INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Indians built an early 5-1 lead behind home runs from Rodolfo Castro and Ji-Hwan Bae, but the Memphis Redbirds scored five runs over the final three innings to hand Indy its third consecutive loss on Saturday night, 6-5.
After being held to one run through the first six frames, Memphis (41-30) found success against Indians relievers Blake Weiman and Hunter Stratton (L, 1-3), the final blow coming on a two-out, tiebreaking single by Luken Baker in the ninth. The Redbirds’ rally began in the seventh against Weiman when Delvin Perez and Scott Hurst notched two-out singles ahead of a three-run homer by Paul DeJong that made it 5-4. Austin Romine then tied the game with a run-scoring single off Stratton in the eighth before Baker’s heroics in Memphis’ final at-bat.
Indianapolis (34-35) put Memphis starter Matthew Liberatore on the ropes early with four runs in the opening frame, three coming on Castro’s sixth long ball of the season. Hurst and Bae traded solo shots in the third, but Liberatore settled in and retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. The southpaw – rated as St. Louis’ No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline – surrendered five earned runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings. James Naile (W, 3-2) pitched 2.0 perfect innings in relief to earn the win.
Indy starter Mike Burrows held the Redbirds to one earned run over 4.1 innings in his second Triple-A start and Victory Field debut. He scattered five hits and recorded four strikeouts.
Bae’s solo blast in the third inning was his seventh for Indy. He went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases to raise his season total to a team-high 17 swipes. Eleven of his team-leading 20 multi-hit games have occurred in June, a month in which he’s hit .345 (30-for-87) with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBI. Travis Swaggerty singled in the first and finished 1-for-4 for Indianapolis. He has hit safely in 23 of his last 27 games dating back to May 17 with a .333 average (35-for-105).
The Indians and Redbirds conclude their six-game series Sunday at 1:35 PM ET. RHP Bryse Wilson (3-0, 3.08) gets the nod for Indy in the finale against Memphis LHP Connor Thomas (4-2, 3.96).