Indians Move Above .500 With 6th Straight Win

Indianapolis Indians �4, �Pawtucket Red Sox �1 (box)

IMG_0549The Indianapolis Indians held the PawSox to 5 hits as they earned their 6th straight win tonight. �The win moves them above the .500 mark, with an 11-10 record. �It was warmer in Pawtucket tonight than in the past couple of days, which could only help matters as far as the Indians were concerned.

Both C Luke Carlin and CF Jose Tabata recorded 2 hits each for the Indians, and four Indians contributed RBI: �Tabata, LF Neil Walker, DH Brian Myrow, and SS Brian Friday. Every member of the lineup had at least one hit, except for 3B Pedro Alvarez.

Daniel McCutchen (photo), who was recently reassigned to the Indians,� made his first AAA start of the season, and he was impressive. �McCutchen threw 103 pitches (62 strikes), and scattered 5 hits over 7 innings of work. �Pawtucket DH Josh Reddick had the most success against McCutchen, when he singled with two outs in the 3rd inning (but was thrown out trying to steal second), and homered to lead off the 6th inning. �SS Angel Sanchez doubled off McCutchen in the 4th and singled in the 6th, but both times was left stranded at the end of the inning. �McCutchen also walked two batters and hit one, but left all of them on base too.

The Indians’ batters got started with their scoring in the top of the 1st. �Jose Tabata began the game with a single into center field, and when Pawtucket CF Bubba Bell threw wildly back into the infield, Tabata advanced to second base. �Brian Myrow brought him in from second base with a double ripped into right field. �The Tribe added a second run in the 2nd inning. �With one out, Luke Carlin crushed a 3-1 pitch into the right field corner, and raced all the way to third base when RF Matt Sheely had trouble coming up with the ball. �Brian Friday followed with a sacrifice fly, and Carlin scored easily, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

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Walker Leads Come-From-Behind Tribe Win

Indianapolis Indians 10, �Pawtucket Red Sox 9 (box)

IMG_2374It was a dreary, rainy, frigid afternoon in Rhode Island this afternoon, but it probably looked quite sunny to Tribe LF Neil Walker (photo). He began the day with a solo home run in his first at-bat in the top of the first inning, and he ended the day with a line drive single into center field, which drove in the game-winning run, giving the Tribe their fifth win in a row. �It also moved the Indians back to .500 (10-10), where they hadn’t been since April 12th, just 4 games into the season.

Kevin Hart made the start for the Indians. �After retiring Pawtucket in order in the bottom of the 1st, including two strikeouts, Hart struggled mightily. �The second inning began with a double by 2B Tug Hulett, on a ball that fooled Tribe RF Brandon Moss, going over his head and to the wall. �A quick out, then a walk to C Dusty Brown and a single to 3B Jorge Jimenez loaded the bases. �Moss got the ball back to the infield quickly on Jimenez’s hit, so the lead runner Hulett was held at third base. �It didn’t matter, though, as RF Bubba Bell lined a single in to center field, scoring both Hulett and Brown to take the lead. �Bell stole second base, and SS Ryan Khoury singled next, driving in Jimenez, and moving Bell to third base. �CF Josh Reddick dropped down a bunt, meant to get Bell in from third, but the ball dropped foul, rolled into fair territory, rolled away from the grass, then stopped right on the chalk line, which is where C Erik Kratz picked it up. �Bell did not take off from third, though Khoury did advance to second base, and again the bases were loaded. �Hart struck out LF Daniel Nava, then walked DH Angel Sanchez forced in the fourth run of the inning. �Finally, a ground out by Hulett ended the inning — 10 batters to the plate, 4 runs in, and 39 pitches from Hart.

IMG_2659The Indians got two of the runs back in the top of the 3rd. �SS Brian Friday led off with a walk, and CF Jose Tabata brought him in with a triple off the top of the wall in center field. �Neil Walker collected his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to plate Tabata, and the Indians were within one run, 4-3.

But when Hart (photo) went back out to begin the bottom of the 3rd, he got into trouble again when the first four batters reached base. �A single by 1B Aaron Bates bounced just base the outstretched glove of SS Argenis Diaz and into left field. �Hart then threw 8 straight balls, walking both Dusty Brown and Jorge Jimenez. �Bubba Bell slipped a single through the hole and into right field, bringing in Bates and leaving the bases still loaded. �That was all for Hart, who exited having thrown 68 pitches, half for strikes. Steven Jackson, who had finished serving his suspension for hitting a batter last Thursday night, came on to relieve Hart. �The first batter Jackson faced was Khoury, who grounded to third base. �It was tailor-made for a 5-2 play back to the plate to force out the lead runner, and maybe even a double play if Kratz could throw on to first. �But, 3B Pedro Alvarez got excited and had trouble picking the ball out of his glove, then threw it over Kratz’s head. �Brown scored from third, and while Kratz was tracking down the ball behind him, Jimenez rounded third and scored too, just before Kratz could throw to Jackson, covering the plate. �The error was Alvarez’s fourth of the season, but the first throwing error.

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Pearce And Walker Take A Bat To The Bats

Indianapolis Indians 6, �Louisville Bats 1 (box)

IMG_2576The Indianapolis Indians made good use of their bats at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY tonight, not too far from where some of those bats may have been made. �The Tribe posted 15 hits, as RF Steve Pearce (photo) led the way with 4 hits, 2B Neil Walker had 3, and CF Jose Tabata and LF Brandon Moss contributing 2 hits each. �Even starting pitcher Brad Lincoln had a hit — a double in the 6th inning — on his way to his second win of the season.

The game got off to a very late start — almost 9 pm, as the game was delayed 1 hr 53 minutes by rain. �The Indians had only one hit over the first two innings — a single in the 2nd inning by Pearce. �Pearce saw the ball skip off the hand of Bats’ SS Zack Cozart, who was trying to do a bare-handed pick up, and when the ball went into short left field, Pearce tried for second base — unsuccessfully.

The Indians got onto the scoreboard in the 3rd, courtesy of a bases-clearing double by 2B Neil Walker. �C Luke Carlin led off the inning by working a walk. � SS Argenis Diaz, in his first game back from Pittsburgh, grounded to the right side of the infield, where it was stopped by Bats’ 3B Juan Francisco, but not in time to make a play. �Brad Lincoln bunted, but the ball was scooped up by pitcher Sam LeCure, who forced Carlin out at third base. �CF Jose Tabata walked next, loading the bases for Walker. �Walker doubled over the head of LF Todd Frazier, easily scoring Diaz and Lincoln. �Frazier took long enough tracking down the ball in left field that Tabata had time to race around from first base and score also. �Indians up 3-0.

The Bats got one of those runs back in the bottom of the 4th. �RF Chris Burke ripped a 1-2 pitch from Lincoln down the right field line, and when Steve Pearce had trouble picking up the ball, Burke cruised into third base with a triple. �The next batter, CF Chris Heisey, brought Burke in with a RBI grounder to short. �1B Danny Dorn followed with a double, but two fly outs to Neil Walker at second base ended the inning without further scoring.

IMG_2480The Tribe got that run back in the 5th. �With two outs, 1B Brian Myrow lined the first pitch he saw into right field, where Chris Burke couldn’t quite make the diving catch. �3B Pedro Alvarez also swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding it up the middle. �2B Chris Valaika kept the ball from going into the outfield, but did not have time to make a play. �Steve Pearce, who had singled again in the 4th inning, lashed his third hit of the game down the left field line for an RBI double, scoring Myrow. �Indians 4, Bats 1.

The Indians threatened in the 6th inning, when Brad Lincoln (photo) picked up that double into left field, his first hit of the season. �Tabata followed with a single lined into center field, and Lincoln sped around third base and headed for the plate. �The throw in from Heisey in center to Bats’ catcher Corky Miller was right on target. �Miller easily turned and tagged out Lincoln as he slid and tumbled across the plate. �It was not what most people want to see their starting pitcher doing.

“I thought I’d be held up because he (Tabata) hit the ball hard,” related Lincoln after the game. �”When I got to third, Frank (Manager Frank Kremblas, coaching at third base) was already waving me home. �I see Corky (Miller) moving to his right, he catches it… �I thought ‘I’ve got to do something here’, and I decided to slide. �I’ve done it before.”

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Walker and Kratz Supply All The Runs The Indians Need

Indianapolis Indians 6, �Louisville Bats 1 (box)

IMG_26592B Neil Walker and C Erik Kratz provided the in-game fireworks, which went along nicely with the post-game fireworks at Victory Field on Friday night. �Walker went 2-for-4 with a single and a double, and gave the Tribe 4 RBI, while Kratz hit a 2-run homer to account for the remaining Indians’ runs. �Kevin Hart (photo) made the start for the Indians and earned his first win of the season.

Bats’ starter Justin Lehr got through the first inning rather easily, walking 3B Pedro Alvarez but striking out two batters. �In the 2nd inning, Lehr gave up a one-out single to RF Brandon Moss. Kratz followed with a line drive that just cleared the left field wall, to land in a collection of kids on the grassy berm. �Indians 2, Bats 0.

Lehr got into trouble right away in the 3rd inning. �LF Jose Tabata (photo below) led off with a single lined into center field. �CF Jonathan Van Every grounded a single into right field, moving Tabata to second base. �Lehr got a little help from his catcher, Corky Miller, who caught Tabata with a big lead off second base, and fired across the diamond to pick him off the base.

IMG_2667Pedro Alvarez was next to reach base, when his grounder to short kicked off the glove of SS Zack Cozart. �1B Steve Pearce loaded the bases when he worked a walk. �That brought up Neil Walker. �Walker took the first pitch down the first base line and into the right field corner, to clear the bases and give the Indians a 5-0 lead. �Pearce came all the way around from first base to score, drawing the throw from RF Wladimir Balantien. �The throw to home was wide and Pearce was in easily, but C Corky Miller alertly relayed the throw to third base, where Walker had headed on the throw in from the outfield. �Miller’s throw was on time, and Walker was tagged out at third.

Lehr got out of a jam in the 4th inning. �Erik Kratz led off with a walk, and SS Brian Friday slipped a single through the hole and into left field. �Kevin Hart was batting for the first time this season in tonight’s game, and he had grounded to first in the 2nd inning. �Now in the 4th, with runners on first and second with no outs, it was time for a sacrifice. �Hart fouled off two bunt attempts, but on his third try, he dropped down a bunt that was a little too hard. �The ball landed to the left of the mound, within easy reach for Lehr. �Lehr fielded, whirled, and threw to third base, where Kratz was forced out. �Tabata still had two runners on for him, and he lined a single into left field. �Friday rounded third and headed for the plate, but the throw from LF Juan Francisco reached Corky Miller just a second before Friday. �Miller reached across the plate to tag Friday for the second out. �A strikeout ended the threat.

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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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