Clement, Presley, And Moss Lead the Tribe

Indianapolis Indians� 7,� Syracuse Chiefs� 5 (box)

IMG_3669The trio of 1B Jeff Clement (photo), CF Alex Presley, and RF Brandon Moss had 7 of the Indians’ 8 hits in tonight’s game at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, New York, as the Indians held on to defeat the Chiefs.� Derek Hankins made his AAA debut, and earned his first AAA win with a very short one-third-of-an-inning appearance.

The Indians got the game off on the right foot, with a big blast in the top of the 1st.� 2B Brian Friday led off with a walk, and 3B Aki Iwamura singled back to the mound.� But Iwamura collided with one of the Chiefs, and had to be removed from the game, with Doug Bernier taking his place at third base.� CF Alex Presley loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch, which brought up the hot-hitting Moss.� Moss took a 1-0 pitch over the right-center field wall for a grand slam, and the Indians had an instant 4-0 lead, before an out had been recorded in the game.� Jeff Clement singled after the homer, and he was sacrifice bunted to third base by LF Jim Negrych, but two strikeouts ended the inning.� No further word at this point about Iwamura’s condition.��� [UPDATE: Iwamura went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion; he’ll be out for at least a few days]

Mike Crotta was the Tribe starter who was the beneficiary of a 4-run cushion before he even took the mound.� Crotta (photo below) breezed through the first two innings, allowing just one hit, a single to 3B Pete Orr in the bottom of the 1st.� He gave up an unearned run in the 3rd inning.� Former Indy Indian C Carlos Maldonado walked, then reached third base when Washington Nationals’ rehabbing pitcher Jason Marquis reached base on a throwing error� by C Luke Carlin on his bunt attempt.� CF Boomer Whiting bounced into a double play, and Maldonado scored from third on the play.

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The Chiefs got within one run of the Indians in the 5th inning.� RF Kevin Mench led off with a bloopy hit over the head of Doug Bernier at third, dropping into left field.� LF Leonard Davis took Crotta’s 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for a 2-run home run.� Indians 4, Chiefs 3.

Jason Marquis held the Indians to just one hit over the next 4 innings.� That was a single by Brandon Moss in the 3rd inning.� Moss was immediately erased, though, when Jeff Clement bounced into a double play.� Marquis was relieved by Jason Jones to begin the 6th inning, and the Indians promptly got going.� Alex Presley slipped a single past Orr at third base, who was playing in a little too far.� Presley stole second base, and when Jeff Clement singled through the right side of the infield, Presley raced for the plate.� He slid in just before the throw came in to Maldonado from Kevin Mench in right field.

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Big First Inning For Curve; Power Win In Extras

Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:

Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)

The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.

Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.

Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.

The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.

That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.

Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.

Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.

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Moss Leads The Offense As Indians Win The Series

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Looking heavenward for help?

Indianapolis Indians �8, �Charlotte Knights �5 (box)

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The Indians posted 14 hits on their way to 8 runs tonight at Victory Field. �The win gives the Indians a win of this 4-game series (3 games to 1) and the season series (6 games to 2) over the Charlotte Knights. �RF�Brandon Moss led the offense by going 3-for-3 at the plate, with a double, an RBI, and a walk. �3B�Akinori Iwamura, CF�Alex Presley, 1B�Jonathan Van Every, and 2B�Brian Friday each had 2 hits, and Presley smacked his 4th home run in his 30 games with the Indians.

The game began with Tribe starter Brian Burres (photo) getting into and out of a jam. �Back-to-back singles by Knights’ CF Alejandro De Aza and 2B Luis Rodriguez, and a walk to RF Stefan Gartrell loaded the bases before Burres could record an out. �DH Josh Kroeger flied out to left field, but it was too short for De Aza to tag up and try to score from third base. �Then Burres got C Tyler Flowers to ground to Aki Iwamura, who started the around-the-horn double play, Iwamura to Brian Friday to Jonathan Van Every (5-4-3). �Big sigh of relief from the Indians’ dugout and the fans in the stands.

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(Photo: �Brian Friday at second base)

Burres retired the Knights in order in the next two innings. �Things got messy again in the top of the 4th. �Stefan Gartrell and Josh Kroeger walked on 9 pitches (one strike for Kroeger). �Burres again got Tyler Flowers to bounce into a double play, this time grounding to Argenis Diaz at shortstop, who started the 6-4-3 play (Diaz to Friday to Van Every). �That erased Kroeger, but put Gartrell on third base. �Gartrell scored when LF Buck Coats grounded up the middle for a single. �3B Brent Morel also reached base on a single to short, but Burres got a ground out to end the inning.

The Indians’ bats had been held to just a walk to Brandon Moss in the 2nd inning and a line drive single by C Luke Carlin in the 3rd inning. �Both Moss and Carlin tried to steal second base, but only Carlin was successful. �The Tribe batters got going in the 4th inning, with three straight hits. �Aki Iwamura and Alex Presley led off with back-to back singles, both liners into right field. �Moss picked up his first hit of the game with a rocket into right field for a double, scoring Iwamura and moving Presley to third base. �DH Jim Negrych grounded out to second, plating Presley and advancing Moss to third. �Jonathan Van Every also singled, and that brought in Moss from third, to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.

It was a brief lead. �With two outs in the top of the 4th, Luis Rodriguez hit his 5th home run in 5 days, and Stefan Gartrell followed with his 20th homer of the season — back-to-back homers, and the score was tied 3-3.

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McCutchen Has Another Tough Loss

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Home plate umpire Chris Ward and manger Frank Kremblas discuss an ejection.

Charlotte Knights� 3,� Indianapolis Indians� 2 (box)

IMG_4130Indians’ starter Daniel McCutchen (photo, making a pickoff throw to first base) suffered another tough loss this afternoon at Victory Field.� Like in his previous four starts, McCutchen gave up 3 runs (it was 2 runs on June 21st) but did not get enough run support to get the win.� Today McCutchen pitched 8 innings, his longest start of the season, and threw 101 pitches (67 strikes).� Other than a 3-inning rain-shortened start in May, this was McCutchen’s first start in which he did not strike out anyone.

McCutchen gave up just 6 hits in his 8 innings.� The first hit, to Knights’ lead-off batter CF Alejandro De Aza to begin the game, was erased when De Aza was thrown out by C Luke Carlin trying to steal second base.� After two of the hits, a double by RF Stefan Gartrell in the 4th and a single to De Aza in the 8th, the runner was left on base.� (McCutchen retired the side in order in 3 innings.)

That left just three hits that were a problem for McCutchen.� LF Josh Kroeger led off the top of the 2nd inning with a line drive single into center field.� He moved to second base when 3B Brent Morel grounded slowly to third base — 3B Jim Negrych charged the ball, but had only the one play at first base.� A balk by McCutchen put Kroeger on third base, but that turned out to not matter.� A moment later, 1B Jeremy Reed put a long fly ball well over the right field wall, landing on the patio beyond the right field corner.� Charlotte up, 2-0.

With one out in the 6th inning, 2B Luis Rodriguez deposited a home run just barely over the wall in the right field corner.� Rodriguez has now homered in each of the three games so far in this series between the Indians and the Knights, and in fact, it is his 4th home run in his last 4 games.

Those were all the hits the Knights needed.

IMG_4150Yesterday, Knight’s starter Carlos Torres, who leads the International League in walks with 56, walked 7 batters.� Second in the league in free passes is Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell — today’s starter.� Harrell came into the game having walked 53 batters so far in the season.� Unfortunately for the Indians, he left the game with exactly the same number of walks.

The Indians had at least one runner on base in 4 of Harrell’s 6 innings, with 6 hits.� Unfortunately, four of those base runners were eliminated on force plays, including two double plays.� DH Kevin Melillo led off the bottom of the 1st with a soft looper into left field.� He was removed when 2B Brian Friday bounced into a double play.� LF Brian Bixler beat out a bunt up the third base line for a hit in the 5th inning, but he was erased when SS Argenis Diaz bounced into a double play.� Diaz slipped a grounder past the Knights’ 2B Rodriguez for a single in the 3rd, but Melillo’s grounder to first base forced him out at second base (photo).� There wasn’t time for a throw to first base on that play.

The remaining force out was part of a rally in the 2nd inning, along with one of the Indians’ other hits.� The Knights had just taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning, and with one out, Jim Negrych lined a single into center field.� Luke Carlin followed with a grounder right to SS Rob Hudson.� Hudson tossed to second base to force out Negrych, but he airmailed the relay throw to first base, and Carlin was safe at first.� 1B Doug Bernier, lined a double down the right field line and into the corner.� Carlin raced around the bases, scoring from first base, to cut the Knights’ lead to 2-1.

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Strikeouts Stifle Indians’ Bats

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Charlie Morton was pouring ‘em in there.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs� 3,� Indianapolis Indians� 2 (box)

For the past three days, the Indians have been losing, but they have been piling up the hits:� 16 on Monday, 10 on Tuesday, and 12 on Wednesday.� Today, the Tribe bats were shut down by strikeouts — a total of 16 K’s — and they were held to just 3 hits.� And, the Iron Pigs won again, sweeping the 4-game series from the Indians at Victory Field.

IMG_4094Former Indy Indian (2006) and Iron Pigs’ starter Brandon Duckworth gave up all three of the Indians hits.� LF Kevin Melillo had two of them.� He opened the bottom of the 1st with a double off the lower part of the right field wall.� Two ground outs, both to second base, by 2B Aki Iwamura and CF Alex Presley, brought Melillo around to score.� Presley picked up the RBI.

Melillo drove a liner into right field again in the 3rd inning, but when he tried to reach second base, Iron Pigs’ RF John Mayberry’s perfect throw beat him to the bag.� It was unfortunate for the Indians, because if Melillo had stayed at first, he would have scored in just another moment — when Aki Iwamura blasted a home run over the wall in straight out center field (photo).

Those were all the hits the Indians had in the game.� There were four walks, two to 3B Jim Negrych, , and one each to Melillo and RF Brandon Moss. Duckworth was also responsible for the walks, which he scattered over four innings, so that the Indians never had more than one base runner on at a time.

Duckworth also was responsible for 11 of the Indians’ strikeouts.� He struck out one in the 1st, then 2 batters in each of the next 5 innings.� After two K’s and a walk in the 6th, Duckworth was relieved by Michael Stutes.� Stutes finished the inning, then retired the side in order for the first time in the game, including another strikeout.� Antonio Bastardo and Scott Mathieson each pitched a perfect inning to finish the game, and each struck out two Tribe batters.� 1B Jeff Clement had the most trouble in the strikeout follies — he struck out in all 4 of his at-bats.� Jim Negrych was the only batter who did not strike out at all.

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