Indians Blank First-Place Clippers

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Indianapolis Indians �5, �Columbus Clippers �0 (box)

IMG_3446The Indians shut out the Columbus Clippers, who currently reside in first place in the International League Western Division, at Victory Field tonight, to begin an 8-game home stand. �Four Indians’ pitchers, starter Mike Crotta (photo above), Vinnie Chulk, Justin Thomas, and Brian Bass, combined to hold the Clippers to 4 hits and 4 walks, while the Tribe batters piled up 10 hits for 5 runs.

Mike Crotta pitched 5.1 scoreless innings to earn his 3rd win with the Indians, needing 87 pitches (46 strikes) to get the job done. �He was responsible for 3 of the hits and 3 of the walks. �He kept his infielders busy, as all of the outs he recorded were either ground outs, except for two strikeouts and one runner thrown out at second base.

IMG_3447Crotta gave up a 2-out double to Columbus catcher Carlos Santana in the 1st inning, but ended the inning with a bouncing grounder to SS Argenis Diaz (photo above). �Crotta retired the Clippers in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a walk to former Indy Indian 2B Brian Bixler (photo) to begin the 4th. �Santana followed with a grounder to third base, and as 3B Pedro Alvarez made the scoop and throw to first, the speedy Bixler got a good jump and broke for third base, where he slid in safely before 1B Brian Myrow could return the throw across the diamond. �Bixler was left standing there, though, as Crotta struck out 1B Wes Hodges and got DH Jordan Brown to ground out to second.

Crotta had to have a little help from his friends to get out of the 5th inning. �LF Nick Weglarz worked a walk to open the inning, then 3B Brian Buscher hit a high hop right to Brian Myrow at first base. �Myrow turned and fired to second base, forcing out Weglarz, then scrambled back to cover the first base bag and take the return throw from Argenis Diaz for the double play. �SS Anderson Hernandez followed with a line drive into center field for a single, but when he tried to steal second base, C Luke Carlin’s throw was right on target, and the inning was over.

Crotta and Carlin did not have the same luck in the 6th. �With one out, CF Michael Brantley slipped a single through the hole and into left field. �He stole second base, and as he slid in, Carlin’s throw might have hit the ground near second base, or maybe even hit Brantley, but either way, the ball ricocheted into center field, and Brantley took off for third base. �Argenis Diaz chased down the ball and threw to third as Brantley was reaching the base there, but Diaz’s throw went way wide of third, and very nearly sailed into the Indians’ dugout. �Brian Bixler worked his second walk of the game, and that was all for Crotta.

Vinnie Chulk came on in relief, and the speedy Bixler stole second base without drawing a throw from Carlin, putting two runners in scoring position. �But Chulk made it not matter — he struck out both Carlos Santana and Wes Hodges to end the inning without the Clippers scoring.

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“I Feel Like I’ve Become A Complete Pitcher”

Indianapolis Indians �4, �Gwinnett Braves �0 (box)

IMG_2678Brad Lincoln (photo) pitched 6 shutout innings, scattering 4 hits and one walk, while striking out 6 batters on his way to his 6th win for the Indians at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Georgia tonight. �The Indians posted 12 hits, including 3 by 1B Brian Myrow and two each by LF Jose Tabata and 2B Brian Friday, on their way to victory. �Three of the Tribe’s hits were triples.

Lincoln dominated the Braves, just as he dominated the Charlotte Knights last week. �He has now recorded 11 consecutive scoreless innings. �In his last start against the Braves, at home on May 22nd, Lincoln allowed 3 hits in the 8th inning, after he had pitched 7 scoreless innings — that’s 3 runs over the past 19 innings. �Lincoln threw 81 pitches tonight, 52 for strikes.

Today, Lincoln gave up a double to 2B Joe Thurston with two outs in the 1st inning, then retired the Braves in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings — and he struck out the side in the 3rd. �3B/2B Luis Bolivar singled into right field to lead off the 4th inning, but Lincoln picked him off first base. �The Braves put two runners on base at the same time in the 5th, with a double by LF Alex Romero and a walk to C Clint Sammons, but Lincoln ended that inning with a strike out, leaving both runners on base. �Thurston also singled in the 6th inning, but was again left on base.

After the game, Lincoln said that he has found that the key to pitching well for him is to “get ahead early in the count and make the hitters have to swing the bat. �To make the hitters get in a defensive state at the plate is a good thing for me, and it’s one of those things that has been working for me…. I feel like I have become a complete pitcher, not just a strikeout pitcher, but an efficient pitcher.” �When asked about the possibility of being called up to the Pirates and plugged into the rotation on schedule to face the Washington National’s Stephen Strasburg on June 8th, Lincoln told interviewer Scott McCauley “I have always been that type of guy that wants to be there in that big situation and go against the best. �It’s something that I would look forward to. �If I get that call, it would be very exciting…. however, I’m not going to assume anything.”

IMG_3176Lincoln got two 2-run innings of run support from his teammates, and he helped out there too. �The Tribe batters put at least one runner on base in every inning but the 8th. �They scored their first pair of runs in the 3rd inning, taking advantage of a pair of triples. �With one out,�Jose Tabata hit a laser over the head of RF Mitch Jones for a stand-up triple. �Brian Myrow drove in Tabata with a sinking line drive into left field for a single. �3B Pedro Alvarez (photo) had the second triple, a drive into the right-center field alley, which easily brought Myrow around to score. �The throw in from the outfield got away from the Braves’ infielders and sailed to the facing of the third base dugout, but not far enough away for Alvarez to score. �Alvarez was 1-for-5 in the game.

The Tribe threatened in the 4th inning. �Brian Friday led off with a double that slipped past the Braves’ third baseman and down the left field line into the corner. �SS Doug Bernier singled up the middle, and the Indians had runners on the corners. �Lincoln dropped down a bunt that was intended to be a suicide squeeze. �3B Luis Bolivar scooped the bunt, looked Friday back to third (it was too close for him to score anyway), then threw on to first base, but he had delayed just a fraction of a second too long in looking back at Friday, and the hustling Lincoln beat the throw to first, for a hit. �That gave the Tribe the bases loaded with no outs — but they could not get a run across the plate, as two strike outs and a line out ended the inning with all three runners standing right there.

C Erik Kratz doubled with one out in the 5th, and he got as far as thrid base on a ground out by CF Jon Van Every, but that threat fell short also.

Lincoln started another run-scoring rally in the 6th by working a walk. �Jose Tabata doubled off the top of the right field wall, moving Lincoln to third base. �Then RF Kevin Melillo tripled over Braves’ RF Jones’ head, to score both Lincoln and Tabata. �That chased the Braves’ starter Jose Ortegano, who had allowed all 4 of the Indians’ runs, on 11 hits.

The Tribe batters did not do as well against the Braves’ bullpen. �Cory Gearrin relieved Ortegano and struck out two batters to end the 6th, then allowed only one base runner over the next two innings — he hit Erik Kratz with a pitch, though erased him with a double play. �Stephen Marek took over for the 9th inning, and he gave up a walk to Kevin Melillo and a single to Brian Myrow (his third hit), but left both on base when he ended the inning.

Wil Ledezma pitched 2 scoreless innings after Lincoln sat down. �He gave up a double in the 7th and a walk in the 8th, but struck out 5 batters. �Jean Machi pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single and a walk, and he ended the game with a strikeout. �It was not a save situation.

The win gave the Indians a split of the 4-game series with the Braves, and also a split of the season series. �The Indians will not play the Braves again during the 2010 regular season. �The Tribe has a 28-26 record, which puts them in third place in the International League Western Division, 6.5 games behind the first-place Columbus Clippers. �The Indians return to Victory Field on Friday, to begin a 4-game series with the Clippers — hoping to gain some ground on them in the standings.

Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �Three triples, which were factors in all four of the runs the Indians scored: �Jose Tabata (2nd triple of the season), Pedro Alvarez (3rd of the season), and Kevin Melillo (3rd of the season).

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Three pitchers, Brad Lincoln, Wil Ledezma, and Jean Machi, combined for 9 shutout innings, and a total of 13 strikeouts.

NOTES:

Donnie Veal has has a consultation with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, and the result is that Dr. Andrews will be performing Tommy John surgery on Veal’s left elbow tomorrow. �That’s the end of Veal’s 2010 season… with hopes that he’ll be ready to return sometime near the beginning of the 2011 season.

Lincoln has been named the Indians’ Player of the Month for May. �There will probably be an official presentation of the award this weekend.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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Powell Dominates Braves But Takes Tough Loss

Gwinnett Braves �2, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_2550Jeremy Powell (photo) took a no-hitter into the 7th inning for the Indians at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Georgia, but ended up with a 2-hitter and a very tough loss. �Opposing pitcher and former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond, who threw a no-hitter in his last start dueled Powell through those 7 innings, giving up 5 hits but only one run, as he took the win.

No surprise — most of the first half of this game was played in a steady soft rain. �Powell looked strong in the bottom of the 1st, as he gave up a 2-out walk to 2B Joe Thurston, but left him on base when the inning ended with a line out to left field. �Powell went on to retire the next 14 batters, 15 in a row, until the bottom of the 6th, when he gave up another 2-out walk to CF Matt Young. �Only two of those outs were strikeouts, but Powell did not make his teammates have to make wild plays to record the outs.

Powell began the 7th inning by getting Thurston to ground out to short, but the next batter, 1B Barbaro Canizares ruined Powell’s no-hit bid with a ball into the right-center field alley for a triple. �RF Mitch Jones further spoiled Powell’s night by taking a 1-0 pitch down the left field line and over the wall for a 2-run homer. �There was nothing LF Jose Tabata could do but turn and watch it fly. �Powell got the next two outs easily, and that was the end of his night. �Powell had thrown 88 pitches (55 strikes) and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks, with a total of 3 strikeouts.

IMG_3130Todd Redmond had to do a little more work than Powell did. �He contended with Indians’ base runners in each of the first four innings. �RF Brandon Jones (photo), hitting in the 2-spot tonight, walked in the top of the 1st. �C Erik Kratz doubled to the left field wall to begin the 2nd inning, and he got as far as third base, with 2B Brian Friday on first with a walk. �The Braves had a scary moment, when Jeremy Powell grounded sharply back to the mound, where the ball ricocheted off Redmond (not sure what part of him) and to Thurston at second base. �Thurston threw to first to end the inning, and Redmond turned out to be not injured. �Brian Friday also singled in the 4th inning.

The Indians’ run came in the 3rd. �With one out, Brandon Jones lashed a triple to right field that missed being a home run by just a few feet. �1B Brian Myrow followed with a double over the head of CF Matt Young and all the way to the wall, easily scoring Jones. �That was all Redmond would allow, though. �After Friday’s single, Redmond retired the next 11 Indians’ batters in order. �He allowed only 4 hits and struck out 10 Indians’ batters.

Once the Braves had broken up the no-hitter, Steven Jackson, who just re-joined the club, relieved Powell. �Jackson worked around a single in the 8th, but did not allow a run.

Michael Dunn came on in relief of Redmond, and he was similarly effective. �He walked�Jose Tabata to begin the top of the 8th, then struck out the next three batters: �Jones, Myrow, and 3B Pedro Alvarez. That was Alvarez’s fourth strikeout of the game.

IMG_2584The Indians had one more chance at a rally in the top of the 9th. �With Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Braves, Erik Kratz (photo) led off another inning with a long double to left field. �Strikeouts to CF Brandon Moss and Brian Friday followed, with Indians’ manager getting tossed after Friday’s strikeout for arguing about strike zone issues. �Doug Bernier came in to pinch-run for Erik Kratz, but Bernier was tagged out for the final out of the game when SS Argenis Diaz grounded to third.

Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �The Indians had only 5 hits in the game, but two of them belonged to Erik Kratz — two doubles to the left field wall. �(Only one of the Tribe’s hits was a single — the one by Brian Friday.)

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Jeremy Powell taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning. �Wow. �(At least he didn’t lose the no-hitter because of poor umpiring!)

NOTES:

Roster moves: �Reliever Steven Jackson, who was optioned from the Pirates is, of course, with the team in Gwinnett. �In order to make room for Jackson on the roster, reliever Corey Hamman was removed from the Indians’ roster and moved to the State College roster. �This is probably a paper move, and Hamman may still be with the team, since State College doesn’t begin their season for a couple weeks yet.

Starter Jimmy Barthmaier is working his way back after Tommy John surgery. �He has made two rehab appearances in Bradenton (one hit and one run in 3 innings), and has now been moved up to Altoona to do some rehab with the Curve.

Brad Lincoln was originally supposed to make the start tonight, but he swapped days with Jeremy Powell because Powell had so little work lately. �Powell’s last start on Saturday was cut short due to a suspended game.

The Indianapolis Star featured an article about Erik Kratz today, by Andrew Astleford. � Check out the table at the bottom of the second page — there are two other former Indianapolis Indians there: �Chris Coste (2004), and Jason Childers (2002-04).

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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RBIs By Alvarez and Kratz Not Enough In Suspended Game; Friday Hits Big in Second Suspended Game

First, the Indians had to finish up yesterdays’ game — suspended due to rain. �Then they had to play a 7-inning game for today.

Gwinnett Braves �4, �Indianapolis Indians �3 � (suspended, now finished) (box)

IMG_0462Home runs were the key in the first part of this game, which was started on Monday night — read more about it here. Gwinnett’s Barbaro Canizares started the scoring with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. �Indians’ LF Brandon Moss knocked a solo homer in the top of the 2nd, and Braves’ Alex Romero answered with a solo blast to lead off the bottom of the inning.

The Braves were leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the 4th. �Starter Daniel McCutchen (photo) got into trouble quickly, when LF Matt Young bounced a weird hop off 2B Argenis Diaz’s shoulder for an error. �Alex Romero walked, putting runners on first and second, as the rain got serious. �A double steal moved the runners to second and third. �SS Brandon Hicks came to the plate and had a 1-2 count on him when the game was halted.

McCutchen finished with 3 innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks. �Two of those hits and runs came on homers. �McCutchen threw 58 pitches, 30 for strikes.

When the game resumed on Tuesday, Anthony Claggett took over for McCutchen, inheriting two runners on base and a 1-2 count on Hicks at the plate. �Claggett threw two balls, but then got Hicks to ground out easily to Pedro Alvarez at third, with the runners forced to hold their positions. �C Clint Sammons bounced to first base, where 1B Brian Myrow scooped and fired back home, where C Erik Kratz tagged out the lead runner Young at the plate. �Claggett ended the inning with a strikeout, escaping the jam without letting a run score.

IMG_2330The Braves scored again in the 5th inning. �CF Jordan Schafer lined a single into center field, and when Claggett tried to pick him off first base, the throw hit Schafer. �After taking a few minutes to make sure he was ok, Schafer popped up and stole second base on the next pitch. �A sacrifice bunt by 3B Wes Timmons moved Schafer to third base, and a single lined into left field brought him home. �Braves up, 4-1.

The Indians rallied in the top of the 6th. �CF Jon Van Every led off with a walk. �He moved to second base, then on to third, on ground outs by Argenis Diaz and Brian Myrow. �Pedro Alvarez smacked a double to deep center field, to plate Van Every. �Erik Kratz (photo) followed with a single slipped through the hole and into left field, and Alvarez raced around third to score. �That put the Tribe within one run of the Braves, at 4-3. �The rally ended when RF Brandon Jones grounded out.

Anthony Claggett also pitched the 6th inning, allowing only a walk. �He came out to begin the 7th inning, and got a strikeout, before turning the ball over to Justin Thomas. Claggett�finished with 3.1 innings of work, allowing one run on 2 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. �Thomas finished the 7th inning with two quick outs, a strikeout and a fly out. �Brian Bass came on to pitch the 8th, working around a lead-off single to keep the Braves scoreless again.

After their two runs in the 6th, the Indians managed only one base runner for the rest of the game. �Manager Frank Kremblas decide not to use a pinch-hitter for Anthony Claggett. �Batting for himself, Claggett worked the count full then took a walk. �He moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there at the end of the inning. �The Indians went down in order in the 8th and 9th innings, including three strikeouts.

IMG_2328Argenis Diaz was the only Tribe batter to have 2 hits in the game (both singles). �Daniel McCutchen was charged with the loss, his second of the season with the Tribe.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Brandon Moss’s (photo) solo home run, which put the Indians on the scoreboard in the 2nd inning.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the bottom of the 3rd inning, with one out and Joe Thurston on first base, Barbaro Canizares bounced a slow roller to Pedro Alvarez at third. �Alvarez grabbed it on the second hop, then fired to second base, where 2B Brian Friday made the pivot and threw on to first base for the inning-ending double play, which cut short the Braves’ rally.

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Indians Suspended Yet Again — More Rain

Gwinnett Braves �3, �Indianapolis Indians 1 �– bottom of the 4th (box)

IMG_2600Yes, it’s happened again. �For the fourth time in less than two weeks, the Indians have had to stop in the middle of a game — suspended due to rain again.

The Indians and Braves traded home runs as this 4-game series got started under threatening skies in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Jon Van Every (photo) was traded back to the Pirates this morning after being designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox, and he wasted no time returning to the Indians. �He was put right into the starting line-up and was busy patrolling center field this evening. �He has not been doing much in the way of baseball activities for the past 10 days or so, though, so it isn’t a big surprise that he struck out in his first two times at bat.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, Tribe starter Daniel McCutchen got two fly outs on the first two batters he faced, then walked 2B Joe Thurston and gave up a 2-run homer to 1B Barbaro Canizares to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. �McCutchen seemed a little rattled, or maybe a little angry, and he walked the next batter, LF Matt Young. �But he turned the anger right back at the Braves, as he picked Young off first base to end the inning.

LF Brandon Moss got one of the runs right back in the top of the 2nd, with his own home run, which sailed over the right-center field wall. �Gwinnett’s RF Alex Romero returned the favor in the bottom of the frame, with a lead-off homer, to keep the Braves ahead by 2 runs, 3-1.

IMG_3022The Indians could not get much going over the next two innings. �SS Argenis Diaz singled for the second time in the 3rd inning, and when he saw RF Romero fumble the ball in right field, Diaz decided to try for second base. �But Romero recovered quickly and his throw to second base was right on target, and Diaz was tagged out at second.

Daniel McCutchen (photo) gave up a single to Thurston in the 3rd, but he got the better of Canizares this time, inducing him to ground into a double play. �3B Pedro Alvarez made an excellent scoop of the grounder on the second hop, then fired to second base to begin an around-the-horn double play, Alvarez to 2B Brian Friday to 1B Brian Myrow.

McCutchen was getting into trouble in the 4th inning when the rains came. �Matt Young reached base when his bouncer to short took an unusual hop, skipped off Argenis Diaz’s shoulder, and dribbled over behind second base, for an error on Diaz. � Alex Romero worked the count full, then walked, and both runners pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third base. �McCutchen had a 1-2 count on SS Brandon Hicks in the pouring rain, when the umpires sent the players off the field and called for the tarp.

The rain had not let up after more than 90 minutes, and the game has been suspended. �It will be resumed on Tuesday at 6:05 pm, and the full 9 innings will be played. �Then Tuesday’s regular game will follow, and that will be a 7-inning game. �This is not going to help the Indians, particularly their bullpen. �The Tribe had been hoping that McCutchen would be able to pitch deep into this game, sparing the bullpen. �The relievers will get the day off, but doing it this way doesn’t help much, since they’ll have to make it up with two games tomorrow.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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