AZL Indians hold off Reds 6-4, stretch win streak to five
GOODYEAR, ARIZ. – The weather is not the only thing that is hot in Arizona these days. The relief pitching was strong and everyone around the lineup contributed in a hard-fought, 6-4 victory over the AZL Reds (3-11) on Saturday evening at Goodyear Ballpark.
Seven of the nine Indians in the lineup had at least one hit. The win is the Tribe’s fifth straight, gives them a record of 8-6 and keeps them undefeated in the month of July.
The Indians could not have gotten off to a better start, touching up Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle for three runs and four hits, three of which came in the first three batters of the game. After seeing leadoff hitter Joel Mejia single and advance to second on an Ivan Castillo’s single, the loveable red-head Clint Frazier came to the plate.
Frazier, who has had four multi-hit games in the last five games he has played, ripped a triple, his third of the season, to left field, scoring Mejia and Castillo. Frazier came in to score three batters later on a single to left field by Grant Fink.
It was relatively quiet for the next few innings. Frazier did hit his second extra-base hit of the game in the top of the third, but his Indian teammates were not able to bring him in, leaving him stranded on third.
The top of the fifth was a big inning for the Tribe.
Takuya Tsuchida got things started off by singling to left. He then advanced to second on a balk by Reds pitcher Manuel Aybar, who ended up getting the loss in the game. The next batter, Joel Mejia walked and Aybar found himself in a jam.
He got Ivan Castillo to fly out to centerfield and Frazier to strike out swinging, and it looked like he would get out of the pickle that he got himself into, but Victor Cabral and Gerald Bautista had something to say about that. Cabral brought in Tsuchida with a line-drive single to right field, which put runners on the corners for the Tribe. He then turned up the already sweltering heat by stealing second. Bautista doubled on a deep drive to center, which brought both runners in to give the Indians all the runs they would need this night.
On the pitching side, Indians starter Casey Shane had a solid outing, giving up one earned run on three hits in two innings pitched. Relief pitcher Luis Gomez, who ended up earning the win, kept the Reds hitters at bay, striking out seven of the 18 batters that he faced. Gomez, who allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with one walk in four innings of relief, certainly did his job in this game, keeping the Reds from getting back in the game while the Indians bats were doing their job.
The top four hitters in the Reds lineup made things difficult for Gomez and the rest of the Tribe pitchers as they were responsible for seven of the Reds eight hits, but the Tribe’s hurlers did a good job of not allowing those hits to turn into runs.
Carlos Diaz, who came on in relief of Gomez, hit a batter who ended up coming around to score, but that was all the offense that the Reds would get this inning. Jordan Milbrath came on in the bottom of the eighth to close it out for the Tribe and set down six batters in a row to earn the save and seal the Tribe’s fifth straight win. Contribution from all corners of the lineup and strong relief pitching proved to be the “x” factors for the Tribe in this game.
The Indians will face the AZL Rangers tomorrow at Surprise Stadium. First pitch is at 7:00 PM MST.