Despite an early lead, the AZL Indians could not avoid the big inning, and fell 11-4 to the AZL Brewers Friday.
With the Indians clinging to a 2-0 lead, the wheels came off in the bottom of the third inning when the Brewers got to Indians starter Dillon Howard for nine runs, all of which were earned. Essentially, anything that could have went wrong, went wrong in the bottom of the third inning.
To start off the frame, Howard allowed five straight singles before allowing a double, which was then followed up by another single. At this point, the Brewers took a 6-2 lead, quickly wiping out the 2-0 advantage that the Indians had just earned in the previous inning.
After getting the next batter to ground out, Howard again seemed incapable of recording outs. He then allowed another single to Renaldo Jenkins, and an error then allowed the Brewers score another run to give the team a 7-2 advantage. Howard again struggled to maintain his composure and proceeded to walk the next batter, Malcolm Dowell.
At that point, a pitching change was inevitable as Anderson Polanco would come on to replace Howard. Just like that, Howard’s night was over, so were the Indians’ chances of winning the contest as the team now faced an insurmountable deficit.
Though, the most curious aspect of the game was not Howard’s performance in the third inning but rather his performance through the first two innings. Prior to becoming rattled in the third, Howard cruised through two innings and notched four strikeouts in the period. In fact, the only Brewer who reached base in either of those innings was because of an error by Jairo Kelly.
Yet, nonetheless, a very different Howard appeared in the third, and the Indians were unable to muster enough offense to mount any kind of a comeback.
First baseman Nelson Rodriguez provided one of the Indians’ few offensive highlights as he went 2-for-3 and recorded two walks in the contest. Kelly and Juan Herrera each added two hits apiece for the Indians.
The Indians return to action Sunday when the team faces the AZL Reds at 10 p.m. eastern time.