Friday and Diaz Support Pitching as Tribe Wins Fourth In a Row

Indianapolis Indians 7, �Pawtucket Red Sox 2 (box)

On a damp and shivery night in Pawtucket, a sleepy set of Indians took advantage of good pitching and some strong defense to win their fourth game in a row. �They must have brought the rain with them on the early morning (following a very late night) flight from Louisville; �the start of tonight’s game was delayed by nearly an hour while the McCoy Stadium grounds crew got the field ready.

Jeremy Powell made the start for the Tribe, despite limping around on a swollen ankle, where he got hit by a pitch while pinch-hitting last night. �The ankle was taped up, and the veteran Powell just kept going. �He pitched 5 innings, using 77 pitches (53 strikes). �Powell zipped through the first 5 batters, then gave up a double and a single, but got out of that jam with a pop out. �He walked the lead-off batter in the 3rd, but got a double play to end that inning. �A double in the 4th was also no problem. �Powell was getting a little tired in the 5th, when a lead-off single by PawSox 2B Kevin Frandsen and back-to-back doubles by LF Daniel Nava and CF Josh Reddick brought in two runs.

But by then, the Indians had already scored three times, as the lower end of their batting order was hot tonight — SS Argenis Diaz singled twice and drove in 4 runs, while 2B Brian Friday went 3-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI. �1B Steve Pearce got the rally started in the 2nd inning with a walk. �RF Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch, and Friday also walked to load the bases for Diaz. �Diaz, who has had 7 hits in his last 4 games with the Indians, ripped a single into right field, tipping off the glove of Pawtucket 1B Aaron Bates and down the line. �Both Pearce and Moss scored, and the throw in from right field to the plate was not even close. �

The Indians threatened in the 4th inning, when C Luke Carlin and Friday opened the frame with back-to-back singles. �Diaz bunted them up a base, but CF Jose Tabata’s grounder to third was fired back to the plate, and Carlin was out at the plate, without even a slide. �Neil Walker, in left field again tonight, walked to load the bases, but a ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.

Walks to Steve Pearce and Luke Carlin put two runners on for the Tribe with two out in the top of the 5th. � The two went for a double steal, with Carlin getting off about a step behind Pearce. �Pawtucket’s C Mark Wagner saw Carlin’s slightly late start, and tried to throw him out at second base, but the throw sailed into center field, and Pearce charged home with the unearned run.

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Indians Can’t Push Runs Across In Loss To Clippers

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Columbus Clippers 6, �Indianapolis Indians 1 (box)

IMG_2545Too many runners left on base were the downfall of the Indians this afternoon at Victory Field. �Too many times left in scoring position, too many times when the Tribe ran themselves out of the inning. �The Clippers did not have that problem, and they were able to take advantage of the runners they put on, to take the win and split this short 2-game series with the Indians.

Jeremy Powell (photo) made another spot start for the Indians, since Chris Jakubauskas’s start was pushed back to Thursday. �Powell worked around runners on base in the 1st and 2nd innings, giving up two singles and a walk.

In the 3rd inning, the Clippers got an unhappy surprise. �With two outs, their star prospect, C Carlos Santana, fouled a 1-0 pitch off his left knee. �Santana fell to the ground at the plate, and remained on the ground for several minutes, eventually needing help to leave the field. �The Columbus back-up catcher, Damaso Espino, came in to finish Santana’s at-bat, and he worked a walk. �The next batter, DH Shelley Duncan, hit a towering fly ball well over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer.

Powell finished off the 3rd inning, and then retired the Clippers in order in the 4th.

The Indians had also started the game quietly, as Columbus starter Jeanmar Gomez struck out 6 batters over the first 3 innings. �2B Neil Walker had the Tribe’s first hit, a single into right field, and he proceeded to steal second base, but was stranded there on second.

IMG_2593C Erik Kratz walked to lead off the 3rd inning, but he was forced out when LF Jose Tabata grounded to short. �Tabata beat out the relay throw to first base, avoiding the double play. �He advanced to second base when Gomez’s pickoff throw to first went wide and ended up over by the Columbus bullpen. �Tabata stole third base, tying him for the league lead in stolen bases with 8. �But another strikeout ended the inning with Tabata still standing on third base.

The Tribe scored one run in the 4th inning. �DH Brian Myrow led off with a double to deep center field, and when the Columbus CF Jose Constanza dropped the ball while transfering it from his glove to his throwing hand, Myrow kept going and slid into third (photo) as the 3B Brian Buscher had to chase after the wide throw. �3B Pedro Alvarez (photo below) took the first pitch he saw into right field, allowing Myrow to score what would by the Indians’ only run. �1B Steve Pearce followed with a sharply hit grounder along the third base line, which Buscher could only knock down and keep from getting into left field.

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Walker, Moss, and Van Every Homer To Lift Indians

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Indianapolis Indians 9, �Toledo Mud Hens 6 (box)
The Indianapolis Indians won for the first time at Victory Field this season, and for the first time against the Toledo Mud Hens in 2010 on Sunday afternoon. �The Indians posted 13 hits and 9 runs, and it was only the second game of the season in which they scored more than 4 runs.
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Neil Walker found himself in two unusual positions today: �back at third base for the first time this season, and in the lead-off spot in the line-up for the first time in…. probably a really long time, if not forever. �Before anyone had time to wonder if it was going to be a good idea, Walker proved that it was the perfect spot for him today. �He lifted Toledo starter Ruddy Lugo’s second pitch over the right field wall, not far inside the foul pole, for a lead-off home run (photo).
Walker admitted that it felt different to be the first one to the plate in the first inning. �”I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be like,” said Walker after the game. �”I tried to stay aggressive, and I got lucky and hit one out. � It was a change-up and it was hanging over the plate. �I was able to stay through it a bit and Victory Field helped me out a little bit down the right field line with a little wind.”
The Tribe took off from there. �Each member of the line-up had at least one hit, Walker had three (single, double, and homer), and CF Jonathan Van Every and LF Brandon Moss both had a single and a homer. �The Indians scored in each of the first four innings and again in the 6th, and went down in order only once — the 9th.
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Prospect Watching: Jean Machi

Not really a “prospect”, but a veteran who had a very good year in 2009:

Jean Machi is a Venezuelan native who was first signed by the Phillies in 2000. �He came to the US for the 2002 season, and spent two seasons in the Phillies’ organization here, then one more season (2004) back in the Venezuelan Summer League. �He was selected by Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft, and spent two seasons in their organization, then moved on to Toronto, who signed him as a free agent. �In 2006 with Tampa Bay’s AA level team, he earned a 6-1 record, 16 saves, and a 2.55 ERA in 48 relief appearances. �The following season for the Blue Jays’ AA affiliate, Machi made another 48 appearances and earned a 2-4 record, just 2 saves, and a 3.53 ERA. �Machi missed the early part of 2008 due to injuries, and he had a tougher time when he got back onto the mound — a 4.65 ERA and a 2-6 record in 21 appearances. �That lead him to the Pirates and a minor league contract for the 2009 season. �The right-hander was sent to AA Altoona in the middle of the April, and in 28 relief appearances, he earned a 2-3 record with 6 saves and a 2.08 ERA. �He pitched 34.2 innings, and allowed 8 earned runs on 28 hits and 13 walks, with 25 strikeouts. �That was a significant drop in his walk rate — 3.4 BB/9 innings, compared to 5.2 BB/ 9 innings in 2008. �His ERA was just 0.84 in 10.2 innings in April, up to 3.11 ERA in 8.2 innings in May, and 2.77 ERA in 13 innings in July.

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