Hutchison (3-2).
Hutchison limited Norfolk to six hits and three runs in seven innings, two of Bostick’s three hits were doubles and superstar outfielder Austin Meadows launched a two-run homer that put Indy further ahead in the later part of the game.
Tides outfielder Logan Schaefer drove in three runs and hit a triple, but couldn’t get any help from the rest of his lineup as starting pitcher Jordan Kipper (2-3) was tossed around for an eye-popping 14 hits and six runs in only 6 1/3 innings.
GAME 2: Indians 2, Tides 1
Severe thunderstorms turned the last two games of this series into a doubleheader this past Thursday, with each game shortened to seven innings (per Minor League Baseball rules).
The doubleheader began with a pitcher’s duel that saw the two teams combine for only three runs and seven hits. With Norfolk up 1-0 in the top of the seventh, Indy shortstop Gift Ngoepe scored on a throwing error by Tides catcher Chance Sisco, and outfielder Eury Perez came home as the result of a double play as the Indians small-balled their way to the win.
Second baseman Phil Gosselin, newly returned after a brief stint in the majors, was the only Indy batter with a multi-hit game, but the Indians stayed in it the entire time thanks to starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (1-0), who scattered two hits, four walks and a run across six highly impressive, eight-strikeout innings.
Norfolk’s only hits both came from Sisco, and second baseman Johnny Giavotella brought in the Tides’ lone run on a sac fly. Reliever Logan Verrett (1-1), who took the loss for the Tides, is not having a great week; after giving up a 495-foot homer to New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles this past Sunday, his return to AAA was spoiled by a pair of botched defensive plays.
GAME 3: Indians 4, Tides 3
A game in which your opponent outhits you 9-6 and none of your batters have a multi-hit game usually results in a loss. Indy was able to make the most of their opportunities in a way that Norfolk was not, and the Indians’ pitching staff rewarded them for it with a victory that secured the sweep.
Indy outfielder Danny Ortiz hit his first homer of the season and Bostick and Gosselin chipped in as well with an RBI single apiece. Indians starting pitcher Nick Kingham (3-2) made it through five innings, stranding six of the nine baserunners he allowed to give the offense a chance to win.
The Tides did pick up a homer from third baseman Drew Dosch, and Schaefer and Giavotella both had RBI singles, but there were simply too many runners left on base for Norfolk to break through. Reliever Paul Fry (2-1) was torched for four hits and three runs in two innings to hand Indy the sweep.
Indy (36-29) has now won four in a row, giving them a four-game lead over the Columbus Clippers at the top of the International League West division. They’ll finish their road trip this weekend against the Charlotte Knights.
The Knights have a sub-.500 record so far this season, but they’re dangerous; second baseman Yoan Moncada is the highest-rated prospect in all of baseball on almost every ranking, and pitchers Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer are all top-100 ranked players as well.