Indianapolis—Center fielder Dave Sappelt collected two singles, two doubles and a triple, while also making a spectacular diving catch to end a key Tribe rally in the bottom of the seventh to lead the Louisville Bats over the Indianapolis Indians 10-6 in front of a crowd of 14,140 on Saturday night at Victory Field.
With the loss, Indianapolis falls to 64-64 on the season, while the win improves Louisville's record to 72-55 on the year. The victory also propels the Bats to first place in the International League West Division, while giving them an 8-5 advantage over the Indians in the season series.
Sappelt led the way for the Bats with a career day at the plate as he became the first Indians' opponent to post a five-hit effort since Pawtucket's Chris Carter accomplished the feat on April 18, 2008. However, even with all his offensive exploits on the evening it was Sappelt's diving catch in the bottom of the seventh that proved to be the play of the game.
After Louisville exploded for five runs in the top of the seventh to take a 9-4 lead, the Tribe drew to within three runs of the Bats in the bottom half of the frame when RF Brandon Moss lined a two-out single to right to plate LF Kevin Melillo and SS Pedro Ciriaco, who reached on back-to-back one out base hits earlier in the frame. Then, following the RBI base knock, Moss and LF/1B John Bowker, who reached on a base-on-balls, moved into scoring position on a Bats' wild pitch to set the stage for 1B Mitch Jones.
After reaching a 2-2 count, Jones roped a ball to center field that looked well on its way to drawing the Tribe to within one run of Louisville, but Sappelt would fly in and make an amazing diving catch to end the inning and maintain the Bats' three-run advantage.
Louisville also grabbed an early advantage with two runs in the fourth and fifth frames before putting the game away with five in the seventh and one more in the ninth. The Bats' offense spread the wealth as nine different players scored at least one run, six collected at least two hits and six drove in at least one run.
Sappelt (5-for-6, 1 R, 2 RBI) not only fell just a home run shy of the cycle, but the Triple-A rookie also scored a run and drove in two. Along with Sappelt, SS Zack Cozart (2-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI), 1B Yonder Alonso (2-for-5, 1 R), 3B Juan Francisco (2-for-6, 1 RBI), RF Wladimir Balentien (2-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI) and 2B/C Wilkin Castillo (2-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI) each posted multi-hit efforts with Castillo and LF Todd Frazier (1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI) also knocking in multiple runs.
On the Indianapolis side, Ciriaco (3-for-5, 1 R) led the way with three base knocks, while Bowker (2-for-4, 1 R) and Moss (2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI) also posted multi-hit efforts. Moss' two-run single also proved to be the only RBI on the evening for the Tribe as their first run came on a double play and their three in the bottom of the sixth came on a Louisville error.
Bats' starter Matt Maloney (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) struck out six in 5.2 innings of work, but did not figure in the final decision as an error prevented him from earning the victory. Tribe starter Brian Burres (5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO) also did not figure in the final decision, despite allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks over five frames.
Despite suffering a blown save and recording just one out, Louisville reliever Jerry Gil (0.1 IP) earned the victory to improve to 2-0 on the season, while crafty lefty reliever Daniel Ray Herrera (1.1 IP, 1 H) and flame throwing Aroldis Chapman (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) finished off the victory for the Bats. Indians' reliever Dana Eveland (2.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 0-2 on the season after allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits in just two innings of relief.
The Indians continue their five-game home/road series against their West Division rivals the Louisville Bats on Sunday, August 22 at 2:00 p.m. RHP Joe Martinez is expected to get the start for the Tribe, while LHP Ben Jukich is the probable starter for the Bats.
The contest will be carried by WXLW-950 AM and broadcast live on Comcast and Bright House Networks digital channel 81 with Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley on the call. The pre-game show on WXLW-950 AM begins at 1:40 p.m.