Ejections Abound In Indians’ Loss

Columbus Clippers �7, �Indianapolis Indians �3 (box)

IMG_3305A 5-run 4th inning by the Columbus Clippers made the difference tonight at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, as the Indians could not catch up after having three members of their team ejected from the game. �Manager Frank Kremblas, pitcher Corey Hamman, and DH Brian Myrow were all ejected by home plate umpire Derek Crabill.

(Photo: �Frank Kremblas chats with an umpire in Indianapolis)

The game had begun hopefully for the Indians. �2B Akinori Iwamura started the game with a single into center field, though two outs later he was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the inning. �C Erik Kratz doubled off the top of the wall in right-center field with two outs in the 2nd inning, then went to third on a wild pitch. �Brian Myrow lined a single into center, and that brought in Kratz with the first run of the game.

Tribe starter Charlie Morton got out of a jam in the bottom of the 1st. �LF Michael Brantley led off the frame with a single, but SS Josh Rodriguez followed by bouncing into a 6-4-3 double play (SS�Argenis Diaz to 2B Aki Iwamura to 1B Jeff Clement). �2B Luis Valbuena doubled into left field and 3B Jared Goedert walked, but a strikeout ended the inning for Morton and left the two Clippers on base. �Morton gave up another double, to C Lou Marson, and a walk to CF Jose Constanza in the 2nd inning, but also got out of that inning with both runners still on base.

IMG_3556An error by Morton (photo) contributed to an unearned run in the 3rd as the Clippers tied the score. �With one out, Valbuena smacked a grounder into center field, and when Morton tried to pick Valbuena off first, his throw went wild, allowing Valbuena to reach third base. �That made it easy for a single by 1B Jordan Brown to bring in the tying run.

Then disaster struck in the bottom of the 4th. �RF Nick Weglarz led off the inning with a long fly ball for a home run over the right-center field wall, to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead. �After a ground out, Constanza blooped a single into center field. �Constanza stole second base, then went on to steal third base, not even drawing a throw. �A fielder’s choice grounder to short was fielded by Argenis Diaz, but the throw to the plate was not in time, and Constanza scored, while Brantley was safe at first. �That was all for Charlie Morton, who had thrown 85 pitches (55 strikes) in just 3.1 innings, and allowed 7 hits and 3 walks. �He would ultimately be responsible for 5 runs (4 earned). �It was a disappointing start for Morton, after an outstanding effort in his last start.

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Melillo’s Walk Off Homer Gives Indians Sweep

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Doug Bernier, Argenis Diaz, and Jim Negrych

Indianapolis Indians �6, �Toledo Mud Hens �5 (box)

IMG_3247LF Kevin Melillo (photo) launched a pitch into the night in the bottom of the 9th at Victory Field, and when it landed in the grass berm in front of the right field scoreboard, the Indians had a walk-off win over the Toledo Mud Hens. �They also had a sweep of the 4-game series against Toledo, and combined with the Columbus Clippers’ loss to the Gwinnett Braves tonight, that puts the Indians 2 games behind the first-place Clippers in the International League Western Division, and drops Toledo to 3 games behind the Indians.

Compared to last night, when the Indians cranked out 19 hits, tonight’s game began rather quietly. �Only one Tribe batter reached base in the first three innings, and that was 1B Steve Pearce, who led off the 2nd inning with a line drive just over the head of Toledo SS Brent Dlugach. �Pearce stole second base, but he was left there when a flu out and two strikeouts ended the inning.

Indians’ starter Brian Burres also held the Mud Hens scoreless in the early innings. �He worked his way out of a jam in the top of the 1st. �Lead-off batter 2B Will Rhymes singled up the middle, and Brent Dlugach walked. �LF Jeff Frazier made the first out, on a short fly ball to center, with CF Alex Presley making a very nice running catch. �Burres and the Indians caught a break when Rhymes made a base-running mistake: �with Burres looking right at him, Rhymes led off second base, then went a little too far, and was caught in the middle of nowhere when Burres came off the mound. �Rhymes was easily thrown out at third base, with 3B Doug Bernier putting down the tag (photo below).

IMG_3823Brent Dlugach advanced to second base while Burres and Bernier were taking care of Rhymes. � Another walk, to 1B Ryan Strieby, put two runners on base with two outs. �Burress got out of the inning by striking out 3B Jeff Larish.

Bernier allowed just one hit over the next three innings. �He retired the side in order in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. �Jeff Frazier led off the 4th with a double into left-center field, but he was still standing there on second base when Burres struck out Strieby, Larish, and RF Wilkin Ramirez and was out of the inning.

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Moskos Debuts In Indians’ Win

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The bullpen didn’t get the memo that said it’s 91 degrees out.

Indianapolis Indians �6, �Toledo Mud Hens �4 (box)

IMG_3752The Pirates’ first round pick from the 2007 draft, LHP Danny Moskos, made his AAA debut tonight in the Inidans’ win over Toledo at Victory Field. �The Indians were out-hit by the Mud Hens, 12-9, but the Indians made good use of the hits they got, including home runs by RF Brandon Moss and 2B Jim Negrych, supporting starter Jeremy Powell in his 4th win of the season.

Powell (photo) was making the spot start because Daniel McCutchen had his scheduled start moved to Oakland, with the Pirates. �This was Powell’s first start in more than 3 weeks. �He had made 5 relief appearances since then, but pitched only a third of an inning in the two relief appearances in the past week. �Powell got into trouble right away in the top of the 1st. �Toledo’s lead-off hitter, 2B Will Rhymes, began the game with a bloop single into short center field. �DH Jon Weber grounded slowly to 2B Jim Negrych, who tried for a double play. �Rhymes was easily out at second base, but Weber beat out SS Argenis Diaz’s relay throw to first base. �A passed ball by C Erik Kratz put Weber on second base, and he scored from there when 1B Jeff Frazier followed with a line drive into the right-center alley for an RBI double. �LF Ryan Strieby drove in Frazier with another line drive, this one into center, and the Indians were down 2-0.

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Photo: �Alex Presley in center field

At that point, Powell flipped a switch. �He settled down and retired the next two batters on an easy fly out and a grounder force out to short. �He worked around a one-out double by RF Wilkin Ramirez in the 2nd, and worked around a one-out infield single by Frazier in the 3rd. �SS Brent Dlugach led off the 6th with a grounder to short, and was safe at first when Argenis Diaz’s throw came in high so that 1B Jeff Clement had to leap to catch it (ruled a hit). �Powell responded by getting CF Casper Wells to bounce into a 4-6-3 (Negrych to Diaz to Clement) double play, and struck out Ramirez to end the inning. �Then Powell retired the side in order in the 5th. �He finished his night’s work having thrown 64 pitches (48 strikes), and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, no walks, with two strikeouts.

The Indians were frustrated in their first attempt at a come-back in the 2nd inning. �With one out, 3B Brian Myrow lined a single into right field, and CF Alex Presley lined a single into left field. �Myrow raced around to third, sliding into the bag head-first just ahead of the throw in from left field. �Presley alertly advanced to second base while the Mud Hens were busy worrying about Myrow. �Erik Kratz walked on 4 straight pitches, and the Indians looked like they were going to get some runs back. �But Argenis Diaz bounced into a double play, ending the inning and the threat.

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Clement Drives Indians Come-From-Behind Win

Indianapolis Indians 9, Toledo Mud Hens 8 (box)

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The Indianapolis Indians came back from a 5-run deficit tonight at Victory Field, led by two big hits and 5 RBI by 1B Jeff Clement (photo) and 3 hits each by DH Brandon Moss and 2B Jim Negrych. Six runs in the 6th inning made the difference, and the Tribe held off the Mud Hens’ rally in the 9th to hold onto the win in front of a full house of 14,537 fans.

Mike Crotta started the game with a quick first inning, but the Mud Hens attacked in the 2nd. DH Ryan Strieby led off with a double into right field, and 3B Jeff Larish lined a single into left field, moving Strieby to third. After a strikeout, Crotta walked RF Casper Wells to load the bases. LF Jon Weber drove in both Strieby and Larish with a double that skittered down the left field chalk line, barely fair. C Jeff Kunkel made it 4-0 with a triple off the wall in right-center field. Tribe CF Jonathan Van Every could not run back fast enough, and the ball sailed over his head and bounced off the wall and away from Van Every. Both Wells and Weber scored as Van Every was busy tracking down the ball. Finally, a ground out and a pop out in foul territory ended the inning.

IMG_3729The Mud Hens added another run in the 3rd inning. 1B Jeff Frazier started the inning with a double down the left field line that tipped the end of 3B Steve Pearce’s (photo) glove as he made a desperate dive. A ground out to first moved Frazier to third base, and another double, this one down the right field line by Larish, brought Frazier in to score. Crotta continued to struggle in the 3rd inning. He walked Weber on four pitches to open the inning, and once again proved that it’s a bad idea to walk the lead-off batter. It came back to haunt him, when Kunkel’s slow grounder moved Weber to second base, and 2B Will Rhymes’ line drive double into center field plated Weber.

The Indians were already behind 5-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd inning, when they got onto the scoreboard. With one out, Brandon Moss dropped a bloop single over the head of Toledo 2B Will Rhymes. Jim Negrych followed with his second single of the game, a liner into left field, and since he was off and running, Moss made it to third on the hit. Steve Pearce was robbed of an RBI hit when his prospective line drive into left field ended up in the mitt of 3B Jeff Larish. Jeff Clement did the honors instead, plating both Moss and Negrych with a line drive that rattled around in the right field corner. C Erik Kratz walked, but both he and Clement were left on base when LF Alex Presley, making his AAA debut, lined out too.

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Found: The Real Charlie Morton

Indianapolis Indians �9, �Durham Bulls �1 (box)

IMG_3720Message to the Pirates: �The Real Charlie Morton has been found — he’s safe and sound, and was last seen pitching a 2-hit complete game at Victory Field tonight. �Are you going to want him back soon?

Morton (photo) dominated the Bulls, throwing 109 pitches (77 strikes) over 9 complete innings. �He faced only 3 batters over the minimum — two hits, one hit batter, and one walk, minus one double play. �He began the game totally focused, getting 6 straight outs, including two strikeouts in the 2nd inning.

The only Bulls’ run came in the 3rd inning. �Morton walked 3B Angel Chavez to open the inning, then he hit former Indy Indian (2005-06) JJ Furmaniak on the shoulder (or maybe the shoulder of his jersey), moving Chavez to second base — two on and no out, and Morton was looking like he had lost that focus he’d just had in the previous two innings. �CF Fernando Perez tapped a 1-1 pitch right back to Morton on the mound, and Morton whirled and fired to SS Argenis Diaz, covering second base, to start a double play, 1-6-3 (Morton to Diaz to Jeff Clement) (photo below). �That put Chavez on third base, but somehow, it seemed to refocus Morton and get him charged up again. �LF Desmond Jennings hit a slow roller towards third base, and Steve Pearce, playing third for the second time in his career, charged in to make the pick-up. �The speedy Jennings was nearly at first base already, and Pearce should have just held the ball, but he didn’t. �Instead, he threw across his body, and the ball sailed wide of first base, heading down toward the Bull’s pen. �Chavez scored from third base, and Jennings was credited with a hit and an RBI, then advanced to second base on Pearce’s error.

IMG_3727Still, that did not disrupt Morton’s rediscovered concentration. �He got SS Omar Luna to ground to first base to end the inning. �Then he retired the Bulls in order in the 4th inning, including a second strikeout of C Alvin Colina.

The only other hit Morton allowed came in the 5th. �With one out, Angel Chavez bounced a single past the diving 2B Jim Negrych and into right field. �Chavez was forced out at second base when JJ Furmaniak grounded to Negrych. �Negrych bobbled the ball for a split second, but it was long enough so that the relay throw from Argenis Diaz covering second to first base was not in time, leaving Furmaniak safe at first. �CF Fernando Perez also grounded to Negrych, who ended the inning with a little flip to second base, forcing out Furmaniak.

That was the last time the Bulls had a base runner. �Morton retired the next 12 batters in order, striking out the last batter, Justin Ruggiano. �He buzzed through the last 4 innings, not letting the Bulls hit any balls very hard, or making his teammates behind him have to make many tough plays to get the outs. �The toughest out was the 2nd in the 9th, when Omar Luna dropped a little dribbly ball, not a bunt, along the first base line about half way down. �C Erik Kratz had to scramble over, make a sliding stop to grab the ball, then make the throw to first without hitting Luna in the basepath, for the out. �Morton needed only 4 pitches to get through the 6th inning, and 9 pitches in both the 1st and the 5th.

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