Indians Find Themselves On The Chopping Block Again
Gwinnett Braves 12, Indianapolis Indians 3
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For the second night in a row at Coolray Field in suburban Atlanta, the Indianapolis Indians saw their early lead turn into a blow-out by the Gwinnett Braves. Tonight the Braves scored 12 runs on 16 hits (it was 20 hits last night), putting runs onto the scoreboard in all but two plate appearances. Justin Wilson again came up short in his bid for his 10th win of his season — a win he’s been seeking since early July.
SS Jordy Mercer started the game with a single into left field, and was moved over to second base on 2B Josh Harrison’s sacrifice bunt. Rehabbing C Ryan Doumit drove in Mercer with a double lined into left, and 1B Matt Hague followed with a single into right field. The Indians had a 1-0 lead — which lasted only into the 2nd inning.
The Indians loaded the bases in the 2nd, when CF Gorkys Hernandez was hit by a pitch, Mercer walked, and Harrison dropped a little dribbly hit along the first base line, then dodged around the Braves’ first baseman’s tag to reach first safely. But with two outs, LF John Bowker grounded out, leaving all three runners stranded.
Tribe starter Justin Wilson struggled in 3 of his 4 innings. He worked around a single in the 1st inning, then gave up a tying run in the 2nd inning. 3B Brandon Hicks led off the 2nd with a double, then scored on LF Wilkin Ramirez’s RBI single. The Braves tied the game in the 3rd. CF Matt Young led off the inning with a walk, then with two outs, stole second base. 1B Mauro Gomez also walked, and Hicks’ RBI single drove in Young to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Gwinnett scored again in the 4th, when Ramirez opened the inning with a single, stole second base (for the second time), and scored on pitcher Mike Minor’s RBI single that slipped through the right side of the infield and into right. RF Miles Durham’s throw in from right field was on-target to the plate, but Ramirez slipped under C Doumit’s tag to score Gwinnett’s 3rd run, 3-1. After a walk and a line out, Wilson was relieved by Jared Hughes. Wilson had thrown 89 pitches (48 strikes), and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in just 3.2 innings.
Minor retired the Indians in order, with 3 strikeouts in the 3rd and 4th innings, but began the top of the 5th by walking both Mercer and Harrison. Bowker drove in Mercer from second base with a hard grounder up the middle. The Indians were within one run of the Braves, 3-2 — but that was as close as they would get.
After that, it was pretty much all Gwinnett. Danny Moskos pitched the 6th inning, and the Braves jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Ramirez began the inning with a single lined into right field, advanced to second on a ground out, and stole third base — his third steal of the game. Young hit a slow roller to Mercer at short, and probably would have beat out the throw even if Mercer had not bobbled the ball. That let Ramirez score the first run of the inning. SS Tyler Pastornicky lined a single into right field, and moved to second base when Durham’s throw from right field slipped past 3B Andy Marte and hit the Braves’ third base coach. With two runners in scoring position, Gartrell smacked a grounder into right field, driving in both Young and Pastornicky, boosting the score to 6-2.
Brian Burres took the mound for the 7th, and the Braves’ continued their chopping. Burres got the first two outs, then gave up a walk and four hits: back-to-back singles to Ramirez and C Wil Nieves, then a walk to pitcher Cody Gearrin to load the bases. Young lifted a fly ball into left-center field, with the ball dropping in between LF Bowker and CF Hernandez. Then Hernandez overran the ball as he scrambled to pick it up, and Young had a double that cleared the bases. Pastornicky brought in Young with a single lined into left, and the Braves had added 4 more runs : 10-2.
They kept piling it on in the 8th. Burres began by giving up back-to-back walks to Gomez and Hicks, and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. Ramirez singled for the 5th time in the game (5-for-5), with a bloop into right field, driving in both runners. Tim Wood came on to relieve Burres. He gave up a single to Nieves, then ended the inning with a ground out and a fly out.
Nine Tribe batters went down in order in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. When they rallied in the 9th, like yesterday, it was too little too late. Durham led off with a line drive into center field. Hernandez grounded to third for a force out of Durham, with Hernandez replacing Durham at first. Jeff Clement made his first appearance of the season, fresh off the DL, and he began on a happy note — a double into left field, off LF Ramirez’s glove and all the way to the left field wall. Hernandez moved to third base on the double, then scored when Mercer grounded out to short. A fly out ended the rally and the game, a disappointment for the Indians.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Jeff Clement’s double — he had not played at this level in about a year, and in his first at-bat, he comes up with a big hit. Clement had appeared in 9 games for the GCL Pirates over the past couple of weeks, going 9-for-35 (.257) with 4 doubles and 7 RBI.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game:
Even though 1B Lyle Overbay has been Designated for Assignment by the Pirates, it’s unlikely that he’ll be assigned to Indianapolis if he clears waivers. The Pirates seem to be set on releasing him.
Pedro Ciriaco has been optioned back to the Indians again… he must feel like a yo-yo at this point. Ciriaco got into three games in this stint with the Pirates. He doubled in his one plate appearance on Friday, then went 2-for-4 (two singles) in his start on Saturday. He also got into the game as a pinch-runner on Sunday, and stole a base.
As noted above, Jeff Clement was activated off the Indians’ Disabled List. The immediate plan is to have him pinch-hit, and do some DH’ing when this series with Gwinnett is over.
(photos by Nancy)