Crotta Ambushed By Yankees

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre �8, � �Indianapolis Indians �6 (box)

IMG_3216Seven runs on 11 hits in the first four innings put the Indians in a big hole tonight at PNC Field in Scranton, PA, and though they tried mightily, they could not climb back out.

Starter Mike Crotta (photo) was hit hard by the Yankees, and did not make it out of the 4th inning. �The Yankees scored in each of the first four innings, as they piled up those 11 hits and took advantage of an Indians’ error. �Crotta started the bottom of the 1st with a ground out, then gave up a single to LF Colin Curtis which slipped through the left side of the infield past the shifted-over SS Doug Bernier. Curtis was off and running on the next batter, SS Eduardo Nunez, as he took a double into left field, and Curtis was able to come around to score. �1B Juan Miranda struck out on three pitches, but Nunez stole third base, and then scored on 3B Jorge Vasquez’s line drive single into left field. �C Jesus Montero doubled, bringing in Montero, before DH David Winfree struck out to end the rally. �Crotta had thrown 23 pitches to get through the inning, and the Yankees had a 3-0 lead.

They came right back at Crotta in the 2nd inning. �With one out, CF Greg Golson doubled into the left field corner, and moved to third on a ground out by RF Reid Gorecki. �Curtis grounded to 1B Jeff Clement, moving to his right to make the play. �But when Clement flipped the ball to Crotta covering first base, the throw was low and skipped past Crotta. �Instead of the inning being over, Golson scored on the hit and RBI, and Curtis advanced to second base on the throwing error. �A ground out ended the inning, with the Yankees adding the one run, 4-0. �The inning took Crotta another 23 pitches.

IMG_3631It didn’t get any better in the 3rd inning. �Miranda began the inning with a double off the center field wall, and Jorge Vasquez followed with a home run over the left field wall. �Montero singled through the hole at short, past Doug Bernier, for a single after the homer. �Then Crotta got some better breaks — a strikeout by Winfree, a grounder off Crotta’s glove that 2B Jim Negrych (photo) saved from going into center field. �Negrych made a dive behind second base, then recovered in time to flip the ball back over his shoulder to Bernier covering second for the force out. �Bernier’s throw on to first base was high, but it was not in time to get Reegie Corona. �A ground out ended the inning, and that took Crotta 18 pitches — the pitch count was climbing quickly, and the Yankees led 6-0.

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Morton Takes The Loss But Pitches Better

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees �3, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3555Tribe pitcher Charlie Morton (photo) made his second rehab start with the Indianapolis Indians this afternoon at PNC Field in Scranton, PA, and despite being charged with the loss, Morton had a better outing than he had last week. �Morton pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 batters. �Back on Tuesday, Morton had not made it through the 4th inning and had given up 5 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 3 strikeouts. �Opposing batters hit .353 against Morton last week, but hit .292 against him today. �Not wonderful, not great, but at least better.

What was even more telling, though, was that after Morton allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in the first three innings, Morton settled down. �Over the last three innings he pitched today, Morton gave up just one hit, a single to Yankees’ SS Eduardo Nunez in the 5th. �Nunez stole second base, but was left there when Morton finished the inning with a ground out. �Morton retired the Yankees in order in the 4th and the 6th, and he struck out 4 batters in those last three innings.

That does mean that Morton had trouble in the first three innings. �In fact, the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the 1st, all singled, and all made good solid contact with Morton’s pitches. �RF Reid Gorecki singled up the middle, and DH Colin Curtis slipped a grounder into right field, moving Gorecki to third base. �Gorecki scored on Nunez’s single into left field, and 1B Juan Miranda’s single loaded the bases. �After a quick visit by pitching coach Dean Treanor, Morton got 3B Jorge Vasquez to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play, started by SS Argenis Diaz, to 2B Jim Negrych, and on to 1B Jeff Clement, who was pulled a little to the infield side of the bag by Negrych’s throw, but still was able to tag Vasquez as he ran past. �Curtis scored from third on the play. �Morton struck out C Jesus Montero to end the inning.

Morton had a little momentum from the double play and the strikeout, and he retired the Yankees in order in the 2nd, aided by an impressive catch by Jim Negrych on a short soft liner by CF Greg Golson. �Negrych had to go behind him and to his right to make the play.

IMG_2336The Indians had managed only one hit over the first two innings. �Jeff Clement smacked a double over the head of LF David Winfree, who did not judge the wind and the ball very well, and then couldn’t readjust fast enough. �The top of the 3rd began with a single into center field by RF Brandon Jones. Argenis Diaz (photo) hit a fly ball into right field, which Yankees’ RF Reid Gorecki let bounce just in front of him, making the catch on a very short hop, about at the level of his ankles. �Jones had had to hold up because he thought Gorecki might be able to catch the ball, and then when the catch was made after the bounce, Jones had to race to second. �Gorecki was expecting it, and was easily able to fire to second base to force out Jones. �Diaz was safe at first, and he moved to second base on a wild pitch from Yankees’ starter Tim Redding. �LF Kevin Melillo first slugged a long ball down the right field line which curved foul at the last moment, missing a home run by only about 10 feet. �Melillo eventually�flied out, and Diaz tagged up and advanced to third base. �Then Jim Negrych collected his first AAA hit and his first AAA RBI with a double off the wall in left field, scoring Diaz, and cutting the Yankees’ lead to 2-1.

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Alvarez And Clement Homer In Tribe Loss

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees �3, �Indianapolis Indians �2 (box)

IMG_3535The Yankees held the Indians to just 3 hits tonight at PNC Field in Scranton, PA, �snapping the Indians’ 5-game winning streak. �Pitchers ruled the game, as six hurlers combined for a total of 26 strikeouts.

After the Indians went down in order in the top of the 1st (two strikeouts), Scranton got the scoring started in the bottom of the frame. �With two outs, Tribe starter Brian Burres (photo) gave up back-to-back singles to SS Eduardo Nunez and DH Jesus Montero. �He hit 1B David Winfree with a pitch to load the bases. �C Rene Rivera drove a liner into left field, scoring both Nunez and Montero, before Burres ended the inning with a strikeout.

The Indians got the runs right back in the top of the 2nd inning. �3B Pedro Alvarez worked the count full, then smashed a solo home run over the right-center field wall. �1B Jeff Clement made it back-to-back homers with a blast over the center field wall on a 0-1 pitch, to tie the score. �Yankees’ starter Dustin Moseley responded by striking out the next three batters, CF Jonathan Van Every, C Erik Kratz, and 2B Doug Bernier, to end the inning.

Keeping in the home run theme, Yankees’ CF Greg Golson added his own solo homer, with one out in the 2nd inning, giving the lead back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

And that was the end of the scoring.

Brian Burres struck out two batters in the 2nd, around that home run. �He gave up singles in the 3rd and 5th, and hit a batter (Nunez) in the 3rd. �He also struck out four batters over the 3rd – 5th innings, plus one more to begin the 6th inning. �With two outs in the 6th, Burres gave up a double to 2B Reegie Corona. �That ended his evening, and he was relieved by Anthony Claggett. Burres had thrown 105 pitches, 70 of them strikes, and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits, no walks, with 8 strikeouts.

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Indians Sweep PawSox WIth Offensive Explosion

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Brandon Moss is congratulated on his home run.

Indianapolis Indians �10, �Pawtucket Red Sox �3 (box)

IMG_3606The Indianapolis Indians scored 9 runs in the first three innings tonight at Victory Field, pounding the Pawtucket Red Sox to earn a sweep of their 4-game series. �The two teams have now completed their 8-game season series, with the Indians nearly sweeping that too — 7 wins for the Indians and only one for the PawSox. �The win, combined with a loss by the Columbus Clippers, moves the Indians up to 1.5 games behind the first-place Clippers in the International League Western Division.

The game began with a run for the PawSox in the top of the 1st. �Tribe starter Hayden Penn (photo) had a tough 1st inning, and it was not entirely his own doing. �Penn gave up a single to the Pawtucket lead-off hitter, 2B Niuman Romero. �He got SS Gil Vasquez to fly out and tricked DH Angel Sanchez into swinging at an outside pitch for strike three, but then hit 1B Lars Anderson with a pitch. �LF Aaron Bates grounded to third base, but 3B Pedro Alvarez, going to his right, has the ball pop into and out of his glove as he crossed into foul territory. �Alvarez recovered the ball quickly and turned to fire to first — but airmailed the ball way over 1B Jeff Clement’s head and into the stands. �That allowed Romero to score, and put Anderson on third and Bates on second base, as Alvarez was charged with both a fielding and a throwing error. �A ground out ended the inning, with Pawtucket up 1-0.

IMG_3615That didn’t last long. �The Indians exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the inning, as they sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 1st. �LF Kevin Melillo led off with a line drive into right field for a single. �RF Brandon Moss took the lead back for the Indians with a 2-run blast over the wall in the deepest part of left-center field (photo). �Brian Myrow, who had DH duties tonight with the arrival of Jeff Clement, continued the fun with a grounder that handcuffed the PawSox 2B Romero, ruled a single. �Myrow moved to second base when Pawtucket pitcher Randor Bierd, and moments later, took third base the same way. �Neither of those wild pitches got all that far away from home plate, but Myrow was being alert and took the Red Sox by surprise.

Pedro Alvarez struck out for the first out of the inning, and Clement followed with a walk. �With runners on the corners, CF Jonathan Van Every hit a long fly ball that turned into a sacrifice fly, scoring Myrow. �C Erik Kratz grounded up the middle for another single, and Clement advanced to second base. �2B Doug Bernier continued with a grounder through the hole into left field, scoring Clement from second base. �Kratz and Bernier both came across the plate on a grounder that slipped past third base and continued along the left field line by SS Argenis Diaz. At this point, Randor Bierd was looking hopefully down toward his bullpen, where he saw — no one moving, no rescue in sight. �But Bierd got Kevin Melillo to fly out, finally ending the inning. �The Tribe had a resounding 6-1 lead.

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Indians Survive 9th Inning Scare As McCutchen Wins

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This is the huge shift the Indians use against lefty batters…. that’s 3B Pedro Alvarez standing where the shortstop would usually stand, about half a mile from third base. �SS Argenis Diaz is standing almost behind second base.

Indianapolis Indians �4, �Pawtucket Red Sox �2 (box)

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The Indians survived a scare in the 9th inning to win their 4th straight game tonight at Victory Field. �Starter Daniel McCutchen dominated the PawSox for 7 innings to earn his 4th win of the season with the Indians. �McCutchen allowed only one run on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7 batters. �LF Kevin Melillo, 3B Pedro Alvarez, and RF Brandon Moss had 2 hits each in the contest, and one of Melillo’s hits was a solo home run. �The Tribe has now won 6 of the 7 games (so far, tomorrow is the last) on this homestand.

The Indians got busy in the 1st inning. �With one out, DH Brandon Jones worked a walk. �Pedro Alvarez sent him to third base with a single lined into right field. �Brandon Moss followed with a double driven down the right field line and into the corner, easily scoring Jones from third base to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.

McCutchen (photo) sailed through most of his ininngs, and only had serious trouble in one inning. �He began his outing by retiring 9 of the 10 batters he faced over the first three innings. �The only Pawtucket batter to reach base in the first third of the game was RF Daniel Nava, who was hit by a pitch (it barely grazed his uniform, but that counts) in the 1st inning.

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(Photo: �Doug Bernier makes a play at second base)

The 4th inning was tougher for McCutchen, as the first three batters who came to the plate reached base safely. �SS Angel Sanchez opened the inning with a liner up the middle for a single, and Nava followed with a double into righ field, moving Sanchez to third base. �1B Lars Anderson walked on four straight pitches, and the bases were loaded. �C Luke Carlin had a brief chat with McCutchen, who then bore down and struck out C Dusty Brown on three pitches for the first out of the inning. �LF Ryan Kalish bounced a slow dribbler over toward first base. �1B Brian Myrow had to charge in onto the grass to field the ball, and by the time he had it in his glove, his only play was at first base. �Kalish was out at first, but he brought in Sanchez from third base to tie the score at 1-1. �McCutchen ended the inning by striking out DH Tug Hulett.

The only other hit McCutchen allowed came in the 5th inning, after two outs had already been recorded. �2B Niuman Romero lined a single into center field, then stole second base without even drawing a throw from Luke Carlin. �Sanchez worked the count full, then on ball four, Romero took off from second base, to steal third base. �This time Carlin made the throw to third. �Pedro Alvarez, who was playing wide of third, had to scramble back to the bag, and wasn’t quite there yet as the throw was coming to him. �He made the catch on the run, then reached down to make the tag on Romero as he slid in. �Romero was called out, and Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo argued the call. �Radio broadcasters Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley, who have replay capabilities in their booth, said that they thought the replay showed that Alvarez did not actually get the tag on Romero. �The ball reached the bag before Romero did, and on the replay, Alvarez seemed to tag the dirt next to Romero.

McCutchen pitched two more innings, both 3-up-and-3-down, including one strikeout in each. �He finished his evening with 98 pitches, 65 for strikes.

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