Game #74 at Los Angeles

Angel Stadium | 9:05 | Snell vs. Kelvim Escobar | Box Four in a row. Ian Snell got destroyed; I didn’t watch much of the game, so I can’t tell if his blister might’ve led to a lack of control. He allowed 13 baserunners and 5 runs in 6 innings, by far his worst outing of the year. Tony Armas was sent in to mop things up. In his two innings, five more Angels crossed home plate. Ryan Doumit is 0 for his last 15....

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Indians Fall to Mud Hens in 11 Innings

boxscore (Photos by NancyZ)
Yurendell de Caster -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians battled back every step of the way tonight, tying and re-tying the score, but they couldn’t hang on in the bottom of the 11th, and the Toledo Mud Hens won in walk-off fashion, by a score of 6-5, at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. The win by the Mud Hens keeps them in second place in the International League West Division, but now they are only one game behind the Indians in the standings.
The Indians jumped off to a good start in the first inning against Toledo starter Jonathan Connolly. LF Matt Kata doubled into left field to open the inning. SS Brian Bixler, playing before friends and family just 30 miles from his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio, followed with a walk. 1B Yurendell de Caster’s (photo) RBI single brought in Kata with the game’s first run, and sent Bixler to second base. C Humberto Cota grounded into a double play, and 3B Jose Hernandez struck out to end the inning with Bixler left standing at third base.
Toledo came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie up the score, when SS Ramon Santiago led off with a home run to right field. Indians’ starter John Wasdin (photo below) gave up a single to 2B Kevin Hooper, but then got the next three batters out, two with strikeouts, to end the inning. Wasdin also struck out two of the three batters he faced in the second inning.
John Wasdin -- photo by NancyZ
The Mud Hens added more runs in the 4th inning. Wasdin got the first two batters out, then gave up a double to 3B Mike Hessman. DH Jack Hannahan lifted a blast over the right-center field walk, for a 2-run home run.
The Indians rallied again in the 6th inning. 2B Luis Ordaz led off with a double down the left field line. Matt Kata laid down a sacrifice bunt to the left side of the pitcher’s mound, which Connolly fielded cleanly, but threw wide of first base. Ordaz scored easily as the ball sailed into the bullpen, and Kata reached second base on the error. That chased Connolly from the game, and brought in Preston Larrison to pitch for the Mud Hens. Larrison was able to ignore Kata perched on second base, and quickly retired the next three batters to end the Tribe’s rally.

Russ Johnson -- photo by NancyZ
The top of the 7th inning brought another rally from the Indians. With one out, DH Russ Johnson (photo) smacked a single into right field. CF Luis Matos laid down a perfect bunt that hugged the edge of the infield grass and declined to go foul, as the Mud Hens’ 3B Hessman hoped it would. Matos was safe at first and Johnson moved to second base. RF Michael Ryan doubled into right field to score Johnson and tie the game. 2B Luis Ordaz flied out, and LF Matt Kata walked to load the bases. SS Brian Bixler grounded out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
The score didn’t stay tied for long. Hens’ DH Jack Hannahan started the bottom of the 7th by lifting another bomb over the right field wall for his second home run of the game.
Jesse Chavez -- photo by NancyZ
But then, the Hens didn’t stay ahead for long, either. The Tribe tied it up again in the top of the 8th. Yurendell de Caster greeted Hens’ reliever Jeremy Johnson by lining a single into right field. Humberto Cota lined out, and Jose Hernandez also singled to right field, moving de Caster to third base. Russ Johnson grounded a ball that bounced off 3B Mike Hessman’s glove and was fielded by SS Ramon Santiago who threw to second for the fielder’s choice. It did allow de Caster to score, though, to tie the score.
John Wasdin pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing a double by LF Timo Perez, but stranding him on base. Wasdin was finished after the 8th inning, having given up 4 runs on 8 hits, with no walks and 9 strikeouts. Reliever Jesse Chavez (photo) came in for the 9th inning. He allowed a hit by former Pirate farm-hand 1B Chris Shelton, then got Hessman to line out and Hannahan to fly out, before Chavez and Cota caught Shelton trying to steal second. That ended the inning, and sent the game into extra innings.
Luis Matos and Bam Bam Meulens  -- photo by NancyZ
The tenth inning was scoreless for both teams. In the top of the 11th, with one out, the Indians had three straight hits. CF Luis Matos (photo) and RF Michael Ryan hit back-to-back singles, and Luis Ordaz followed with an RBI double, scoring Matos from third base to give the Indians the lead for the first time in the game. Don Kelly, just placed on the Tribe roster today, went in to pinch-run for Ryan at third base. Matt Kata was intentionally walked, but then Brian Bixler and Yurendell de Caster both struck out to end the inning.
Don Kelly stayed in the game in the bottom of the inning, replacing Ryan in right field, and Franquelis Osoria came in to relieve Jesse Chavez. Chavez had pitched two scoreless innings, giving up 2 harmless hits. Osoria gave up back-to-back singles to LF Timo Perez and CF Ryan Raburn. Chris Shelton hit a sacrifice bunt, which moved the runners to second and third bases. Mike Hessman then slapped a single into left field, allowing Perez and Raburn to score the tying and go-ahead runs, for the walk-off win. Osoria was given the blown save and the loss. The win went to Hens’ reliever Aquilino Lopez, who pitched the last 1.1 innings for the Hens, giving up one run on 3 hits, with one walk and 3 strikeouts.
The Indians had a total of 12 hits in the game, and all the starters but one had at least one hit. Four Indians had two hits: Yurendell de Caster, Luis Matos, Michael Ryan, and Luis Ordaz.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Luis Ordaz’s RBI double in the top of the 11th, which knocked in the go-ahead run for the Indians.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: The Luises’ double play in the bottom of the 8th, which ended a Mud Hens’ rally. Timo Perez had doubled and was off and running when Ryan Raburn lined into center field, clearly expecting to score the go-ahead run. But Luis Matos made a running catch of the line drive, and then threw to Luis Ordaz at second base to double up Perez for the third out.
Brad Eldred -- photo by NancyZ
Roster moves:
The Pirates recalled Brad Eldred (photo) after last night’s game. He has played in 23 games with the Indians, dividing his time between first base, right field, and designated hitter duties. Eldred has a .205 average with one double, 6 homers, 14 RBI’s, 5 walks, and 31 strikeouts.
INF Don Kelly, who accepted assignment to the Indians, joined the team today, and entered tonight’s game as a pinch runner.
RHP Dan Kolb was designated for assignment by the Pirates yesterday. They now have 10 days to trade or release him, or see if another team will take him on waivers. If he is not claimed on waivers, then Kolb can either become a free agent or accept assignment to come back to Indianapolis. Kolb has been with the Pirates for 12 days since being recalled from Indianapolis, and he has not pitched well in three appearances.
The Pirates have signed C/1B Josh Phelps off waivers from the NY Yankees. He is expected to be added to the Pirates roster by tomorrow, and join the Pirates in Anaheim. That will mean that someone else has to come off the roster — Brad Eldred again? another reliever? Expect more roster moves probably tomorrow. It would seem cruel to call Eldred up just to send him back down a day later.

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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
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.
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:
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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