Game #64 vs. Texas

PNC Park | 7:05 | Duke vs. Kevin Millwood | Box There’s no such thing as an easy win when you’re a fan of the Pirates, I’m afraid.   I was about to write that there’s no such thing as a laugher—but we all know that’s not the case. The Bucs jumped out to a 6-0 lead tonight and held on to win, 7-5.  Jose Bautista went 3 for 5 from the leadoff spot, doubling twice, homering once and stealing a base. ...

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Youman and Tribe Shut Out Knights

boxscore (photos by NancyZ )
Shane Youman -- photo by NancyZ
Shane Youman (photo) seems to like the number zero. He especially likes to see it in his opponents’ line on the scoreboard. So tonight, he put a lot of those zeros on the Charlotte Knight’s line — zero runs, in all 9 innings, as the Indianapolis Indians shut out the Knights 2-0 at Knights’ Stadium. Youman pitched 8 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6 batters, to earn his second win of the season and drip his ERA to 4.81. After the game, Youman had this to say about his win: “This win means a lot because I’ve been battling all season. I’m the first to admit the results haven’t been there, but I feel like I’m throwing the ball much better now. I will continue to push myself because I want to get better each time I head to the mound.”
Brian Bixler  -- photo by NancyZ
The first inning didn’t start out looking like it was going to go Youman’s way. Knights’ 2B Jason Bourgeois led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single to left, and moved to second base when LF Casey Rogowski walked. But Youman settled down and struck out DH Brian Anderson. Then 1B Craig Wilson grounded to shortstop, where Tribe SS Brian Bixler (photo) scooped up the ball and tossed it to 2B Luis Ordaz, who turned it and fired to 1B Jose Hernandez for the inning-ending double play.
“(Shortstop) Brian (Bixler) started a huge double play to get me out of the first inning, and that gave us some momentum”, said Youman. “Fortunately I was able to settle down and focus on the task at hand. I feel like my concentration was good during all eight innings tonight.”

Youman came back in the bottom of the second inning and gave up one walk to C Wiki Gonzalez. He was left stranded as Youman made short work of three of his teammates. Gonzalez was the last base runner Charlotte managed to get for the next 5 innings, as Youman set 16 Knights down in order. The Knights got a man as far as second base in the 8th inning, when CF Ryan Sweeney singled and then moved to second on Youman’s wild pitch. Once again, though, Youman handled three other Charlotte batters easily, for another scoreless inning.
“After the eighth inning, (Manager) Trent (Jewett) asked if I could finish the game”, said Youman. “I told him I thought I could.”
Youman did go out for the 9th inning, but started the inning by giving up back-to-back singles to Jason Bourgeois and Casey Rogowski. At that point, Trent Jewett decided that Youman had had enough and it was time for reliever Franquelis Osoria to finish the game for him.
“It’s tough when you have to leave in that situation”, said Youman, “but Trent made a good call to get Franquelis (Osoria). Our bullpen has really picked up the starting pitchers this year, and Franquelis did a nice job to preserve the win tonight.”
Osoria did just that, and on only 9 pitches. DH Brian Anderson struck out, 1B Craig Wilson grounded out, and SS Tomas Perez flied out to end the game. Osoria earned his fourth save of the season.
Jose Hernandez -- photo by NancyZ
Charlotte’s starter Lance Broadway kept the Indians scoreless for the first three innings. In the top of the fourth inning, 1B Jose Hernandez (photo) lifted a long fly ball over the left center field wall for a solo home run.
It turned out that the homer was the only run the Tribe would need, but they did add an insurance run in the 6th inning. LF Yurendell de Caster led off the inning with a walk, and he advanced to third base when RF Brad Eldred grounded out to first base. 1B Jose Hernandez was intentionally walked. Then 3B Russ Johnson grounded an RBI single into left field to score de Caster.
Carlos Vasquez came in to relieve Broadway in the 7th inning. Vasquez pitched two innings, giving up only a single to DH Einar Diaz in the 8th inning. Mike MacDougal pitched the 9th inning for Charlotte, setting down the Tribe batters in order. Broadway took the loss for the Knights, his second of the season.
The Charlotte pitchers held the Tribe to 5 hits in the game. Besides Hernandez’s homer, Johnson’s RBI single, and Einar Diaz’s single, Luis Ordaz doubled, and Brian Bixler singled.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Jose Hernandez’s solo home run in the 4th inning.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Shane Youman and Franquelis Osoria combined to pitch nine shutout innings.
Don’t forget to vote for the Indians for the International League All-Star team. Look for the place to click for voting at either of these two sites:
Go Tribe!

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Bullington Removed Early, Tribe Loses

boxscore (photos by NancyZ )
Bryan Bullington
The Indianapolis Indians had to play catch-up ball against the Charlotte Knights in last night’s game at Knights’ Stadium, but they fell just one run short, as the Knights beat the Indians by a score of 4-3. Perhaps the most worrisome part of the loss was the loss of Tribe starter Bryan Bullington (photo ) after just one inning, due to shoulder soreness.
Bullington started the game by walking Knight’s LF Scott Podsednik. 2B Jason Bourgeois grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Podsednik out at second base, and leaving Bourgeois safe at first base. A double by CF Ryan Sweeney moved Bourgeois to third base, and an intentional walk to SS Tomas Perez loaded the bases. Bourgeois scored when a Bullington threw a wild pitch.
Bullington had thrown only 24 pitches in the inning, but shortly after he came back to the dugout at the end of the inning, pitcher Michael Tejera was seen running down to the bullpen and starting a warm-up. Tejera was given all the warm-up time he needed, and he entered the game to pitch in the bottom of the 2nd inning. The official word came from the Indians’ clubhouse: Bullington had been taken out of the game as a precaution, complaining of right shoulder discomfort. Since it is just his first year — first few months — back to pitching after missing a season due to surgery, the Indians and the Pirates want to be very careful with Bullington.
Michael Tejera -- photo by NancyZ
Michael Tejera (photo ) pitched 5 innings for the Indians. He allowed only three hits and didn’t walk any Knights. Two of the hits he allowed, though, were solo home runs by 3B Gustavo Molina, one in the 2nd inning and one in the 5th inning.
“(Gustavo) Molina had a really good day at the plate, and you have to tip your cap to a guy like that”, said Tejera after the game. “The first home run was a pitch over the middle of the plate, and he took advantage of it. The second home run was actually a pretty good pitch — down and in — and he just got it. Molina really gave Charlotte a big lift today.”
Brian Rogers relieved Tejera for the 7th, with a perfect inning. Jesse Chavez pitched the 8th inning and allowed the Knights’ final and winning run. With one out, Scott Podsednik doubled, and he scored when Jason Bourgeois singled to left field.
Knights’ starter Gavin Floyd held the Indians to 5 hits scattered over 7 innings. He walked 3 and struck out 8 Indians’ batters. It took the Indians until the 5th inning to put a run on the board. LF Michael Ryan reached base when Knights’ 2B Bourgeois made a fielding error on a ground ball. 1B Chris Truby’s single moved Ryan to second, and SS Nick Green’s single scored Ryan.

Nick Green  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians added another run in the 6th. RF Yurendell de Caster doubled into center field, and advanced to third when 3B Russ Johnson grounded out to shortstop. C Einar Diaz lined an RBI single into center field to bring in de Caster.
The Tribe entered the 9th inning behind by two runs. Things started looking hopeful when DH David Parrish lined a double to left field with one out. Nick Green’s (photo ) single to center plated Parrish, and the Indians were only down by one run. But the game ended on an odd double play. With 2B Brian Bixler batting, Nick Green was leading off first, looking as if he was thinking about stealing second base. On the 3-2 pitch, Bixler swung and missed for a strike out. Green broke for second base late, and was caught in no-man’s-land about a third of the way from first to second base, and was easily tagged out to end the game.
Yurendell de Caster  -- photo by NancyZ
Bryan Bullington took the loss, despite having only pitched one inning. It was his 3rd loss of the season. Bullington still leads the International League with 9 wins. His ERA is not 2.83. Gavin Floyd earned the win, making his record now 4-3, with a 3.58 ERA. David Aardsma, who pitched the last two innings for the Knights’, earned his first save.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Yurendell de Caster and Nick Green each had two hits in the game, with a double for de Caster and 2 RBI for Green. De Caster is currently the International League batting leader, with a .348 AVG. He also has a league-leading on-base percentage (OBP ) of .457. His OPS is .932, fourth in the league.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: The double play by Knights’ Craig Wilson to end the third inning, going Nick Green to Brian Bixler to Chris Truby (6-4-3 ).
Masumi Kuwata -- photo by NancyZ
No news yet today (Monday) about Bryan Bullington’s shoulder status.
Sean Burnett is expected to start throwing again in the next few days, with the hope that he’ll be back pitching before the end of the month.
Dream come true: Masumi Kuwata (photo ) pitched in his first US Major League game yesterday. Wearing #18, the number he wore for 20 years with the Yomiuri Giants, Kuwata pitched two innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their game against the New York Yankees in New York. Kuwata pitched a perfect 5th inning. He had some trouble in the 6th inning, though. Kuwata first got Johnny Damon to fly out and Derek Jeter to line out to shortstop. Then Bobby Abreu took a 3-2 pitch for a walk. Alex Rodriguez took the first pitch he saw from Kuwata over the right field wall for a 2-run homer. Kuwata then walked former Yomiuri Giants teammate Hideki Matsui before getting Robinson Cano to pop up to end the inning.
Trent Jewett -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ manager Trent Jewett (photo ) has a blog on the Indianapolis Star site. In his first entry, he talks about Masumi Kuwata being on the team.
Don’t forget to vote our Indy Indians onto the International League All-Star Team! Vote at either of these two sites:
Go Tribe!

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Rating the Comedy Central

MVN’s president, Evan Brunell, sent me a link today to ESPN’s player ratings. I’m assuming he was trying—as a Red Sox fan—to point out the fact that Kevin Youkilis is considered to be the best first baseman in baseball. That’s fine, rub it in. I know the Pirates are bad. The more I clicked around, though, the more I got into the ratings. I’m a big fan of the Worldwide Leader’s split...

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Book Review: Roberto! by Bill Christine

This was one of the first books written about Roberto Clemente in the aftermath of his death. It was published in April of 1973. I picked up a badly tattered copy at a baseball card show in Pittsburgh earlier this year for $1.00. Tough to beat that. Christine covered the Pirates while working for Pittsburgh Press in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was the reporter that broke the story about Clemente being abducted at gunpoint by...

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Series Preview: Rangers/Pirates

The Pirates return home after a Bronx Beatdown at the hands of the New York Yankees. The Bucs proved to be just what the doctor ordered for New York, as the previously struggling Yankees pummeled the Pirates by a combined score of 27-13. Next on the agenda for the Pirates are the Texas Rangers and, believe it or not, one of these teams must actually win. The Rangers enter the series with the worst record in baseball (23-40, .365),...

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