Tribe Starts Off the Road Trip With a Win

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Bryan Bullington got his sixth win -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians started off their longest road trip of the season with a 8 – 5 win over the Syracuse Chiefs in Syracuse, NY. In a pitching rematch from last week, Indians’ starter Bryan Bullington (photo by NancyZ) earned his 6th win of the season, for a 6-1 record and a 2.40 ERA. Brian Rogers got his second save of the season. Chiefs’ starter Ty Taubenheim, who took the win in last week’s matchup, got the loss today, to make his record 2-3, with a 5.59 ERA.
The Chiefs struck first, scoring one run in each of the second and third innings off Bryan Bullington. In the second, Chiefs’ LF John-Ford Griffin walked and stole second, and then moved to third on a ground out. C Curtis Thigpen lined a double to right field to score Griffin. In the third, the Chiefs started off with a similar game plan: RF Jeff Duncan singled to center, then stole second, and moved to third on a ground out. This time, the run was batted in with a sacrifice fly by 1B Kevin Barker.
Luis Ordaz at bat -- Photo by NancyZ
(Photo: Luis Ordaz went 2 for 4 in the game — photo by NancyZ )
The Indians started their scoring in the 3rd inning, and scored in 4 straight innings. 2B Luis Ordaz started things off with a line drive single to center. 3B Chris Truby, playing in his first game since being reactivated from the DL, got his first hit of the season in his first at-bat of the season, a single to center. Ordaz came all the way around to score, and Truby ended up on third base when Chiefs’ CF Wayne Lydon made a fielding error. SS Brian Bixler was hit by a pitch, and stole second, but both Truby and Bixler were stranded on base.
The Tribe collected three more runs in the 4th inning. C Humberto Cota walked and moved to second on a ground out. LF Chris Aguila doubled on a liner to right, scoring Cota. Luis Matos then hit his first homer of 2007, a 2-run bomb over the left center field wall, bringing Aguila in also.

Luis Matos -- photo by NancyZ
(Photo: Luis Matos hit his first home run of the year — photo by NancyZ )
Brian Bixler had the run in the 5th inning. He walked, went to second on 1B Yurendell de Caster’s single, and went to third on a wild pitch by Chiefs’ starter Ty Taubenheim. A line drive single by Humberto Cota scored Bixler. De Caster was left stranded and Cota was out on a double play that ended the inning.
Jordan De Jong entered the game in the 6th inning in relief of Taubenheim. The Indians didn’t seem to mind the change in pitchers, though. Chris Aguila started the inning with a single to right. Luis Matos grounded into a fielder’s choice, so that Aguila was out at second, and Matos replaced him at first base. Back-to-back doubles by Luis Ordaz and Chris Truby brought in Matos and Ordaz, but Truby was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple. With the bases now cleared, Rajai Davis beat out a grounder for an infield hit. Davis stole second base, his 21st steal of the season, and then scored when Brian Bixler singled. That was enough for De Jong, and he headed for the showers, to be replaced by reliever Ryan Houston. Houston finished the inning by getting de Caster to ground out.
Chris Truby had three hits  -- photo by NancyZ
(Photo — Chris Truby, in his first game of the season, went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI — photo by NancyZ )
Syracuse tried to make a comeback in the bottom of the 6th inning. With two out, Bryan Bullington gave up singles to DH Chad Mottola and 2B Howie Clark, followed by a double to 3B John Hattig which scored Mottola and Clark. Matt Peterson, who joined the Indians from Altoona today, entered the game for the Tribe in the 7th inning. He pitched a scoreless 7th, and allowed only one run on one hit in the 8th. Chief’s John-Ford Griffin walked, reached second on Mottola’s hit, and reached third on Clark’s walk. A sacrifice fly by John Hattig scored Griffin.
Reliever Brian Rogers pitched the ninth inning for the Tribe. He gave up a walk and a single, but then struck out the next two batters. A liner by Chad Mottola came right back at Rogers and hit him, but he had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and throw it to first to end the game.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Chris Truby’s 2-RBI double to put the game out of reach. Truby went 3 for 4 in the game. After the game, Truby had this to say about his first AAA game of the season: “I came into this game not expecting too much, because I haven’t played this season. I was relaxed tonight, and went out there to have some fun. You can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a game. I don’t know how often my number will be called, but I’m always ready to put forth my best effort and help this team win some games.”
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Bottom of the first, a beautiful double play not done in the usual manner. Kevin Barker grounded to first base, where Yurendell de Caster scooped it up and fired to Brian Bixler covering second base. Bixler in turn fired back to first base, where Bryan Bullington had darted over to cover: 3 to 6 to 1.
This will be a three-city, 13-game road trip for the Indians, with 4 games each in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The trip also includes one off-day, on May 23rd.
NOTES:
Roster Moves:
OF Nyjer Morgan was put on the DL with a dislocated thumb that occurred in Sunday’s game. He had surgery on the thumb in Pittsburgh today. More idea of how long he’ll be out after the surgery.
INF Jose Hernandez was put on the DL today with his hamstring injury. He has been working on it, and he’s doing better.
INF Nick Green joined the Indians from extended spring training in Florida. He played in two organizations last season — New York Yankees/Columbus Clippers, and Tampa Bay/Durham Bulls.
RHP Matt Peterson was promoted to Indianapolis from Altoona. He had appeared in 12 games for the Curve and had a win and a save, with a 0.98 ERA.
Some stats from yesterday’s game…. The Indians set new season record for:
Most runs in a game — 15 (it had been 11, on April 20, against Richmond)
Most hits in a game — 20 (it had been 16, on April 18, against Norfolk)
Most home runs in a game — 3 (several times it had been only one)
Most RBI in a game — 13 (it had been 10, on April 20, against Richmond)
Go Tribe!

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Indians and Lynx Hold a Hit-O-Rama

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Sean Burnett -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians and the Ottawa Lynx held a Hit-O-Rama at Victory Field on Monday. Between them,the two teams produced 25 runs on 35 hits, 23 RBI, 3 home runs, and 4 doubles. Each of the Indians’ starters, including pitcher Sean Burnett (Photo: Sean Burnett — photo by NancyZ) had at least one hit. The lead exchanged hands several times and the score was tied at 1, at 6, and at 8, and each team scored runs in its last at-bat. In the end, the Indians came out on top, by a score of 15 – 10.
Top of the 1st
The game got off to a worrisome start when Lynx lead-off hitter CF Chris Roberson took Indianapolis starter Sean Burnett’s third pitch over the left field wall for a home run. The next batter, 2B Joey Hammond, just arrived from AA Reading, ground a ball towards third base, which bounced off Tribe 3B Russ Johnson’s glove and into left field for a hit. Former Indian LF Lou Collier followed with a fly ball to right field, near the foul line. Indians’ RF Mike Ryan charged for it, looking up and into the sun, but overran it, and the ball fell in for a hit. Sean Burnett kept his composure despite the miscues and got 3B Brennan King, who had been hitting .348 against the Indians, to pop up behind first base for the first out of the inning. Then C Jason Jaramillo ground into a double play, forcing out Collier, to get out of the inning. [Lynx 1, Indians 0]
Former Indian Matt Childers started for Ottawa -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom of the 1st
The Indians quickly tied things up against former Indianapolis Indian Matt Childers, starting for Ottawa. (Photo by NancyZ) With one out, SS Brian Bixler singled to left, and 1B Yurendell de Caster singled to right. LF Chris Aguila’s slice into left field for another single scored Bixler. [Lynx 1, Indians 1]
Top of the 2nd
The Lynx got to Burnett again in the second inning. With one out, 1B Dusty Wathan singled. He was erased when SS Carlos Leon ground into a force out — an around-the-horn double play that didn’t happen because Leon beat the throw to first base. Matt Childers hit a grounder that popped out of Tribe SS Brian Bixler’s glove for an error, leaving both baserunners safe on base. Burnett walked Chris Roberson on 4 pitches, loading the bases. Joey Hammond got his second AAA hit and his first AAA RBI when he smashed a grounder deep behind 2nd base. Bixler was able to get to the ball to stop it from going into the outfield, but had no chance to make the play. Lou Collier took the first pitch he saw to center field wall for a 2-RBI single, scoring Childers and Roberson. [Lynx 4, Indians 1]

Brian Bixler had 4 hits -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom of the 2nd
Not to be outdone, the Tribe came right back with 5 straight hits. With one out, C Einar Diaz singled to right, and then stole second base. He moved to third when Sean Burnett blooped a single into left-center. CF Rajai Davis lined another single to right-center to score Diaz. Brian Bixler’s single up the middle scored Burnett, and 1B Yurendell de Caster’s double scored both Davis and Bixler. [Lynx 4, Indians 5]
Top of the Third
The hits kept coming. Lynx C Jason Jaramillo led of with a walk, and former Indian RF Jim Rushford singled, moving Jaramillo to third. Dusty Wathan popped one up to short right field, behind first base, which Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz reached but couldn’t hold onto. Wathan reached second and Jaramillo scored. Carlos Leon grounded to short and was safe on a fielders’ choice, as Rushford scored. PH Danny Sandoval’s bunt attempt popped up and Sean Burnett was able to get under it for one out, then turned and fired to second to double off Wathan for the second out. Burnett then picked Leon off base and caught him in a run-down for the third out. [Lynx 6, Indians 5]
Mike Ryan at the plate  -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom of the Third
Rick Bauer entered the game in relief of Lynx starter Matt Childers. Indians’ RF Mike Ryan greeted Bauer by smashing his 3-2 pitch into the ground cover behind the center field wall, for his first home run of the season. [Lynx 6, Indians 6 ]
Top of the 4th
With two out, it looked like Sean Burnett might get out of an inning without allowing a run to score, but it also appeared that Burnett was tiring. He gave up back-to-back walks to Lou Collier and 3B Brennan King. Jason Jaramillo followed with a 2-RBI single down the right field line. Burnett got Jim Rushford to fly out to left field on the first pitch he saw, and Burnett was done for the day. [Lynx 8, Indians 6]
Jesse Chavez pitched 3 scoreless innings  -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom of the 4th through Top of the 7th
Lynx reliever Rick Bauer gave up a double to Bixler and walked de Caster, but then settled down to retire the side. He was relieved by Matt Smith, who pitched a perfect bottom of the 5th, and only gave up another hit to Bixler in the 6th. Meanwhile, Tribe reliever Jesse Chavez took over for Burnett. He scattered 3 hits over 3 innings, but never allowed an Ottawa baserunner past second base. [still Lynx 8, Indians 6]
Bottom of the 7th
Joe Bisenius entered the game in relief for Ottawa. With one out, Bisenius gave up back-to-back home runs: the first to Chris Aguila, taking the first pitch he saw to left-center field; and the second to Mike Ryan, to right field in front of the scoreboard for his second of the game to tie the score. [Lynx 8, Indians 8]
Chris Aguila  -- photo by NancyZ
Luis Ordaz then singled to right and advanced to second on PH Humberto Cota’s walk. Rajai Davis doubled off the left field wall, scoring Ordaz and Cota. When Davis stole third for his 20th stolen base of the season, Jason Jaramillo’s throw went wide of third and ended up in left field. Davis easily scored on the throwing error. [Lynx 8, Indians 11]
Top of the 8th
This time, the Indians were not about to have the Lynx return the favor by scoring more runs. Josh Sharpless came in for Chavez, and he pitched a perfect 8th inning. [still Lynx 8, Indians 11]
Mike Ryan is congratulated after his homer -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom of the 8th
Lynx closer Brian Sanches started off by allowing 5 Indians to reach first base. Yurendell de Caster and 3B Russ Johnson both singled. Chris Aguila grounded to short, forcing Johnson out at second, but Aguila got to first in time to make it only a fielder’s choice and not a double play. De Caster scored on the play. Mike Ryan got his third hit of the game, a single, moving Aguila to second. Then Luis Ordaz singled up the middle, scoring Aguila. Ryan scored when Lynx CF Chris Roberson had trouble coming up with Ordaz’s ball, and Ordaz moved to third on the error. That meant that Ordaz was able to score when Einar Diaz grounded out to short. [Lynx 8, Indians 15]
Top of the 9th
The Lynx had one last chance, and they took advantage of it. With one out, Jason Jaramillo lined a single that tipped off 1B de Caster’s glove as it sailed into right field. (De Caster really didn’t have a chance to catch it, without suddenly growing about 5 inches taller. ) Jim Rushford flew out on a ball that went into the right field corner, and then Dusty Wathan ground one up the middle just out of reach of the diving SS Brian Bixler. Carlos Leon walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Gary Burnham hit a 2-RBI single to right, scoring Jaramillo and Wathan. Finally, Sharpless struck out Chris Roberson on three straight strikes to end the game. [Lynx 10, Indians 15]
Brian Bixler led the Indians with 4 hits, including one double, and one RBI, in 5 at-bats. Yurendell de Caster, Mike Ryan, and Luis Ordaz each had 3 hits. Rajai Davis and Chris Aguila each had 2 hits and 3 RBI. Einar Diaz, de Caster, and Davis each had stolen bases, and none of the Indians were caught stealing or picked off base. Sean Burnett gave up 9 hits and 8 runs (5 were earned) in 4 innings, and had a no-decision for his efforts. Jesse Chavez took the win, his second of the season, and Josh Sharpless got his second save.
Lynx starter Matt Childers also took a no-decision, going only 2 innings and giving up 8 hits and 5 runs, all earned. Joe Bisenius got the blown save and the loss, his first.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Mike Ryan’s two home runs, one to straight center and one to right. “It’s nice to break out of a slump with two home runs,” laughed Ryan after the game, as he was treated to a shaving cream pie in the face, courtesy of some teammates. “It’s also nice when you have a chance to help your team win. We are on a roll right now, and hopefully we can carry this momentum over to the upcoming 12-game road trip…. I had a dream last night about doing this ‘Star of the Game’ interview. I don’t remember hitting two home runs (in the dream), but when I got to the ballpark this morning, I knew this was going to be a big game for me.”
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Jesse Chavez’s 3 scoreless innings, giving up only 3 hits, to get the Lynx bats settled down.
And what was notable about that photo?
The Indians have now completed the regular season series against the Lynx, having played 4 games in Ottawa and 4 games here in Indy. Unless the Lynx and the Tribe meet in the International League Governor’s Cup playoffs, this will be the last time that a team from Canada plays against the Indians at Victory Field, and so the last time the Canadian flag flies over Victory Field, in the foreseeable future.
NOTES:
Nyjer Morgan did not play today, after being injured yesterday, presumably when he slid into third base.
John Van Benschoten was named IL Pitcher of the Week for last week. He made two starts, for two wins, giving up only one earned run in 14 innings — that’s a 0.64 ERA. His overall record is 3 – 2 with a 1.82 ERA in 39.2 innings. From IndyIndians.com:

“John looks very comfortable and confident on the mound,” Indians’ Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews says. “John is throwing strikes, and he’s making the opposition put the ball in play. I’ve known John for five years, and this is the best his mechanics have ever looked. He’s always had nice starts here and there, but it’s nice to see him string together four really good outings.
“John’s comeback (from shoulder surgeries) shows a true passion and love for the game,” Andrews adds. “John has spent countless hours in the training room during various stages of his rehab. Not everyone could do what John has done. He’s shown a lot of courage, desire, and character along the way.”

A quote from radio broadcaster Scott McCauley during the game: “Jason Jaramillo should be ashamed of himself, letting Einar Diaz get a stolen base.” He speculated on how long is has been since Diaz last stole a base. Well, in fact, Diaz’s last stolen base came on Sept 4, 2004, when he was playing with the Montreal Expos in a game against the Atlanta Braves. Diaz went 2 for 3 with a stolen base in that game.
Go Tribe!

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Dawn of the Littlefield Era in Pittsburgh

This is the fourth part of a series of posts entitled, “Your Fearless Leader – David Littlefield.” Parts 1, 2 and 3 are also available. It seems as if I should be in an optimistic mood, as the Bucs are, after all, coming off the two best games of the year so far. But at the same time, this series must trudge onward. Lots of Littlefield history to get through. I’ll start today with a spot of analysis. This is where,...

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Game #38 vs. Marlins

PNC Park | 7:05 | Maholm vs. Sergio Mitre | Box Not too much to brag about on this one. The Marlins first three hitters compiled 8 hits and 8 runs. The Marlins stroked four taters. The Pirates managed just seven singles, one double and no walks against Sergio Mitre who went 7-2/3 innings. Anybody who wants Ian Snell or Tom Gorzelanny to start every game, raise your hand. Recaps AP recap at Yahoo! Sports Pre-game thoughts Cubs cast-off...

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Pull Armas from the Rotation

Both the Post-Gazette and the Trib-Review have pieces on the continuing struggles of starter Tony Armas Jr. According to Jim Tracy, Armas might not make his next scheduled start. As it stands now, the Pirates are not built for a run at the playoffs. Not this year. So, wasting another start on Armas makes little sense because his experience, however valuable it might or might not be, means nothing. Armas has made 157 career starts....

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Tribe Comes From Behind for Win

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Michael Tejera got the win for the Tribe  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians used the Pink Bat Offense and strong pitching performances by starter Michael Tejera and the bullpen to come from behind and beat the Ottawa Lynx 5 – 3 at Victory Field this afternoon.
Left-hander Michael Tejera pitched 5.2 innings, though he did not figure into the decision. His only serious problem came in the first inning. Lynx CF Carlos Leon led off with a double down the right field line. 2B Joe Thurston grounded to first, and then former Indian LF Lou Collier singled to left field, moving Leon to third. Then 3B Brennan King, who entered the game with a .310 AVG, blasted a 1-0 pitch deep over the left field wall, for a 3-run homer. It was only the fourth home run hit by the Lynx this season, and King owns half of them.
After giving up that homer, Tejera settled down and pitched very well, scattering only 2 more hits and 2 walks over the rest of the first inning, and the next 4.2 innings. Leon and Collier each had two hits, including a double apiece.
Kevin Gryboski pitched a perfect 1.1 innings  -- photo by NancyZ
Kevin Gryboski (photo by NancyZ) finished off the 6th inning for Tejera, getting C Dusty Wathan to ground out to Indians’ 2B Luis Ordaz. Gryboski put Ordaz to work in the 7th inning also, as he retired two more batters with ground outs to second, and struck out Leon looking to finish the job. Gryboski took the win, his second of the year. Chris Hernandez pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings, in his third appearance with the Indians, to get the save, and preserve his non-existent ERA.
Ottawa’s starter J.A. Happ started his afternoon by keeping the Indians under his control. Tribe CF Nyjer Morgan led off the bottom of the 9th with a bunt that dribbled along the first base line, about 3/4 of the way to first base. Lynx 1B Dusty Wathan scrambled to pick up the ball and turn to tag Morgan as he ran past. But Morgan somehow eluded the tag, while still staying in the baseline, and was safe at first. He stole second easily, for his league-leading 22nd stole base of the season.
Nyjer Morgan is out trying to steal third -- photo by NancyZ
Not content on second base, Morgan set out for third — but this time was gunned down by the throw from C Jason Jaramillo. (Photo by NancyZ) Morgan got up and walked off the field seemingly without any problems, and he played the 2nd and 3rd innings in the outfield, though no plays came to him. However, in the bottom of the 3rd inning when his spot in the lineup came up, Chris Aguila came in to pinch hit for Morgan, and then replaced him in the field in the top of the 4th. No further word, at least not that the radio guys were reporting, about why he was removed or what had happened.

Bixler scores as the throw bounces -- photo by NancyZ
Happ gave up only one hit and two walks over the next three innings. In the bottom of the 5th inning, he started off by walking C Humberto Cota and SS Brian Bixler. RF Luis Matos followed with a double down the left field line, scoring Cota, and moving Bixler to third. A sacrifice fly by Micheal Tejera sent Bixler racing for home. Lynx LF Lou Collier’s throw bounced off, and the sliding Bixler scored (Photo by NancyZ ), while Matos advanced to third. With LF Chris Aguila batting, Happ committed a balk, allowing Matos to score.
The bottom of the 6th started poorly for Happ. After a hit to CF Rajai Davis, using a pink bat, and a walk to 1B Yurendell de Caster with none out, Happ was sent to the showers. Former Indy Indian Kane Davis entered in relief. He faced the pink bat of 3B Russ Johnson, who put down a sacrifice bunt, advancing the runners one base each. C Humberto Cota grounded a single right up the middle, to score both Rajai Davis and de Caster for the go-ahead and insurance run. Kane Davis retired Bixler and Matos to end the inning, and then went on to strike out the side in the 7th inning. Reliever Jason Anderson pitched a scoreless 9th inning, though he gave up two more hits to pink bats — one each to Rajai Davis and Johnson.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Humberto Cota’s 2 RBI single up the middle in the 6th inning, to break the tie.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the top of the 9th, former Indian Jim Rushford led off with a short fly to center field. Rajai Davis, who had moved from left field to center field when Chris Aguila entered the game, came running straight in at top speed and at the last second made an outstretched diving catch for the first out. The ever-modest Davis said in the after-game interview, “I have been working on my reads a lot this season, and it paid off with that catch in the ninth inning. I got a good jump on the ball and it happened to land in my glove.”
NOTES:
Former Indianapolis Indian and fan favorite Chris Coste was called up from the Lynx to the Philadelphia Phillies last night.
Rajai Davis used  a pink bat -- photo by NancyZ
The three Indians, Rajai Davis, Yurendell de Caster, and Russ Johnson, who used pink bats today, did so in honor of Mother’s Day and Breast Cancer Awareness. De Caster used his only once, and after striking out with it, he used his regular bat for the rest of the game. Davis and Johnson each got two hits with the pink bats. (Davis, Johnson, and de Caster — Photos by NancyZ ) In the after-game interview, Davis said, “The pink bats arrived about a week ago, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to swing one. I decided to go for it after taking a few rounds in the batting cage before today’s game. Unfortunately, I have to put it away now. I’m not going to continue using it, but I’m glad it helped me get a couple of hits today.”
Yurendell de Caster uses the pink bat -- photo by NancyZ
Russ Johnson uses the pink bat -- photo by NancyZ
Go Tribe!

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