Game #73 at Los Angeles

Angel Stadium | 10:05 | Duke vs. Joe Saunders | Box I’m not a fan of the late, West Coast start times. I’m even less of a fan when the games go extras. And I’m certainly not a fan of losing those extra-inning games the way we did tonight. At one point, the Angels retired 19 Pittsburgh Pirates in a row. Los Angeles’ bullpen threw five innings of one-hit ball; after scoring four runs in the first three frames,...

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Bucs Claim Phelps from Yanks

Well, I don’t know what to make of this. The Pirates picked up Josh Phelps off waivers from the Yanks and he will join the club this weekend. Huh? Didn’t they just recall Brad Eldred and the expense of Dan Kolb? Aren’t Phelps and Eldred basically the same except that Phelps has had some more ML ABs? Phelps has played 399 games at DH, 60 at first and a handful behind the plate. As a rookie with Toronto in 2002, he...

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Bucs Should Pursue Milton Bradley

Because of a glut of outfielders, the Oakland A’s have designated Milton Bradley for assignment. I want him on the Pirates. Why do I want him? Because I think Milton Bradley has some good baseball left in him. Because I think he brings an anger and a passion (though he’s been accused of loafing) that is severely lacking in the Pirates clubhouse. Pros and Cons of getting him, starting with the pros: 1. He’s played for...

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Indians Miss the Sweep, and Sink in the Fifth

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Shane Youman  -photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians were hoping for a four-game sweep of the Pawtucket Red Sox. The first three games of the series were all battles, but the Indians had come out on top in all three. In each of the three, the Tribe had taken the lead for the win in their final at-bat. A sweep would have put them in good position to go on the road to Toledo and Columbus for the road trip beginning tomorrow. Unfortunately for the Indians, the Red Sox had other plans. Instead of the sweep, the Indians were on the losing end of the 9 – 4 score. They will leave for the road trip still in first place, 2 games ahead of the Toledo Mud Hens in the standings.
Indians’ starting pitcher Shane Youman (photo) got the Tribe off to a very nice start, by striking out the side in the top of the first inning. Youman pitched the first 4 scoreless innings, allowing only two Pawtucket batters to reach base: Bobby Scales doubled in the 2nd inning and Ed Rogers beat out the throw on a beautiful stop behind second base by Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz in the 3rd inning. Both base runners were left stranded on base. Youman struck out 7 batters through those first 4 innings.
Micheal Ryan scores under the tag -- photo by NancyZ
Pawtucket’s starting pitcher Kason Gabbard held the Indians scoreless for the first two innings, while facing the minimum number of batters. The Indians were the first to get on the scoreboard, when they scored twice in the 3rd inning. Luis Ordaz led off with a walk, and Michael Ryan lined a single into right field. Ordaz advanced to third on the hit, and Ryan moved up to second base on the throw in to the infield and over to third to try to get Ordaz. Carlos Maldonado (photo below) blooped a single into center field, and Ryan advanced to third base. A wild pitch allowed Ryan (photo) to score from third base, when he slid in under Gabbard’s attempt to catch the ball tossed from C George Kottaras and apply the tag at the same time.
Carlos Maldonado -- photo by NancyZ
It was in the top of the 5th inning that the situation disintigrated for Shane Youman and the Tribe. No errors were committed, but it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Bobby Scales led off for the PawSox with a walk. George Kottaras singled up the middle. Chad Spann hit a very tall pop fly for the first out. Ed Rogers doubled down the left field line to bring home Scales (1 run), and Jacoby Ellsbury singled into right field to score Kottaras (2) and Rogers (3). Joe McEwing smashed a triple to the 418′ corner of left-center field and that brought in Ellsbury (4). The Tribe infield pulled in, but David Murphy popped a single over the head of 2B Luis Ordaz, to score McEwing (5). Jeff Bailey popped up to Ordaz for the second out, and it started to look like the damage could be contained. But with two outs, Brandon Moss, the 9th batter of the inning, doubled to score Murphy (6). Bobby Scales batted for the second time in the inning and he hit a single into left field that scored Moss (7), and Scales moved to second on the throw that went home. That was all for Youman, who was lifted in favor of lefty Juan Perez. With George Kottaras batting again, a wild pitch by Perez allowed Scales to move to third base. Perez walked Kottaras, and on ball four the pitch went wild again, allowing Scales to score (8). Chad Spann also walked, and then Ed Rogers finally grounded out to end the inning. Eight runs for the PawSox, on 7 hits, three walks, and two wild pitches.

Brian Rogers -- photo by NancyZ
If that weren’t enough, the PawSox added another “insurance” run in the 6th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury and Joe McEwing had back-to-back singles, and a fielder’s choice grounder to second base by David Murphy scored Ellsbury but forced McEwing out at second. Jeff Bailey singled into left field just out of reach of SS Brian Bixler. Brandon Moss struck out, and Bobby Scales walked to load the bases. The inning ended without any further scoring, when George Kottaras grounded to Bixler for a fielder’s choice.
Brian Rogers pitched the last 3 innings for the Tribe. He faced the minimum number of batters in each inning. Rogers did give up a single to Chad Spann in the 7th, and hit Joe McEwing with a pitch in the 8th, but both of them were immediately erased by double plays. The Indians had two double plays in the game, while Pawtucket got three.
Michael Ryan -- photo by NancyZ
After giving up those 2 runs to the Indians in the 3rd inning, Kason Gabbard kept the Tribe from scoring further. He gave up another four singles and one walk, but used double plays and strikeouts to get out of jams and leave runners stranded. Gabbard pitched a total of 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters.
Craig Hansen came in to pitch the 7th inning for Pawtucket. With one out, Michael Ryan (photo) blasted a rocket over the right field wall that flew all the way to the sidewalk above the grass berm before it bounced. A few pitches later, Carlos Maldonado hit another bomb — but to straight-away right field, where it might have gone out of a lot of other parks, but not Victory Field. Matt Kata (photo below) followed with yet another big blast to right-center field, just about mid-way between the previous two. His cleared the fence with a few yards to spare, for another solo home run. Brian Bixler singled to right, and Yurendell de Caster walked, and it looked hopeful for the Tribe for a few minutes. But Brad Eldred grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.
Matt Kata's home run -- photo by NancyZ
Reliever Bryan Corey, who had pitched in two of the previous three games, started the 8th inning for Pawtucket. He quickly got two outs, then gave up a single to Luis Ordaz. Then he was lifted in favor of left-hander Craig Breslow, who was brought in to pitch to lefty Michael Ryan. Breslow struck out Ryan to end the inning, and then pitched a scoreless 9th inning to finish the game for Pawtucket.
Tribe CF Matt Kata talked after the game about not getting down about a loss like this. “The team is playing so well right now, and a loss like this can easily be put behind us. The pitchers are throwing well and the hitters are getting timely hits. This is baseball, and games like tonight happen. It was nice to see us find a little bit of a charge in the seventh inning, and hopefully it will carry on to our next game.”
Trent Jewett and Carlos Maldonado  -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Two home runs in the same inning, by Michael Ryan and Matt Kata. It was Ryan’s 4th homer of the season, and his second in two days. He joins Yurendell de Caster, Brad Eldred (twice), and Brian Bixler in the Homers-in-Back-to-Back-Games Club. Kata’s homer was his 2nd in only 5 games with the Tribe. “I saw [pitcher Craig] Hansen throw earlier in the series, so I knew his two pitches were fastball and slider”, said Kata. “I figured he would try to come right at me. I was looking for a fastball up in the zone and I got it.”
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Two double plays in the 7th and 8th innings, to squash PawSox rallies before they barely were started. The first was a “standard” double play on a grounder to shortstop: SS Brian Bixler to 2B Luis Ordaz to 1B Jose Hernandez. The second was a “reverse” double play on a grounder to Luis Ordaz, who was playing about a third of the way between first and second bases. Ordaz scooped up the ball and looked at the base runner Joe McEwing — who all but stopped in his tracks, maybe thinking that Ordaz might try to just tag him with the ball. But Ordaz instead threw the ball to Jose Hernandez at first base to get out the batter, David Murphy. McEwing was still stuck in no-man’s-land between the bases, so Hernandez held the ball and ran toward McEwing, as Bixler ran toward McEwing from second base, closing the gap. Hernandez tagged McEwing for the out.
Carlos Maldonado -- photo by NancyZ
NOTES:
Roster move:
INF Don Kelly, a Pittsburgh native, was designated for assignment by the Pirates last week. He has cleared waivers and has accepted his assignment to the Indy Indians.
RHP John Wasdin has been with the Indians on a rehab assignment, after spraining his thumb. The Pirates have to make a decision about what to do next with Wasdin — by July 2nd.
Starter Bryan Bullington is feeling better after missing some time due to a tired arm. He is scheduled to make a start on Monday in Toledo.
Congratulations:
To manager Trent Jewett, who has been named to the coaching staff for the XM All-Star Futures Game. The Futures Game will be held in San Francisco on Sunday July 8th at 4 pm Eastern time, and will be on ESPN2. Jewett will be coaching for the World Team, which will be managed by Juan Marichal. Other members of the Pirates’ organization participating: Steven Pearce — first baseman for the Altoona Curve will be on the US team; Serguey Linares — RHP for the Lynchburg Hillcats will be on the World team (he’s from Cuba). Also, former Indy Indian infielder Craig Stansberry, who is currently playing for AAA Portland in the San Diego Padres’ system, will be playing for the World team. Craig was born in Saudi Arabia.
Youth Baseball Clinics  --photo by NancyZ
John Van Benschoten mades his second start with the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, against the Seattle Mariners, in Seattle. He pitched 4 scoreless innings, and then gave up 3 runs in the 5th inning. He threw 96 pitches, gave up 6 hits, and got 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Masumi Kuwata came in to pitch the 6th and 7th innings. He threw 26 pitches, 21 of which were strikes, allowed one hit and no runs, and struck out 4 Mariners’ batters. Jonah Bayliss pitched one scoreless inning. Three runs doesn’t sound all that bad for Van Benschoten — except that the Pirates’ batters didn’t score any runs at all. Van Benschoten got the loss — his second rather decent appearance, but his second loss.
Friday (June 22nd) is the last day to vote for the International League All-Stars. Let’s get the All-Star team loaded up with our Indians! Two places to vote:
www.indyindians.com
www.milb.com
Who do you think has been the most valuable player on the Indianapolis Indians so far this season? Please let us know what you think! Leave a comment here
Go Tribe!

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Game #72 at Seattle

Safeco Field | 10:05 | Van Benschoten vs. Felix Hernandez | Box You call yourself a Pirates fan, and you didn’t see this one coming from a mile away? The Mariners won Thursday night, 3-0. John Van Benschoten pitched a solid game, but he wasn’t able to match zeros with Felix Hernandez. A night after Jeff Weaver threw a four-hit shutout, King Felix blanked the Pirates over eight innings. J.J. Putz closed out the...

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A Victorious Afternoon for the Tribe

boxscore (Photos by NancyZ)
Trent Jewett congratulates Michael Ryan  --- photo by NancyZ
It started out like the previous two games between the Indianapolis Indians and the Pawtucket Red Sox: two teams battling, going up by one run, tying it up, going up by another run or two, tying it up again. Then the Indians broke it open with three runs in the 8th inning, and this time didn’t let the Red Sox catch up. The Indians beat the Red Sox 6-3 this afternoon at Victory Field.
Pawtucket starter Jon Lester kept the Indians scoreless for the first two innings, giving up only one walk to C Humberto Cota. The Indians first hit and first run came in the 3rd inning, as LF Michael Ryan (photo) led off the inning with a rocket shot just inside the right field foul pole for a solo home run.
“[John] Lester is a tough pitcher, so I just tried to react to the pitch as best I could”, said Ryan after the game. “I put a good swing on the ball and, luckily, it wrapped just inside the foul pole.”
Luis Matos and Hensley Meulens ---photo by NancyZ
The Red Sox came right back in the top of the 4th inning. Lead-off hitter LF Bobby Scales tripled all the way to the 418′ mark in left-center field. He scored easily when 1B Jeff Bailey grounded out.
The Indians took the lead again in the 5th inning. Michael Ryan smashed another long ball, this one to center field. At first, it looked like it was going over the wall like his first hit, and PawSox CF Jacoby Ellsbury wasn’t running back very fast. Then the swirling wind came into play, and Ellsbury suddenly picked up his speed. He made a leaping catch just in front of the wall — and then the ball popped out of his glove when he crashed into the wall, allowing Ryan to reach third base safely. Einar Diaz, with the DH duties today, walked to put runners on the corners. CF Luis Matos (photo, with hitting coach “Bam Bam” Meulens) popped a gentle single into left field, to bring home Ryan and break the tie. SS Brian Bixler walked, and RF Yurendell de Caster came to the plate with the bases were loaded with no one out. De Caster grounded to shortstop to start a double play, but Diaz, who had been on third base, was still able to score, to put the Indians up by two runs. The inning ended when Brad Eldred hit a foul pop toward the Indians’ dugout.

Michael Tejera  -photo by NancyZ
Indians’ starter Michael Tejera (photo) , in his 6th and longest start of the season, took the Tribe into the 7th inning. He gave up only three hits and one walk scattered over the first 6 innings, and only one of those runners (Scales) came around to score. Tejera walked 1B Jeff Bailey to start the 7th inning, and then struck out RF Brandon Moss. At that point, he had thrown 101 pitches (59 strikes), and his afternoon’s work was done. Josh Sharpless came in to relieve Tejera. Sharpless first walked C Kevin Cash, and then got DH Michael Tucker to tap a grounder right back to him — which allowed the base runners to move to second and third bases. 3B Chad Spann lined a single into left field, scoring both Bailey and Cash, to tie the game again. A quick ground out by SS Alex Prieto ended the inning.
Reliever Mark Corey pitched the top of the 8th for the Indians. He got into some difficulty with two outs, when LF Bobby Scales singled into left-center, and the next two batters, Jeff Bailey and Brandon Moss both walked to load the bases. But Corey calmly got pinch-hitter David Murphy to hit a pop up to Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz, getting out of the jam without allowing a run to score.
Pawtucket’s Edgar Martinez entered the game in relief of starter Jon Lester in the 6th. Martinez pitched to three batters in each inning. In each inning, he allowed one batter to reach base — Luis Ordaz on a walk in the 6th, and Luis Matos by being hit on the jersey in the 7th. In each inning, though, the respective Luis was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Brad Eldred scores on a suicide squeeze  -- photo by NancyZ
In the bottom of the 8th, the Indians got tired of the see-sawing score, and took a decisive lead. The PawSox brought in reliever Bryan Corey (no relation to Tribe reliever Mark Corey), and SS Brian Bixler led off with a walk. Then RF Yurendell de Caster singled into right field, and 1B Brad Eldred loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch, also on his jersey. 3B Jose Hernandez slapped a grounder back to the mound, which bounced off Corey’s glove before bouncing over toward Joe McEwing, who had been moved from third base to shortstop. By then, the ball was moving slowly, and McEwing had to charge in to get it, so he didn’t have time to turn a double play or throw home, but could only throw to first to get Hernandez. Bixler scored on the play, and de Caster and Eldred advanced to third and second bases. C Humberto Cota lined a single into center field, to score de Caster, and move Eldred to third base. Then 2B Luis Ordaz tapped a suicide squeeze bunt that bounced high toward the first-base side. Pitcher Bryan Corey caught it, but with Eldred running on the pitch (photo), Corey only had time to tag out Ordaz as he ran past, and Eldred scored. A single by Michael Ryan advanced Cota to third base, but then Einar Diaz grounded out to end the inning, with the Indians up by three runs.
Luis Ordaz restrained by teammates -- photo by NancyZ
There was a moment of shouting and jawing, after Luis Ordaz was tagged out on the suicide squeeze bunt. Ordaz and Bryan Corey had a few words, and as Ordaz started walking away, more words came from the Pawtucket dugout and manager Ron Johnson came out of the dugout toward Ordaz. Other players intervened quickly, however, and nothing more came of it.
Brian Rogers started pitching the 9th inning for the Tribe, but his control seemed off, and he walked the first two batters, Michael Tucker and Chad Spann. One more reliever, Franquelis Osoria, who had pitched two innings yesterday, was brought in to replace Rogers.
Michael Ryan stands in front of Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson -- photo by NancyZ
George Kottaras, who had entered the game in a defensive change in the 8th inning, smashed a screaming liner toward right field –caught by Brad Eldred as he leapt into the air. Eldred quickly took three steps to touch first base and double off Spann, and then threw to second base, and almost caught Tucker off base too. Jacoby Ellsbury ended the game when he grounded out to second base.
Corey and Corey were the pitchers of record — Indians’ Mark Corey got the win, his first of the season, and Pawtucket’s Bryan Corey took the loss, his 4th of the season. Franquelis Osoria recorded his 6th save of the season.
Bixler is safe at second -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Michael Ryan, who was only a double short of hitting for the cycle. He hit a homer just inside the right field foul pole to start the scoring in the 3rd inning, a triple in the 5th inning, and a single in the 8th. Three hits, two runs scored, and one RBI. What was different today for Ryan? “I’ve been seeing pitches better and swinging the bat stronger. I’ve been putting in a lot of extra work with [hitting coach Hensley] “Bam Bam” [Meulens]. Hopefully, I will catch fire and continue to help this team win.”
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Brad Eldred’s unassisted double play in the 9th inning — which was nearly a triple play.
NOTES:
Who do you think has been the Indians’ MVP for the first half of the season? Go here and let me know your opinion by clicking on the ‘comments’ button.
Don’t forget to vote for the Indians to be members of the International League All-Star team! Voting ends on Friday. Go to either of these to vote:
www.indyindians.com
www.milb.com
Go Tribe!

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