Game #19 vs. Houston

PNC Park | 7:05 | Duke vs. Matt Albers | Box Pirates win, 4-3, in 16 innings Duke showed up, and Bautista contributed from the third spot in the order.  LaRoche pitched in with the game-winning RBI, and Jim Tracy managed to use everyone in his bullpen.  Salomon blew another save, so you’ll start to hear grumblings about Matt Capps in the ninth (whether that’s warranted or not). Still, a win’s a win. Two for two. ...

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Bullington Wins His Third

Bryan Bullington won his third game  -- photo by NancyZ
Indianapolis native Bryan Bullington won his third game of the season, to move his record to 3 – 0, as the Indianapolis Indians beat the Norfolk Tides by a score of 8 – 3 at Victory Field.� Bullington pitched 6 innings and held the Tides to 2 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts.
(Bryan Bullington on the mound — photo by NancyZ )
Bullington had only one three-up-three-down inning.� The Tides’ pushed one run across in the top of the 2nd, when the Tides’ 3B Mike Cervenak doubled down the left field line, moved to third on a single by former Indianapolis Indian Cesar Crespo, and scored on C Eli Whiteside’s sacrifice fly.� Bullington also gave up a solo homer over the left field scoreboard to Cervenak in the 6th inning.� In the 4th, Bullington worked out of a jam.� He hit RF Jason Dubois on the back, right between the digits on his jersey, and then gave up a single to Mike Cervenak.� A long fly ball moved the runners to second and third.� But Bullington was unfazed.� He got SS Brandon Fahey to dribble a ball near the first base line, which Bullington handled himself.� He then got Whiteside to ground to short to end the threat.�
Juan Perez, just sent to Indianapolis from the Pittsburgh Pirates, came in to relieve Bullington.� After pitching a scoreless 7th, Perez gave up a solo home run to Jason Dubois — a shot that went all the way to the�sidewalk behind the grass berm above left-center field.� Franquelis Osoria finished the 8th for Perez, and took care of the 9th, inducing J.R. House to ground into a double play for a dramatic finish to the game.
J.R. House -- photo by NancyZ
( Former Pirates’ prospect J.R. House at bat, with Ryan Doumit catching — photo by NancyZ )
The Tides had 10 hits, but left 10 runners stranded on base.� 3B Mike Cervenak led the Tides with�3 hits: a single, a double, and a home run.� Former Pittsburgh Pirate catching prospect (now playing first base also ) J.R. House went 2 for 4 with a double.� Former Indianapolis Indian and 2005 MVP Cesar�Crespo went 2 for 3 with a stolen base.� He was also caught stealing once, by his former teammate Ryan Doumit.
Meanwhile, the Indians were busy on the bases, putting up 15 hits.� They too had only one three-up-three-down inning.� The Tribe jumped off to a good start in the bottom�of the 1st, when DH Nyjer Morgan led off with a single to right center, and CF Rajai Davis followed with another single to almost the same place.� C Ryan Doumit plated Morgan with a sacrifice fly.� 1B Yurendell de Caster followed with an RBI single to right to score Davis.

Juan Perez pitching for Indy -- photo by NancyZ(Juan Pierre on the mound for Indianapolis — photo by NancyZ )
The Tribe struck again in the second inning.� SS Brian Bixler started things off by getting hit by a pitch (his third hbp of the season, leading the team ).� 2B Luis Ordaz doubled to the deep left centerfield wall, and Nyjer Morgan walked to load the bases.� Rajai Davis went down swinging for the first out. Ryan Doumit grounded to short, and it looked like a double play ball that would end the inning.� But Tides’ SS Brandon Fahey’s throw to second base went wide and into right field.� That gave Doumit a fielder’s choice and RBI as Bixler scored, and the throwing error gave Ordaz the chance to score and moved Doumit to second.� After a walk to Yurendell de Caster, Tides’ starter Victor Moreno was done for the evening.� Andy Mitchell, a right-handed submariner came in for Moreno.� He gave up a fielder’s choice to 3B Jose Hernandez to score Morgan before RF Chris Aguila flied out to end the inning.�
Mitchell held the Indians for the next three scoreless innings, and then he was relieved by Francis Beltran.� Nyjer Morgan greeted Beltran with a single to left, his third hit of the night.� Morgan stole second and scored on Ryan Doumit’s single for his third RBI of the game.� Yurendell de Caster also singled, and Jose Hernandez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.� Chris Aguila’s hit to center scored both Doumit and de Caster.� As Hernandez reached third, the throw from Norfolk’s RF Jason Dubois came into the infield, catching Aguila too far off first base.� Aguila tried to stall in a run-down long enough for Hernandez to score.� But the Tides’ infielders were alert, and when Hernandez had committed himself to running to home, they abandoned Aguila and 2B Eider Torres fired to home, where C Eli Whiteside tagged out Hernandez at the plate.�
Indians’ hitting gem(s ) of the game:� There wasn’t just one that stood out, but�several batters had excellent nights. The�Indians’ hit parade was led by Nyjer Morgan, who reached base on all 4 of his plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with a walk.� Ryan Doumit had one hit in three at-bats, but he had 3 RBI, knocking in runs on a sacrifice fly and a fielders’ choice.� Yurendell de Caster and Luis Ordaz each went 3 for 4 with a double, and Chris Aguila went 2 for 4.�
Indians’�defensive gem of the game:� In the top of the 7th, Eider Torres hit a fly to short center field that looked like it was going to drop in for�a hit.� CF Rajai Davis didn’t give up, though.� He just kept running and running, and made a spectacular dive at the last second to make the catch.
Brian Bixler tags out Cesar Crespo
(Tribe 2005 MVP Cesar Crespo beat SS Brian Bixler’s tag�in this stolen base attempt, but on a later attempt, he was thrown out by C�Ryan Doumit� — photo by NancyZ )
Pirates’ Senior Director of Player Development Brian Graham, and Pirates’ Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator Gary Redus were at Victory Field tonight.� Gary Redus was the Indianapolis Indians’ MVP in 1982.�
Juan Perez joined the Indians from the Pirates, when the Pirates had to remove one player from their roster because of John Grabow’s return from rehab.� Perez had appeared in 8 games for the Pirates this season, for a total of 3.1 innings.� He had not allowed any runs, and gave up 4 hits, 5 walks, and one strikeout.
Ryan Doumit leads the International League with the highest batting average, .420, and highest RBI total, 18.� He is second in the league in OBP, with .500 (Gary Burnham of Ottawa is first ), and second in the league in SLG with .680 (Shelly Duncan of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is first ).
Nyjer Morgan leads the International League with the most stolen bases, 11.� Jerry Owens of Charlotte is second with 9, and Rajai Davis is third with 7.
Go Tribe!

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Jose Bautista: Another Pleasant Pirate Surprise

Just for fun, I figured I’d plug the current starting nine’s stats into David Pinto’s Lineup Analysis tool. If you’re not familiar with Pinto’s work at Baseball Musings, you should check it out. Lineup Analysis is designed around on-base and slugging percentages. You enter OBP and SLG, and you get out the batting order that should score the maximum amount of runs per game—that is, if baseball were...

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Burnett Takes the Loss as Indians Fall

Old Time Baseball player throws out the first pitch -- photo by NancyZ
Starting pitcher Sean Burnett picked up his first loss of the season as the Indianapolis Indians fell to the Richmond Braves by a score of 6 – 2.� The Braves put up 13 hits, but also left 13 runners stranded on base.� The Indians managed 10 hits, and left 7 baserunners stranded.� Both teams made two errors.� The Braves�won three games in the four game series. �Burnett’s record is now 3 – 1, and his ERA rose to 4.35, as he gave up 3 earned runs in 4.1 innings.
(Old Time ball players held a game at Victory Field prior to the Indians’ game tonight.� One of the players threw out the first pitch of the Indians’ game. — photo by NancyZ )
Indians’ batters found ways to get on base in seven of their nine innings– all except the 7th and the 8th.� The Braves had a last-minute change in their starting pitcher.� Macay McBride, who is making the change from reliever to starter, was put in to start the game, with the constraint that he was going to be on a strict 50 pitch limit.� He started off by giving up hits to Tribe CF Nyjer Morgan and 1B Yurendell de Caster in the first inning, but got out of that inning with a neatly turned double play.�
Sean Burnett gets a hit -- photo by NancyZ
The Tribe scored their first run in the second inning.� 3B Russ Johnson led off with a single to right field.� RF Luis Matos bounced the first pitch he saw back to the pitcher, and Macay McBride had plenty of time to turn and throw Johnson out at second — but his throw went wide, and both Johnson and Matos were safe.� They both advanced to the next base on a slow grounder to short by C Carlos Maldonado.� Tribe pitcher Sean Burnett then stroked a solid hit into left field, scoring Johnson.� It was the second night in a row that an Indians’ pitcher made an RBI hit.� De Caster and Johnson both had two hits in the game.�
(Pitcher Sean Burnett gets an RBI single — photo by NancyZ )
McBride had thrown 48 pitches when the third inning ended, and previously-scheduled starter Trey Hodges came in “in relief”.� He held Tribe hitters to one lonely hit in each of the next three innings, by Maldonado, Johnson, and LF Rajai Davis.� Reliever Phil Stockman pitched perfect 7th and 8th innings for the Braves.�

Sean Burnett takes a lead off first base -- photo by NancyZ
(Pitcher Sean Burnett just got his hit, and now he takes a lead off first base.� — photo by NancyZ )
The Tribe scored again in the 9th inning, with reliever Will Startup, the one with�the high straight leg kick, �pitching for Richmond.� With one out, pinch hitter Chris Aguila singled to left field, and SS Brian Bixler followed with a liner to the left field scoreboard, which scored Aguila.� That was all the Indians could manage, though.
The Braves’ hitters were led by 1B Carlos Mendez, who went 3 for 4.� LF Doug Clark and CF Bill McCarthy each went 2 for 5 with a double and one RBI.� McCarthy’s solo home run into the ground covering in front of the pine trees in center field was the game winnig�run.� C Corky Miller and 3B Wes Timmons each went 2 for 3.� The Braves scored two runs on three hits and a walk in the third inning off Sean Burnett.� Burnett also gave up McCarthy’s homer.�
Jesse Chavez finished the 5th inning for Burnett and then pitched a scoreless 6th inning.� He got into trouble in the 7th, however.� Bill McCarthy hit a double off the top of the right field wall, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Carlos Mendez’s third hit of the night.� Corky Miller hit Chavez’s next pitch into right field, and Mendez advanced to third.� Chavez then walked Wes Timmons to load the bases, and that was the end of his night.� Kevin Gryboski entered the game and found himself with an unenviable situation:� the bases loaded and no outs.
Kevin Gryboski works out of a jam -- photo by NancyZ
Gryboski was not daunted.� He fixed the problem with just�four pitches.� Yes, four.� He got pinch hitter Yunell Escobar, who came in with a .352 AVG to foul off the first two pitches and then watch strike three sail past him for the first out.� Then 2B Willie Harris, who entered the game with a .405 AVG grounded the first pitch he saw to short, where Brian Bixler scooped it up and started the 6-4-3 double play.�
(Kevin Gryboski pitched his way out of a big jam. — photo by NancyZ )
Gryboski did not have as easy a time in the 8th inning, though.� Richmond’s Martin Prado started the inning with a grounder that bounced out of the glove of Tribe 3B Russ Johnson.� He moved to second on a wild pitch.� �Doug Clark hit a come-backer that ricocheted off Gryboski’s leg and over toward third base, where no one could get to it in time, putting runners on the corners.� T.J. Bohn hit a slow grounder to short,�giving�SS Brian Bixler no time to get�Clark at second, and then his throw to first went wide, for the second error of the inning.� That plated Prado.� A sacrifice fly by Carlos Mendez scored Clark.� When Corky Miller lined the next pitch into left field, it looked like more trouble.� But Rajai Davis fired the ball home, when C Carlos Maldonado caught the perfect throw, and camped out on the baseline in front of the plate to wait for the approaching Bohn.� Maldonado easily put the tag on Bohn to end the inning.�
Dan Kolb came in to pitch the 9th for the Tribe.� He gave up a lead-off walk to Wes Timmons, which was quickly erased when Yunel Escobar, who had remained in the game to play shortstop, grounded into a double play.� A harmless grounder to second by pinch hitter Gregor Blanco ended the inning.�
Indians’ hitting gem of the game:� Last night I said that it wouldn’t be often that this would be by a pitcher — and tonight it was again!� Sean Burnett hit an RBI single to left in the bottom of the 2nd for the Tribe’s first run.� Honorable mention:� Chris Aguila’s 9th inning pinch hit single, followed by Brian Bixler’s RBI double.� Bixler’s double was the only extra-base hit by the Indians in the game.� Aguila came into the game with a .194 AVG ( now .216 ) but he has made his hits count.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game:� In the top of the first, with runners on the corners and two out, Bill McCarthy blasted a fly ball deep to right field.� Luis Matos gave chase, and with a leap and a diving catch�and a roll, came up with the ball to end the inning and prevent two runs from scoring.� He got a loud and long round of applause for his gymnastics.� It also made all the other fly balls to right field for the rest of the game look like a piece of cake.� Honorable mention:� Kevin Gryboski coming in with the bases loaded and no out in the 7th inning, and getting a strikeout and a double play, Bixler – to – Hernandez – to – de Caster.�
Ryan Doumit was named International League hitter of the week for April 16 – 22.� In that week’s time, he hit .423 AVG with 2 home runs and 11 RBI.�
John Grabow finished his rehab time with the Indians and has returned to the Pirates.�
Go Tribe!

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Geek Shoots Straight: Pirates Come Home for Nine Must-Win Games

I’ve been waiting to blog this one for a week or so now, but Brian O’Neill beat me to it. The Post-Gazette’s Stats Geek writes in today’s edition that “The next 9 will reveal real Pirates.” A little forward for sure—the Geek’s not going to sugarcoat it for you—but it’s something I’ve been saying since last Sunday. Heading into the road trip from hell: Three or four wins...

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Game #18 vs. Houston

PNC Park | 7:05 | Maholm vs. Woody Williams | Box Pirates 3, Astros 0 Paul Maholm, Jason Bay, Ronny Paulino, Jack Wilson. The Bucs got their first home win, and they continued their 2007 dominance of the Astros. Thank you. It was a quick one, too (finished by nine o’clock), as Maholm tossed a complete-game shutout. He allowed only four baserunners and threw just 99 pitches. That’s the Maholm I thought we’d see after...

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