Indians: Three Homers in the 9th Inning

boxscore photos by NancyZ
Brad Eldred and Jorge Velandia - photo by NancyZ
Durham Bulls’ relief pitcher Brian Shackelford threw one pitch. Indianapolis Indians’ pinch hitter Jose Hernandez saw that one pitch, and lifted it over the left field scoreboard for a two-run walk-off homer, to give the Indians a 5-3 win at Victory Field tonight. It was the Tribe’s third homer of the inning, with Michael Ryan posting a solo homer, and Brad Eldred putting up a two-run shot, as the Indians ended their home stand in dramatic fashion.
(Photo: Brad Eldred takes his lead off second base, with (former Indian) Bull’s shortstop Jorge Velandia behind him.)
The Indians didn’t offer much drama in the early innings of the game. Bulls’ starting pitcher J.P. Howell dominated through the first seven innings. He allowed the Indians only two hits, a double by RF Brad Eldred to lead off the 2nd inning, and a single by 1B Steve Pearce in the 7th inning, for his first AAA hit. Pearce was able to advance to second base on a passed ball, and then to third base on a wild pitch, but was stranded there. In the first inning, Howell walked LF Michael Ryan and hit Pearce with a pitch (photo below). Those were all the base runners Howell allowed. He struck out 12 batters, and struck out two batters in most innings.
Steve Pearce  -- photo by NancyZ
Tribe starter Bryan Bullington pitched 7.1 innings, and was perfect in 5 of those innings. It was in the other innings that the Bulls scored their runs. In the second inning, Bulls’ LF Jon Weber (who managed to hold on to his bat tonight) led off with a triple that bounced off the left-center field wall. He scored on DH Wes Bankston’s sacrifice fly. After 1B Joel Guzman flied out, 3B Brent Butler lined a single into right field. C Josh Johnson lined a ball off the left field scoreboard, and Butler tried to score from first base. He didn’t take Tribe LF Michael Ryan into account, though. Ryan fired the ball in to the infield, where SS Brian Bixler relayed it to C David Parrish, who tagged out Butler before he could cross the plate, ending the inning.

Jeff Andrews, David Parrish, and Bryan Bullington - photo by NancyZ
The Bulls scored again in the 5th inning. With one out, Brent Butler lined a single into center field, and Josh Johnson followed with his third homer of the season, to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead. Former Indianapolis Indian (2005) SS Jorge Velandia and 2B Elliot Johnson followed by hitting back-to-back singles. Indians’ pitching coach Jeff Andrews made a visit to Bullington on the mound (photo), and after that little chat, Bullington struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Bullington started the 8th inning, and retired the first batter, but then walked CF Jason Pridie and hit RF Justin Ruggiano with a pitch. That was the end of Bullington’s outing. He had thrown 105 pitches (68 for strikes), and gave up 7 hits, with 4 strikeouts and one walk. Reliever Brian Rogers entered the game and ended the inning for Bullington with a strikeout and a line out. Rogers also pitched a perfect 9th inning, including two more strikeouts.
Steve Pearce and Bam Bam Meulens -- photo by NancyZ
Bulls’ reliever Chad Orvella came in to pitch in the 8th inning, after J.P. Howell left the game. Orvella gave up a hit to 2B Luis Ordaz, but retired the other three batters.
Then came the bottom of the 9th inning. The Indians were losing 3-0, and down to their last three outs. The faithful in the stands had turned their caps inside out and backwards in hopes of a rally. Michael Ryan led off the inning by blasting a solo homer that just cleared the top of the right field wall, at about 360 feet. Steve Pearce (photo, with Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens) got his second AAA hit, a solid single into left field. 3B Yurendell de Caster hit a screaming liner — but right to Bulls’ left fielder Jon Weber, for one out. Brad Eldred was up next. Eldred fell behind in the count 0-2, plus two foul balls, and then he crushed a towering homer just inside the right field foul pole, to tie the score. CF Luis Matos grounded a double down the left field line, and that sent pitcher Chad Orvella to the showers. Jose Hernandez was announced as the pinch hitter, as lefty Brian Shackelford was brought in to relieve Orvella. Shackelford threw one pitch, and that was the end.
Yurendell de Caster jumps Jose Hernandez after his HR -- photo by NancyZ
?I?ve taken the first pitch in every at-bat for the last two weeks,” said Hernandez in an interview after the game. “Tonight, I decided to take a chance on the first pitch. He (Shackelford) threw the ball over the middle of the plate, and I was fortunate enough to hit it out….It is amazing to get the chance to win a game. When the whole team is waiting at home plate, you know you?re going to get jumped. It?s a great feeling to see them waiting on you.?
Indians’ hitting gems of the game: Three home runs in the 9th inning: Michael Ryan, Brad Eldred, and Jose Hernandez.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the top of the 2nd inning, Bulls’ Brent Butler was thrown out at home as he tried to score from first base: LF Michael Ryan to SS Brian Bixler to C David Parrish, who applied the tag before Butler could cross the plate.
Roster moves:
Last night’s starter Luis Munoz was assigned to Altoona, though this was reported as just being a move “on paper”, and Munoz is still here in Indianapolis. This move was to make room for:
John Van Benschoten was officially added to the active roster today. He is expected to start in the second game of tomorrow’s double header in Richmond.
Rajai Davis has been traded to the San Francisco Giants. His 21-game hitting streak can’t be extended now. If the Giants should send him to their AAA team (Fresno Grizzlies), that is in the Pacific Coast League, and the PCL stats are separate from the International League stats.
An article by Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Steve Pearce.

He (Pearce) will play first base for Indianapolis, with incumbent first baseman Brad Eldred concentrating more on being a designated hitter and a right fielder.

Go Tribe!

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Rajai Davis Heading West

Rajai Davis -- photo by NancyZ
Information from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Rajai Davis has been traded to the San Francisco Giants, along with a player to be named later. The Giants will send starting pitcher Matt Morris to the Pirates.
Some info about Morris:
Matt Morris’s stats, etc..
Go Tribe!

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Indians Fall to Bulls

boxscore photos by NancyZ
Luis Munoz -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians could not make up for the Durham Bulls’ 3-run first inning, and lost to the Bulls by a score of 6-3 at Victory Field.
Indians starter Luis Munoz, in his second start with the Indians, found things to be a bit different than his last start, which came on July 4th. There was a smaller crowd at Victory Field (though 11,000 is pretty big, it still isn’t the nearly 15,000 sell-out on Fourth of July). This game started an hour later, and he had to contend with shadows moving across the mound and the field. On July 4th, the sky was overcast, and there were no shadows at all. On July 4th, he did give up two runs in the first inning, on back-to-back home runs, but then his teammates picked him right up by scoring 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, also using back-to-back homers (by Brad Eldred and Russ Johnson). This time when he gave up runs in the first inning, his teammates were not able to bounce right back with as many or more of their own.
Adam Boeve -- photo by NancyZ
Durham’s CF Jason Pridie got the first hit off Munoz in the top of the 1st inning, and he stole second base. DH Jon Weber walked, and 1B Wes Bankston followed by grounding an opposite-field double down the right field line, scoring Pridie. 3B Joel Guzman hit a fly ball into the right field corner, for a bases-clearing triple, and the Bulls had a 3-run lead.
DH Adam Boeve (photo) wasted no time in starting a rally for the Tribe. He grounded a single through the infield and into left field. Bull’s starting pitcher Jeff Niemann threw one pitch, a ball, to Indians’ SS Brian Bixler, and then signaled to his manager. Niemann was removed from the game as a “precaution” for shoulder stiffness, and right-hander Calvin Medlock, who had just been acquired by the Bulls in a trade from the Cincinnati Reds’ organization (Louisville), entered the game. With Bixler still at the plate, Boeve stole second base, and then advanced to third base when Bixler singled. LF Michael Ryan drove Bixler home with a sacrifice fly — Ryan’s 41st RBI of the season.

Luis Munoz returned to the mound and pitched 3 scoreless innings. He gave up a single and a double in both the 3rd and 4th innings, but both times worked himself out of the jam. In the 5th inning, the Bulls scored again. LF Justin Ruggiano grounded a single up the middle. He stole second base, and moved to third base when the throw to second from C Carlos Maldonado sailed high and into center field. Jon Weber walked, and Wes Bankston’s sacrifice fly scored Ruggiano. The inning ended when Joel Guzman grounded into a very smooth double play, SS Brian Bixler to 2B Don Kelly to 1B Brad Eldred (6-4-3).
Carlos Maldonado --photo by NancyZ
After the 1st inning, the Bulls’ near-starter Calvin Medlock pitched two more scoreless innings, allowing the Indians only one baserunner, when Carlos Maldonado (photo) walked. Medlock was relieved by lefty Jon Switzer to start the 4th inning. RF Yurendell de Caster led off with a walk. He advanced on Brad Eldred’s single to left, and scored on Maldonado’s RBI single. Switzer pitched two more scoreless innings, giving up a lone hit in each, to Michael Ryan and 3B Jose Hernandez.
Luis Munoz was relieved to begin the 6th inning. In his 5 innings of work, he gave up 4 runs (only the 3 runs in the first inning were earned), on 8 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 4 batters. Jesse Chavez pitched a perfect 6th inning for the Tribe, but had trouble in the 7th inning. With one out, he gave up back-to-back singles to Jason Pridie and Justin Ruggiano, then a 2-RBI double to Jon Weber. A fielder’s choice by Wes Bankston forced out Weber at second, with Bankston safe at first. Joel Guzman added another single before the inning ended when Chavez struck out RF Jeremy Owens for Owens’ third strikeout of the game. Those two runs increased the Bulls’ lead to 6 – 2.
Yurendell de Caster -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians scored one more time in the 8th inning. Yurendell de Caster led off with a towering blast down the right field line, which landed just inside the right field foul pole for a solo home run. Durham reliever Jeff Ridgway immediately got back his control, though, and struck out the next three Tribe batters.
The 9th inning held a bit of excitement for Tribe fans. Carlos Maldonado led off against Jeff Ridgway with a single to left field. Then infielder Steven Pearce (photo below), who just joined the Tribe from Altoona, pinch hit for 2B Don Kelly for his AAA-level debut. Pearce ran the count full and fouled off an additional pitch before striking out. Two more quick outs sealed the save for Ridgway.
Steven Pearce  -- photo by NancyZ
Josh Sharpless pitched the last two innings for the Tribe. He gave up a double and a walk in the 8th, but held the Bulls scoreless. Luis Munoz took the loss, his first with the Indians. Durham’s Calvin Medlock earned the win, for a good start with his new team.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Yurendell de Caster’s solo home run in the 8th inning. It was his 8th of the season and his 42nd RBI.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the top of the 6th inning, Bulls’ C Michel Hernandez lifted a fly ball to right-center field. Tribe CF Luis Matos ran to his left, and made a running, diving catch, to come up with the ball for an out.
Roster moves from today:
RHP Luis Munoz was promoted from Altoona (obviously).
C Milver Reyes was returned to Altoona.
INF Steven Pearce was promoted from Altoona. In 100 games this season (19 with Lynchburg and 81 games with Altoona), Pearce was hitting .337, with 25 HR and 96 RBI.
C David Parrish was promoted from Altoona. Parrish spent about 6 weeks with the Indians in May and June, and hit .212 with 2HR and 5 RBI.
OF Chris Aguila was placed on the Disabled List.
Summary of Roster moves from the past 10 days:
7/19- RHP Ricardo Rodriguez activated from the DL and released.
7/20- LHP Michael Tejera sent to Altoona;
RHP John Wasdin cleared waivers and was sent to Indianapolis.
7/21- RHP Kip Bouknight sent to Altoona;
LHP Michael Tejera recalled from Altoona.
7/23- RHP Mark Cory placed on the DL.
7/25- INF Don Kelly cleared waivers and was sent to Indianapolis.
7/26- RHP John Wasdin placed on the DL (right wrist injury);
C Humberto Cota placed on the DL.
7/27- C Milver Reyes promoted from Altoona;
RHP Bret Prinz signed by the Pirates as a minor league free agent and sent to Indy.
7/29- RHP Jonah Bayliss recalled to Pittsburgh.
John Van Benschoten was in the dugout and in uniform, though not mentioned on the official roster as yet.
Bulls’ DH Jon Weber had his bat slip out of his hands while swinging three times tonight. The first time, the bat landed harmlessly behind the plate. Twice, though, the bat sailed into the stands behind the Durham dugout. Luckily, no one was injured. A man sitting in the row in front of me and two seats over caught the bat one of those times, keeping several other people from getting hit. Apparently last week, when Durham was at Victory Field, Weber also sent a bat sailing into the stands down by first base.
Go Tribe!

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