Indians Are Swept Up

(photos by NancyZ)
Marty McLeary -- photo by NancyZ
The lead changed hands several times, and the home runs flew over the walls, and broken bats sent splinters flying through the infield — but when it all ended, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were on top, 7-6, sweeping the four-game series with the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field tonight.
Indians’ starter Marty McLeary (photo) pitched only 4 innings, but threw a total of 93 pitches. He threw 34 pitches in facing only 5 batters in the first inning, and 12 of those pitches went to Yankees’ lead-off batter CF Brett Gardner. With the count 2-2, Gardner fouled off 7 more of McLeary’s pitches before finally stroking a single into left field. McLeary struck out the next two batters, RF Justin Christian and LF Kevin Reese, and Reese added to McLeary’s pitch count by running the count full and fouling off another one of McLeary’s pitches. Then 1B Shelley Duncan singled, scoring Gardner. DH Erubiel Durazo also ran the count full before he grounded out to end the inning.
Michael Ryan's home run -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians came right back in the bottom of the first inning, when LF Michael Ryan (photo) lifted a solo home run over the right field wall to tie it up. 1B Jose Hernandez followed with a double to deep right field. He moved to third on DH Brad Eldred’s single to left field, and scored when 3B Russ Johnson lined a single into right field for the go-ahead run.
In the second inning, McLeary allowed only a walk, but pitched deep into the count on three of the four batters he faced. He also racked up more pitches in the 3rd inning, as the Yankees re-took the lead. Just as light rain passed through downtown Indianapolis, RF Justin Christian got an infield hit on a swinging bunt. 1B Shelley Duncan hit his 25th homer of the season, a liner over the left-field wall, for two RBI. That put the score at 4-2 in favor of the Yankees.
The Yankees added two more runs in the 4th ining, as Marty McLeary continued to go deep into counts. With one out, the Yankees’ “other Duncan” — 3B Eric Duncan — smashed another homer over the right-field wall. 2B Andy Cannizaro singled into right-center field, and C Raul Chavez hit another one to nearly the same spot, for an RBI double, to score Cannizaro. Two line outs, by Brett Gardner and Justin Christian, ended the inning and McLeary’s evening. He finished having given up 5 runs, all earned, on 7 hits and one walk, while striking out two.

Brad Eldred steals second base  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians wasted no time in coming right back at the Yankees. Brad Eldred led off the bottom of the 4th inning with a single into left field, shattering his bat in the process. The largest length of the barrel landed at the edge of the outfield grass between shortstop and third base. Eldred promptly stole second base (photo) to move into scoring position. Russ Johnson grounded right back to Yankees’ starter Russ Ohlendorf, who whirled toward second base, and caught Eldred in a run-down. Eldred decoyed and delayed long enough for Johnson to reach second base before he was tagged out.
Chris Aguila scores ahead of the throw -- photo by NancyZCF Chris Aguila singled, sacrificing another bat, and sending large splinters all over the infield, with the biggest piece landing behind the pitcher’s mound. Johnson ducked all the splinters as he reached third base. C Carlos Maldonado plated Johnson when he slapped a grounder deep to third base. Yankees’ 3B Eric Duncan fielded it cleanly, but his throw to first base bounced and 1B Shelley Duncan could not come up with it, putting Maldonado safely at first base. RF Adam Boeve singled into left field for the RBI, as Aguila easily scored ahead of the throw home (photo), and the Indians had moved back to within one run of the Yankees, 5-4.
With Marty McLeary heading for the showers, reliever Jesse Chavez came in to pitch the 5th and 6th innings for the Indians. Chavez gave up two walks in the 5th and a single to Brett Gardner in the 6th, but kept the Yankees from scoring.
Carlos Maldonado -- photo by NancyZ
The Tribe took the lead in the 6th inning. Yankees’ starter Ross Ohlendorf exited the game after pitching 5 innings and giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits. Reliever Chris Britton came in to pitch the 6th, and started by walking Carlos Maldonado (photo). Three consecutive singles, by 2B Luis Ordaz, Adam Boeve, and Brian Bixler scored Maldonado for the tie (Bixler’s RBI). LF Michael Ryan made the first out on a foul pop up. Luis Ordaz scored when 1B Jose Hernandez tapped a slow grounder to the shortstop. The Yankees were able to force out Bixler at second, but the play was too slow to get Hernandez at first for the double play, and the go-ahead run scored.
Indians’ Mark Corey came in to start the 7th inning. He walked LF Kevin Reese, then got Shelley Duncan to pop out to Luis Ordaz at second base. Reese was then thrown out trying to steal second base. DH Erubiel Durazo walked, and manager Trent Jewett brought Josh Sharpless in to pitch. Sharpless promptly gave up back-to-back singles to SS Angel Chavez and Eric Duncan, scoring Durazo. 2B Andy Cannizaro walked to load the bases with two out and the score tied 6-6. C Raul Chavez came to the plate, and worked a full count, fouled off one more pitch, and then took a mighty swing — striking out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Franquelis Osoria  -- photo by NancyZ
Franquelis Osoria (photo) set the Yankees down in order in the 8th inning. In the top of the 9th, though, he started the inning by hitting Shelley Duncan with a pitch, then giving up a single to Erubiel Durazo, moving Duncan to third base — runners on the corners and no outs. Angel Chavez grounded a quick little hop to 2B Luis Ordaz, which moved Durazo to second base, but kept Duncan from trying to make it home. Eric Duncan was intentionally walked to load the bases and hopefully set up the double play. But instead of grounding to the infield, Andy Cannizaro lifted a fly ball deep enough to left-center field for Shelley Duncan to score on the sacrifice fly. Another fly ball ended the inning, but the Yankees had regained the lead, 7-6.
Russ Johnson  -- photo by NancyZ
Yankees’ Ben Kozlowski pitched scoreless 7th and 8th innings in relief. He allowed only one hit, Adam Boeve’s third of the game, and walked two, while striking out three Tribe batters. Former Indian Jim Brower came in to close the game. Russ Johnson (photo) led off the bottom of the 9th with a single to left field, and was replaced by pinch-runner Luis Matos. Matos was left stranded on base when the next three batters quickly struck out, lined out, and flied out.
Ben Kozlowski got the win for the Yankees, improving his record to 3-6 for the season. Jim Brower earned his 19th save, and his third in this 4-game series against his former teammates. Franquelis Osoria took the loss for the Indians, his 4th of the season. The Indians put up 13 hits, including 3 singles by Adam Boeve, 3 singles by Brad Eldred, and two singles by Russ Johnson.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Michael Ryan’s 9th home run of the season, tying him with Brad Eldred for the team lead. Jose Hernandez is next on the list, with 8 home runs.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the top of the 5th, with two out and runners on first and second bases, Yankees’ Eric Duncan slapped a grounder just barely inside the right foul line. Jose Hernandez snagged it as it was deep behind first base, which at least kept it from going into right field. Then he turned and threw to pitcher Jesse Chavez, who was racing over from the mound, seeing that the ball was not going into right field. Chavez barely beat Duncan to the bag for the third out of the inning.
The Pirates acquired INF Cesar Izturis from the Chicago Cubs today. In order to make room for Izturis on the roster, Don Kelly was (again) designated for assignment.
Brad Eldred now has 6 stolen bases in 8 attempts this season. He stole second base in the 4th inning, and then stole third base in the 5th, on a double steal paired with Russ Johnson.
Go Tribe!

Read More

Acquisition of Izturis Should Signal Fire Sale

Jayson Stark welcomes you to Dullsville: “In terms of excitement,” said [a] front-office man, “this may go down as the worst trade deadline ever.” We can cite all sorts of reasons—the epidemic of contract extensions, that disappearing species once known as “the salary dumper,” the understandable reluctance to trade draft picks who just raked in gigantic signing bonuses, and enough parity to...

Read More

Game Log – 2007

The following schedule was created in an attempt to simplify the process of searching through Pittsburgh Lumber Co.’s game threads. Click the link on each day to see the corresponding game thread. Every article provides both pre- and post-game commentary as well as a link to a box score. Most also provide links to recaps from outside sources, like the Associated Press or Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Home games are in yellow; road...

Read More

Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee Redux

While we are pondering the horrible fate of the 2007 Pirates, I’d like to point out that I’ve finally linked all of the parts (12 so far) from the Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee series in the stats page on the web site. To get to it, click on the “stats” link next to the head of your favorite Lumber Co. author at the right of the web page or by following this link. I’m in the middle of an extremely long Part...

Read More

Pirates Acquire Izturis; Wilson, Castillo Goners?

As Arizona Phil at The Cub Reporter noticed, The Chicago Tribune announced that the Pirates have acquired infielder Cesar Izturis for a player to be named later. Why? It would appear that either Jack Wilson or Jose Castillo is headed out the door, and Dave Littlefield needed someone—anyone—to fill in at the major-league level until Brian Bixler is ready to be promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis. Izturis will be more...

Read More

Tough Loss in the Ninth for Indians

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Michael Tejera  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians led from the bottom of the first until the top of the ninth, when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees came from behind to score two runs and win the game by a score of 3-2 at Victory Field this afternoon. The Indians have now lost 9 of their last 10 games and are 6 games behind the first-place Toledo Mud Hens in the International League West Division.
Tribe starter Michael Tejera (photo) went 7.2 innings in his 11th start for the Indians. He threw 101 pitches, and gave up 8 hits and 2 walks for 1 run, with 2 strikeouts. The game opened with a spectacular play by Indians’ 1B Brad Eldred, who made a leaping stab of Yankee CF Brett Gardner’s line drive that looked like it was going into right field, probably for two bases. RF Justin Christian followed with a nearly identical line drive, that Eldred couldn’t catch — because he didn’t have a ladder in his back pocket. This one sailed about 10 feet higher, over Eldred’s head, for a double. Tejera was not bothered, though, and he ended the inning with a quick foul pop out and a grounder.
Brad Eldred and Luis Ordaz  -- photo by NancyZ
The single run off Tejera came in the second inning, when lead-off batter DH Erubiel Durazo walked and moved to second base on Tejera’s wild pitch. A single into right field by SS Angel Chavez moved Durazo to third base, and an RBI single up the middle by 2B Andy Cannizaro scored Durazo. The inning ended when C Omir Santos grounded into a double play, SS Brian Bixler to 2B Luis Ordaz to 1B Brad Eldred. (photo: Eldred and Ordaz)
Tejera then pitched five scoreless innings, three of which were perfect. The closest he allowed the Yankees to come was in the 5th inning, when 3B Chris Basak and Andy Cannizaro led off with back-to-back singles. Omir Santos flied out to just behind shortstop for the first out. A walk to Brett Gardner loaded the bases. But Justin Christian grounded into a double play, also Bixler to Ordaz to Eldred (6-4-3) to end the threat without a run scoring. Tejera got the first two outs in the 8th inning, and then Christian’s grounder back towards the mound bounced off Tejera’s glove and to the left of Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz, who had been moving to his right. Ordaz was able to change directions fast enough to keep the ball from going into the outfield, but not fast enough to make a play at first base. That was 101 pitches for Tejera, and his afternoon’s work was over.
?From a physical standpoint, I feel real strong,” said Tejera in an interview after the game. “I?ve been starting for over a month now, so there?s no problem in getting to 100 pitches. I?ve been a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher at different points in my career, and I?ve enjoyed both roles. I?ve had some tough luck with wins and losses this month, but I have to stay focused on the things I can control. I feel like I pitched pretty well today. I just tried to make good pitches, and the defense did a nice job behind me. I just try to give us a chance to win every time I pitch, and I feel like I did that today.?
Juan Perez entered the game in relief of Tejera, to face left-handed batter LF Kevin Reese. Reese ran the count full and then walked. That was all that manager Trent Jewett wanted from Perez, and Jonah Bayliss came in to face righty 1B Shelley Duncan. With runners on first and second, Duncan clearly smelled a big hit. But Bayliss had other ideas, and with the count 1-2, he threw strike three right past Duncan’s Casey-at-the-Bat-type huge swing.

Brian Bixler and Michael Ryan  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians started off faring better against Yankees’ starter Steven White. With one out in the bottom of the first, SS Brian Bixler slapped a single into center field, and LF Michael Ryan followed with a blast over the left-field wall, just to the center-field side of the scoreboard. White hit 1B Brad Eldred on the arm with a pitch, and then hit CF Luis Matos on the left side with another pitch, but he settled down and got two foul pop outs by RF Yurendell de Caster and C Humberto Cota to end the inning.
White pitched five more innings, giving up only three hits, singles to DH Chris Aguila and Brian Bixler, and a double to Michael Ryan. Ryan reached third base on a error when Yankees’ RF Justin Christian had trouble picking up the double, but he was left standing there at the end of the inning. In the 5th inning, the Tribe again got a base runner to third base, when Brian Bixler singled, stole second base, and moved to third on a ground out. But he too was stranded when a foul pop out ended the inning.
Luis Ordaz  -photo by NancyZ
Reliever Sean Henn came in to pitch the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up only a single to Luis Ordaz (photo), who advanced to second base on a wild pitch and tagged up and ran to third on a fly out to deep right field. Ordaz was the third baserunner the Indians left standing on third base, though, as a line out ended the inning without a run scoring.
The top of the 9th brought disappointment for the Tribe. DH Erubiel Durazo walked, and moved to second base on a short infield bounce by SS Angel Chavez. Yurendell de Caster, who had moved from RF to 1B for the 9th inning, bobbled the ball, and was still able to fire to first base to get Chavez, but he had been clearly thinking about a force out at second base. Jonah Baylis struck out Chris Basak for the second out. Andy Cannizaro lined a single into right field, scoring Durazo from second base, to tie the game at 2-2. Eric Duncan pinch hit for Omir Santos, and lifted a fly ball to deep right field that bounced off the top of the wall for a double, missing a home run by a few feet. That brought Cannizaro across the plate with the go-ahead run. Bayliss got Brett Gardner to line out, ending the inning.
Chris Aguila -- photo by NancyZ
Former Indian Jim Brower came on to pitch the bottom of the 9th inning for the Yankees. The Indians were determined to fight, and they led off the inning with back-to-back singles by Humberto Cota and Chris Aguila (photo). Luis Ordaz tried three times to put down a sacrifice bunt, and he was out when all three attempts went foul. RF Adam Boeve flied out to center field. Brian Bixler hit a high bouncer toward shortstop, and was able to reach first base safely before the bounce came down, for an infield hit. With the bases loaded and two out, Michael Ryan grounded toward second base, for a fielder’s choice, forcing Bixler out at second base to end the game.
Yankees’ reliever Sean Henn earned his first win of the season for the Yankees, while Jim Brower recorded his 18th save. Jonah Bayliss got the blown save and his second loss of the season for the Indians. Brian Bixler had three singles for the Tribe, and Michael Ryan had a double and a homer. Chirs Aguila had two singles.
Russ Johnson and Jose Hernandez  -- photo by NancyZ
(photo: Russ Johnson and Jose Hernandez in the dugout)
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Michael Ryan’s two-run homer in the first inning — the only scoring the Indians had in the game.
Indians’ defensive gems of the game: Three timely double plays by the infield. The most important one came in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and one out: Brian Bixler to Luis Ordaz to Brad Eldred. The double play in the second inning came with runners at first and second bases and was also Bixler to Ordaz to Eldred. The one in the 4th inning came with the lead-off hitter at first base and none out, and went Ordaz to Bixler to Eldred.
Brian Bixler’s stolen base was his 21st of the season, in 23 attempts. Brad Eldred also stole second base, which was his 4th stolen base in 6 attempts.
The Pirates have signed first-round draft pick Daniel Moskos, a pitcher from Clemson University. His signing bonus is reported to be $2.5 million. Moskos is expected to do some conditioning work in Bradenton, and probably make a couple of starts with Bradenton’s GCL Pirates. Then the 21-year old will probably be assigned to Hickory.
The bullpen’s socks-up program didn’t seem to help, and today most of the relievers were back to wearing their pants long, without their socks showing. Jonah Bayliss and Juan Perez always wear their socks up.
Go Tribe!

Read More