PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The present looks bleak for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have slipped to third in the National League Wild Card race, and now look to be a long shot to take down Cincinnati for the NL Central lead. But the future looks quite bright, as another group of Pirates has taken a different title from the Reds.
The Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Bucs, are champions of the West Division of the International League. It happened with a 6-1 win over the Louisville Bats, the Reds’ affiliate, at Victory Field Thursday night, coupled with a 10-3 loss by the Toledo Mud Hens to the Columbus Clippers.
First baseman and Pirate go-between Matt Hague supplied a game-winning RBI single to cap off a nine-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the sixth. Hague, who is hitting .287 in Indy this season, went 2-for-4 and scored once.
Catcher Tony Sanchez, ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Pirates organization, also went 2-for-4 with a run scored, and drove in a pair. Sanchez is hitting .222 with seven homers and 23 RBI in 56 games since being called up from Double-A Altoona.
Justin Wilson, who recently returned after making his big-league debut in San Diego this week, pitched one scoreless inning of relief. The lefty, who is 9-6 as a starter with the Indians this year, lowered his ERA to 3.81.
The Indians begin the first round of the International League Playoffs next Thursday.