By Josh Cook
Catcher Corky Miller has provided veteran leadership, both behind the plate and in the clubhouse, for a collectively young Louisville Bats team this season.
Monday night Miller provided plenty of leadership at the plate as he spear-headed Louisville's comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the final two innings of its 6-3 victory over the host Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field. Miller started the Bats' rally with a leadoff home run in the eighth inning, then gave them the lead for good with a two-run double in the ninth.
The victory kept Louisville (73-56), which has won five of its last seven, in first place in the International League West. The Bats still hold a half-game lead over Columbus (73-57), which beat Toledo 4-3 Monday night, in the race for the division title.
Before the eighth, though, it didn't look good for Louisville.
The Indians (65-65) scored single runs in the first, second and sixth innings off Louisville starter Chad Reineke.
In the first Mitch Jones doubled with one out, then scored when Alex Presley followed with a single. Leadoff homers by John Bowker in the second and Kevin Melillo in the sixth gave Indy a 3-0 lead.
Those were the only hits and runs Reineke allowed, while walking one, and striking out five, over six innings.
Meanwhile Indy start Charlie Morton allowed only four hits, while striking out four over six innings. He had plenty of help from his defense too, as the Indians turned three double plays in the first seven innings.
But Morton's relief failed him. After Corey Hamman pitched the seventh for the Indians, Steven Jackson came on to start the eighth.
Miller greeted him with a home run to center field to lead Louisville's comeback. Pinch-hitter Danny Dorn followed with a double, before Alonso launched a two-out, two-run homer to tie the game.
Jean Machi (5-5) replaced Jackson in the ninth and walked leadoff hitter Todd Frazier. Wilkin Castillo singled him to third prompting a coaches visit to the mound. Then, Miller doubled them both home to give Louisville a 5-3 lead.
After pinch-hitter Eric Eymann lined out Dave Sappelt walked, then Chris Valaika hit a sacrifice fly to score Miller.
Philippe Valiquette (1-1), who came on after Enerio Del Rosario pitched the seventh, gave up one hit and struck out one in the eight to earn his first Triple-A victory.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and struck out the first two batters he faced before getting Brandon Moss to ground out to end the game to earn his eighth save of the season.
Alonso led Louisville's 13-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
The Bats return to Louisville Slugger Field to host Indy at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night in the fourth game of a five-game split series. Per usual on Tuesday nights hot dogs and Pepsi products will be $1. It will also be KRAFT Singles Tuesday night at the park. If you buy one field reserved ticket you get a second one free with a KRAFT Singles package (visit www.kraftsingles.com for additional information).