Hague’s Homers Power Indians
Burres (photo) gave up another (what else?) two-out hit in the 5th, then began the bottom of the 6th by surrendering a solo home run to Moss. RF Presley did not see the ball off Moss’s bat, but it didn’t matter, since it sailed well over his head and over the right field wall. Burres struck out RF Delwyn Young, then gave up a single to former Indy Indian C Erik Kratz. Chris Leroux came on to relieve Burres, and began by surrendering a single to Overbeck, but ended the inning with a 6-4-3 (Friday to 2B Josh Rodriguez to Hague) double play. The Pigs had crept within one run of the Indians, 4-3.
The Tribe, in search of an insurance run or two, were scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings. Presley hit his third single in the 7th and stole second base (his 18th stolen base of the season). Hague walked in the 8th, but both were left on base. Leroux pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 7th. Rehabbing Mike Crotta retired three Pigs in order in the 8th, with one strikeout.
The Indians found their insurance run in the top of the 9th. Durham led off with a single to short, and CF Gorkys Hernandez bunted him to second base. Pinch-hitter John Bowker grounded out to second, moving Durham on to third base. Then Presley picked up his fourth hit of the game, an RBI double into left field, to plate Durham with the insurance run, for a 5-3 lead.
Jose Ascanio came out of the bullpen for the bottom of the 9th. The rain began sprinkling as Kratz led off with a line drive single into left field. Ascanio struck out Overbeck, then gave up a single to former Indy Indian Rich Thompson. At that point, the skies opened. With the rain pouring down and puddles already beginning to form on the field, play was halted and the tarp pulled. Unusual to delay a game with just two outs to go, but the rain was very heavy, and playing conditions were rapidly deteriorating. After 72 minutes, the tarp was off again and play resumed. Justin Thomas (photo) replaced Ascanio on the mound, with runners on first and second and one out. Thomas got 3B Jeff Larish to ground to first, where 1B Hague went for the sure out by stepping on the first base bag, rather than risk not being able to beat the very fast Thompson to the second base bag. With runners on second and third, Thomas threw threw three strikes past Pete Orr to end the game.
The win gives the Indians a 3-1 win of the series against the Iron Pigs, and a 5-3 record on this 8-game road trip. It also puts the Tribe at one game over .500, with a 38- 37 record. They remain 13.5 games behind first-place Columbus Clippers in the International League Western Division, but moves them one game closer to the second place Louisville Bats, 4 games behind them.
The Indians return to Victory Field tomorrow, for a 4-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Two home runs for Matt Hague (photo), providing the Indians with 4 of their 5 runs.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Excellent performances by the bullpen — Chris Leroux, Mike Crotta, Jose Ascanio, and Justin Thomas, to shut the Iron Pigs down after Moss’ homer in the 6th inning. Leroux got out of a 2-on 1-out jam in the 6th, and Thomas ended the game by getting out of another 2-on 1-out jam.
The move returning Josh Harrison to the Indians is just the beginning of about 10 days of expected roster manipulations between the Pirates and the Tribe. Chase d’Arnaud is supposed to join the Pirates tomorrow. Next week, when the Pirates begin a series in Toronto, they will need a Designated Hitter. At that point, they are “expected” to call up OF Alex Presley, and send INF Pedro Ciriaco back to Indianapolis. On July 2nd, the Pirates are scheduled to play a double header against the Nationals, so they are “expected” to call up Brad Lincoln for that. They will have to send down someone — either Presley or one of the relievers — to make room for Lincoln. After that one outing, Lincoln would be returned to the Indians, and Harrison most likely brought back up to the Pirates. Because of the rule that disallows players to be recalled within 10 days of being optioned to the minors except in an injury situation, sending Harrison to Indianapolis now will make him eligible to return by July 3rd. That explains why Harrison is being sent down before Ciriaco.
Just a few days left to vote for your favorite Indians players to be named to the International League All-Star Team. Go here to vote — you can vote up to 25 times.
(photos by Nancy)