INDIANAPOLIS -- Designated hitter Brian Myrow, center fielder Jose Tabata and left fielder Neil Walker all belted home runs as the Indianapolis Indians plated a season high seven runs in the fourth inning on their way to a 9-4 series opening victory over the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday night at Victory Field.
With the win the Indians improve to 5-8, while the loss drops the Clippers to 8-5. The victory also gives Indianapolis a 3-2 season series advantage over Columbus as the two squads split a four-game series to kick-off the season.
Myrow began the Tribe's largest rally of the season when he belted a longball down the right field line for his first home run of the year. 1B Steve Pearce and RF Brandon Moss then collected back-to-back one-out base hits, to set the stage for 2B Brian Friday, who one out later came through with a clutch two-out two-run single to center field to give the Tribe the 3-0 lead.
SS Argenis Diaz followed Friday with a base hit of his own to extend the frame for Tabata and Walker, who came through with the Indians' first back-to-back home runs of the season. The two-run homer for Tabata was his first of the season, while Walker's solo shot was his second on the year.
With shots by Myrow, Tabata and Walker, the Tribe belted three home runs in the same inning for the first time since Walker, INF Ryan Mulhern and OF Andrew McCutchen each connected in the eighth inning on July 20, 2008 in Columbus. It was also the first time the Indians had three home runs in the same frame at home since OF Michael Ryan, INF Brad Eldred and INF Jose Hernandez combined for three blasts in the ninth inning against Durham on July 31, 2007.
The Tribe tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh on an RBI double by Pearce that scored 3B Pedro Alvarez, and a clutch two-out single by C Erik Kratz that brought home Pearce. In their offensive outburst the Indians saw every batter collect at least one hit, all but one score at least one run, and all but three have at least one RBI.
Pearce (3-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI), Moss (2-for-4, 1 R) and Diaz (2-for-4, 1 R) all collected multiple hits for the Tribe, while only CF Trevor Crowe (2-for-4) turned in a multi-hit effort for the Clippers. With his longball, Tabata also extended his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games to begin the season.
Indians' starter Donnie Veal (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) worked out of a first inning jam and at one point set down 10 consecutive Clippers to earn the victory and improve to 1-1 on the season. RHP Jeff Karstens (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO), RHP Steven Jackson (1.0 IP) and in his Tribe debut LHP Wil Ledezma (1.0 IP, 1 SO) combined to allow just one run on one hit over 3.1 innings of work out of the Indians' bullpen
Columbus mounted a comeback attempt with four runs over the sixth and seventh innings. Crowe began the rally when he led off the sixth with a base hit and came around to score on a double by SS Jason Donald. RF Shelley Duncan then added an RBI groundout and former Indians' INF Brian Bixler connected on an RBI single in the sixth, before 2B Anderson Hernandez belted a solo shot in the seventh.
But it wasn't enough as the Tribe took home the series opening victory and handed the loss to Clippers' starter Hector Rondon (3.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO), who allowed seven runs on nine hits over 3.2 innings to drop to 0-1 on the season.
The Indians wrap up their short two-game series with the Clippers on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. RHP Jeanmar Gomez is scheduled to start for Columbus, while the Indians have yet to name a starter.
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 10:40 a.m.