Let’s catch up with the weekend headlines. It was a busy couple of days not only in Pittsburgh, but around Major League Baseball as well. Two Pirates hit the disabled list, two more could represent the club at the All-Star game, two teams changed managers, and so on. Here are the quick hits: *** Zach Duke was placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow, and Shane Youman was called up from Indianapolis...
boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Don Kelly (photo) was the Big Hero at Victory Field this afternoon, as he hit a walk-off single to score Carlos Maldonado from third base. With that winning run, the Indianapolis Indians beat the Richmond Braves by a score of 8 – 7. The win gives the Indians a sweep of the short 2-game series against the Braves. Since the Toledo Mud Hens lost to the Durham Bulls today, this win moves the Indians up to 2 games behind the first-place Mud Hens in the International League West Division. It was also manager Trent Jewett’s 200th victory with the Indians.
The game started with right-hander Kip Bouknight (pronounced BOCK- night) making his debut with the Indians, after being promoted from the AA Altoona Curve. Bouknight has had AAA-level experience in the past, pitching for New Orleans in the Washington Nationals’ organization last season. He has been described as a control pitcher, but that control seemed to elude him as the game got underway. Bouknight threw a lot of pitches for balls in the first inning, and walked two batters, putting runners on the corners with only one out. He got former Indianapolis Indian 1B Graham Koonce to put up a timely pop out, and then got LF Doug Clark to slap a grounder to SS Don Kelly for the third out.
Bouknight (photo) continued to have problems with control and continued to throw balls in the next innings. In the 2nd, former Pirate farmhand SS Brent Lillibridge led off with a single to center field, and then stole both second and third bases. He scored when C Iker Franco grounded out. In the 3rd, with one out, Bouknight gave up a single to 2B Martin Prado, then back-to-back walks to RF Larry Bigbie and Graham Koonce. The middle infield rescued Bouknight though, with a sharp double play, 2B Luis Ordaz to SS Don Kelly to 1B Yurendell de Caster.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Bouknight did something that probably involved magic: he transferred whatever it was that was sabotaging his control (gremlins? a nasty virus? an evil curse?) to Richmond starter Blaine Boyer. Boyer had held the Indians to one lone walk to 3B Russ Johnson in the first two innings. In the third inning, the Indians controlled Boyer. C Carlos Maldonado led off the inning by lining a single down the right field line. Pitcher Kip Bouknight (photo below) bunted the first pitch he saw foul, and then showed bunt again for the second pitch. It was a trick, though — as the second pitch came to the plate, and Braves’ 3B Wes Timmons came in on the infield, Bouknight pulled the bat back and swung away, popping a single into left field, just out of the reach of Timmons and the SS Lillibridge. That proved to be the turning point of the inning.
Boyer hit Luis Matos with a pitch to load the bases. Then he walked the next two batters, SS Don Kelly and LF Michael Ryan, walking in two runs. A sacrifice fly by 3B Russ Johnson scored Matos to put the Indians up 3-1. RF Brad Eldred also walked, loading the bases again. 1B Yurendell de Caster struck out and 2B Luis Ordaz flew out to end the inning.
With his gremlins or curses safely handed off to the opposition, Kip Bouknight seemed to have more control over the next three innings. He gave up a hit in the 4th to C Iker Franco, but erased him with a double play. He gave up a walk to CF Gregor Blanco in the 5th inning, followed by a single to Martin Prado, which moved Blanco to third base. A sacrifice fly by Larry Bigbie scored Blanco. LF Doug Clark blasted a home run past the scoreboard beyond the sidewalk above the right field berm to lead off the top of the 6th inning, tying up the score again, 3-3.
It wasn’t tied for long, though. Buddy Hernandez entered the game in the bottom of the 6th to relieve Blaine Boyer. With one out, Carlos Maldonado singled, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Michael Tejera (photo). It was the second game in a row in which pitcher Michael Tejera pinch-hit. Luis Matos put down a routine grounder to Braves’ SS Brent Lillibridge, but Lillibridge’s throw to first base went wide to the outfield side of the bag, sending Matos to second base and scoring Maldonado with the go-ahead run. Don Kelly ripped a double into left field, scoring Matos as well.
Reliever Mark Corey took over for Kip Bouknight to pitch the 7th inning. Corey gave up a hit to Gregor Blanco, but the Indians turned their 3rd double play of the game to end the inning easily.
The Indians threatened in the bottom of the 7th, when it looked like they might be able to take advantage of another Richmond error. Russ Johnson led off with a single, and Brad Eldred (photo) followed with a grounder to third. Braves 3B Timmons scooped up the grounder, but his throw to second base to force out Johnson went wide, and both runners were safe. Yurendell de Caster dropped a short dribbler to the pitcher Hernandez, who quickly whirled and threw to third base, forcing out Johnson. Two line-drive outs to RF Larry Bigbie ended the inning without any runs scoring.
Reliever Jonah Bayliss, in his second appearance for the Indians since joining the team, came in to pitch the 8th inning. Larry Bigbie welcomed Bayliss by smacking a single into right field, and then stealing second base. After a strikeout by Graham Koonce, Doug Clark lifted a fly ball down the right field foul line, which left the field of play just on the inside of the foul pole, for a 2-run home run — tied up again, this time at 5-5.
Again, the tie didn’t last long. Braves’ Manny Acosta relieved Hernandez in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Luis Matos walked, and Don Kelly had his second hit of the game, moving Matos to second base. Russ Johnson (photo) smashed a grounder down the left field line for a 2-run double, to again take the lead as Matos and Kelly scored. Johnson took third base on the throw in, and Brad Eldred was intentionally walked. Because of strategic double-switching when Jonah Bayliss entered the game, this brought Bayliss to the plate, for the first time in his professional career. Bayliss went after the first pitch he saw, and grounded it to Graham Koonce at first base for the third out.
The Braves came right back in the top of the 9th. With Jonah Bayliss still on the mound, and one out, 3B Jon Schureholz, who had entered the game as part of the double switch, smacked a double to left-center field. Gregor Blanco hit a towering fly ball that drifted foul, and was caught by Don Kelly, who ran all the way to the stands behind third base to make the play. That was the second out, and people in the stands rose to their feet as Martin Prado ran the count full against Bayliss, and then fouled off another pitch… and then lifted a rising fly ball over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer to once again tie the score.
Once again, the Indians went to the plate, needing to break the tie. Manny Acosta was still pitching for Richmond. Luis Ordaz led off by driving a liner into right field, but right to RF Larry Bigbie for the first out. Carlos Maldonado looped a single into left-center field, and Brian Bixler, who had also entered the game on a double-switch, hit a single up the right field line, moving Maldonado to third base. Luis Matos lifted a fly ball to center field for the second out. That brought up Don Kelly, who smacked a 1-2 pitch into right field for a single, allowing Maldonado to score the winning run. The crowd did indeed go wild, and Kelly’s teammates enthusiastically congratulated him on his walk-off single (photo).
Manny Acosta took the loss for the Braves, for his 3rd loss of the season. Jonah Bayliss had both the blown save and the win, his first with the Indians. Don Kelly and Carlos Maldonado each had 3 hits for the Tribe, and Maldonado also scored three times. Russ Johnson had 2 hits, and he and Kelly each had 3 RBI.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Don Kelly, who was 2 for 21 since joining the Indians entering the game, had three hits, and three RBI, including the game-winning single.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Three double plays by the Indians. Two were 2B Luis Ordaz to SS Don Kelly to 1B Yurendell de Caster, and one was Kelly to Ordaz to de Caster.
Jose Hernandez’s injury last night was due to his leg colliding with Braves’ C Corky Miller’s leg and foot. Hernandez had some cuts from Miller’s cleats, which are expected to heal without any problems. He should be able to return to play in a few days.
Einar Diaz was not so lucky. His injury yesterday occurred as he was crossing home plate with the tying run in the 7th inning. As he came across the plate, he reached down to pick up the bat that was lying next to the plate and the baseline. As he reached, his foot slipped and he went down, tearing his right patellar tendon. Einar has been placed on the Disabled List and is not expected to return this season.
Indians’ broadcasters Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley were doing their broadcast from the stadium concourse today, like they do on most Sunday games. So, they were asked to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the 7th inning stretch today. They did a great job, and even added the Harry Caray-like “Let’s get some runs!” at the end.
boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
The Indianapolis Indians edged out the Richmond Braves by a score of 5-4 at Victory Field last night, coming back from a 2 run deficit by scoring 3 runs in the 7th inning. But the Indians also had two players injured, both while trying to cross the plate. INF Jose Hernandez injured his left leg in the 4th inning, as he was tagged out trying to score from second base on a single by Humberto Cota. C Einar Diaz, who had pinch-hit in the 7th inning, injured his right leg, probably the knee, as he crossed the plate to score the tying run. There has been no word yet on the extent of either player’s injury or how long to expect either of them to be unable to play.
Bryan Bullington (photo) started the game for the Indians. He pitched two perfect innings against the Braves, followed by two innings where he gave up only a lone hit in each. One Richmond runner was left stranded on base, and the other was erased in an excellent double play by the Indians’ middle infield, 2B Brian Bixler to SS Luis Ordaz to 1B Yurendell de Caster.
Richmond starter Lance Cormier, who has pitched with the Atlanta Braves this season, lasted only 4 innings against the Indians. After retiring the side in order in the 1st inning, Cormier faced Tribe 3B Jose Hernandez (photo) to lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning. Hernandez worked the count full, and then blasted a home run onto the berm behind the right field wall, for the first run of the game. The Indians scored again in the 3rd inning. SS Luis Ordaz led off by grounding a single up the middle. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Bryan Bullington, and scored when CF Luis Matos dropped a double deep into the left-center field gap.
The Tribe also threatened in the 4th inning, when with one out, they touched Cormier for three consecutive singles — by Jose Hernandez, Brad Eldred, and Humberto Cota. Cota’s single to right field came with Hernandez on second base, and Hernandez rounded third and headed for home plate without hesitation. The throw from Braves’ RF Larry Bigbie was on target, though, and C Corky Miller was blocking the plate. Miller tagged out Hernandez, and it appeared that their legs collided or tangled.
Hernandez was left kneeling behind home plate, holding his left leg. Indians’ trainer Jose Ministral appeared to be examining Hernandez’s left knee. Hernandez was helped off the field, and Ministral continued to work on his leg in the dugout, and he left the game. Meanwhile, with baserunners on the corners, 1B Yurendell de Caster walked to load the bases. Cormier got SS Luis Ordaz to ground into a fielder’s choice, forcing out de Caster at second to end the inning without a run scoring.
(photo — Bryan Bullington puts down a successful sacrifice bunt.)
After dominating the Braves in the first four innings, and throwing about 43 pitches, Bryan Bullington ran into trouble in the 5th inning. LF Doug Clark led off with a double to the right field wall, and former Pirates’ farmhand SS Brent Lillibridge singled to right, moving Clark to third. In an odd play, as Bullington tried to do the bluff-to-third-throw-to-first trick, Lillibridge was caught way off first base, and it seemed like he was about to be tagged out. As Bullington charged toward Lillibridge with the ball, Clark left third base to head home. Bullington’s back was to home plate, but he was waiting for his teammates to tell him when to turn and throw home. They gave the “Home! Home!” signal, but Bullington’s throw was just a split second late — Clark scored and Lillibridge ended up on second base. C Corky Miller walked, and then 3B Wes Timmons grounded out, advancing the runners to third and second bases. Another ground out by pinch hitter Brayan Pena brought Lillibridge home. CF Gregor Blanco lined a double about six inches inside the right field foul line and down to the corner, scoring Miller. Another double, to the center field wall, by 2B Martin Prado scored Blanco. RF Larry Bigbie hit a screaming liner that looked like it was going to add another run — until Tribe 2B Brian Bixler timed his jump perfectly and snagged it out of the air for the third out.
(photo — Luis Ordaz turns the double play)
Bullington pitched a total of 5 innings, giving up 4 runs, all earned, on 6 hits and one walk, with one strikeout. He threw 69 pitches, 45 for strikes, and did very well until that 5th inning. Juan Perez entered the game in relief, and he pitched two perfect innings for the Tribe, including two strikeouts. Franquelis Osoria handled the last two innings easily, giving up one hit in the 8th, but leaving the runner stranded. He pitched a perfect 9th inning, ending the game by getting former Indianapolis Indian (2005) Graham Koonce to fly out to center field.
Richmond’s Lance Cormier was relieved by Rich Scalamandre to begin the bottom of the 5th inning. Scalamandre gave up three hits, but held the Indians scoreless. Brian Bixler bounced a single off the back of the mound and into center field in the 5th, but Bixler was forced out on LF Michael Ryan’s fielder’s choice. Russ Johnson, who took over at third base for Jose Hernandez, led off the 6th by lining a double down the left field line, but he was out at third when he tried to advance on RF Brad Eldred’s fly out to center field. C Humberto Cota singled but was also forced out on a fielder’s choice.
The Tribe made their move in the 7th inning. Richmond Reliever Jeff Bennett started the inning with back-to-back walks to Luis Ordaz and pinch-hitter Einar Diaz. Luis Matos’s ground out moved the runners to second and third. Brian Bixler’s second hit of the night scored Ordaz, and moved Diaz to third, and it ended Jeff Bennett’s appearance. He was lifted for Will Startup, the lefty with the funky leg kick. Startup walked Michael Ryan to load the bases, and then struck out Russ Johnson, bringing up Brad Eldred. Eldred slapped a 2-RBI single into left field, scoring Diaz to tie, and then Bixler slid in with the go-ahead run. Michael Ryan, running all the way from first, headed for home. The throw in from LF Doug Clark was cut off by Startup, who threw to 2B Martin Prada, in an effort to hold Eldred, and then Prada threw home to C Corky Miller, who was blocking the plate when Ryan arrived. Ryan barrelled into Miller, but Miller held fast and Ryan was out to end the inning. It was only at that point when the players noticed that Einar Diaz was still on the ground at the edge of the dirt circle behind home plate. On the replay, it looked like his right leg slipped as he was crossing, or maybe just after he crossed, the plate. He might have even slipped on the bat that was lying there. It appeared that the injury was to his knee. Trainer Jose Ministral tended to Diaz, and eventually put an air splint on his leg. Diaz was taken off the field on a stretcher, presumably to a hospital for further treatment.
Startup pitched a scoreless 9th inning, giving up two hits, a single to Humberto Cota and a double to Luis Ordaz. Jeff Bennett was responsible for the three runs the Indians scored in the 7th, and so he took the loss, his third of the season. Tribe reliever Juan Perez got the win, his second of the year, and Franquelis Osoria got his 8th save of the season.
Humberto Cota had three hits for the Indians. Brian Bixler,Brad Eldred, Luis Ordaz and Jose Hernandez each had two hits, with the home run for Hernandez and a double for Ordaz.
The Indians remain 3 games behind the first-place Toledo Mud Hens in the International League West Division.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Brad Eldred’s single in the 7th inning, which knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs for the Indians.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Brad Eldred again — in the top of the 8th inning, Martin Prado blasted a long drive deep and near the foul line in right field. Brad Eldred ran and ran, and finally leapt with his arm outstretched and caught the ball, then fell and rolled — but still held onto the ball. He made it look like he’s been playing out there forever.
Matt Kata was called up to the Pirates, and added to the 40-man roster. He had only been with the Indians for about 2 weeks, since being signed as a minor league free agent on June 15th. Kata hit .265 with 2 homers and 4 RBI with the Indians. Kata was called up because former Indian Chris Duffy has a sprained ankle.
Carlos Maldonado was placed back onto the roster from the temporary inactive list.
Marty McLeary was designated for assignment by the Pirates, which moves him off the 40-man roster, to make room for Kata.
RHP Kip Bouknight is being promoted from Altoona and will start Sunday’s game against the Richmond Braves.
Shane Youman, who was previously scheduled to start Sunday, is a candidate to start for Pittsburgh on Tuesday, when Zach Duke skips his regular start due to tendonitis in his elbow.
Michael Ryan’s 10 game hitting streak came to an end, when he went 0 for 3, with a walk tonight. Ryan had another 10 game hitting streak earlier this season.
Former Pittsburgh Pirate farmhand Brent Lillibridge, now in the Atlanta Braves system, was playing shortstop for the Richmond Braves last night. He went 1 for 4 and scored one run. He was also a good sport and played with “Birdzerk”, the between-innings crazy critter act.
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