Tough Day For Ciriaco And The Indians

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Joe Beimel pitched one quick inning

Toledo Mud Hens  4,  Indianapolis Indians  2
(box score

It was a beautiful afternoon at Victory Field, with sunny skies and a little wind, but not a happy afternoon for the Indianapolis Indians, who lost the second game of a short 2-game series to the Toledo Mud Hens.  Even with the wind blowing in for most of the game, two Mud Hens and one Indian were able to blast home runs, and those accounted for half of each team’s runs.  

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Brian Burres (photo) got the start for the Indians.  He gave up just two hits over his first 5 innings — but both of those were solo home runs.  The first homer came off the bat of LF Scott Thorman with one out in the top of the 2nd inning, sailing over the right field wall.  RF Andrew Lambo made a leap — but he would have had to have been another 6 feet taller to have had any chance.  Burres hit SS Cale Iorg with a pitch (right foot) after the homer, then retired the next 9 batters he faced.  With one out in the 5th, CF Clete Thomas also homered over the right field wall.  

The Indians had managed just 3 hits off Toledo starter Andy Oliver by the end of the 5th inning.  LF Alex Presley slipped a single through the hole into right field in the top of the 1st, but was left on base.  2B Pedro Ciriaco walked on 4 pitches and stole second base in the 3rd, but he was not careful taking his lead off second base and was caught too far away from the base.  A brief rundown, 1-5-4-1, and he was out.  

SS Chase d’Arnaud (photo below) led off the 4th inning with a low liner down the right field line.  The ball bounced under the bench in the Mud Hens’ bullpen, and RF Andy Dirks just looked at the bench and lifted his arms into the air.  Sorry, Dirks, this isn’t the Wrigley Field ivy — the bullpen benches in Victory Field are in play, and you don’t get to just bail out like that.  He realized his mistake after a couple of seconds, and dove under the bench for the ball, but by then IMG_5130d’Arnaud had rounded second and was heading into third base.  Unfortunately, the Indians could not take advantage of the man on third and no outs.  Oliver struck out both Presley and DH Andy Marte, then got 1B Matt Hague to ground out, leaving d’Arnaud still on third.  

3B Josh Harrison had the only home run for the Indians.  With one out in the bottom of the 5th, he blasted another long fly ball to the left field wall — just a little to the left and two feet further than his bomb last night, which ended up bouncing on the narrow top of the scoreboard.  This one definitely went over the wall, onto the grass, and into the hands of some of the students who were sitting on the berm.  

The only other Indians’ batter to reach base against Oliver was CF Gorkys Hernandez, who got on when his grounder to second skipped up and off the glove of 2B Scott Sizemore.  Hernandez stole second base, but a short fly out and two strikeouts left him stranded.  Oliver struck out a total of 8 Indians’ hitters in his 6 innings of work. He allowed one walk along with those 3 hits, and he threw 101 pitches (65 strikes). 

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Tribe Come Within Inches Again

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Pitching coach Tom Filer, catcher Wyatt Toregas, and pitcher Justin Wilson

Columbus Clippers  8,  Indianapolis Indians  7
(box score)

For the third night in a row, the Indians were down by one run in the bottom of the last inning with at least one runner on base — and couldn’t capitalize.  In addition, it was Pedro Ciriaco who was the last man to bat in each game.  That’s not to place the blame for the losses on Ciriaco — other players had also had opportunities to drive in runs and were not able too.  It’s just an odd coincidence that Ciriaco ended the three games with a grounder into a double play, a ground out, and tonight a pop out.  

IMG_5009Like in the first two games, the Clippers were first onto the scoreboard.  Indians’ starter Justin Wilson (photo) retired the first 8 batters he faced, including 5 strikeouts, with 4 of those in a row.  He struck out the side in the 2nd inning, then struck out the first batter of the 3rd inning.  Like the first two games, this game featured a diving catch of a low line drive by the Indians’ shortstop.  In the first two games, that shortstop was Ciriaco; tonight it was Chase d’Arnaud, who recorded the second out in the 3rd inning.  The Clipper’s ninth batter, RF Jerad Head, then rocketed Wilson’s 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field for a solo homer.  Wilson then walked the next batter, CF Ezequiel Carrera, who promptly stole second base on the first pitch to the SS Cord Phelps.  Phelps slipped a grounder up the middle, just out of reach of d’Arnaud, and Carrera came around to score from second.  A walk to 3B Lonnie Chisenhall prompted a visit by pitching coach Tom Filer (photo above).  After catching his breath, Wilson got a fly out to end the inning.
 
Wilson also had to work around base runners in the 4th inning.  After another strikeout, Wilson gave up an infield single to 1B Jordan Brown.  Brown grounded back to the mound, and the ball tipped off Wilson’s glove and over towards short.  SS d’Arnaud had to change his direction, but he got to the ball and made a rushed throw to first.  The throw pulled 1B Matt Hague off base, though it appeared that Brown might have beat the ball to the bag anyway.  DH Wes Hodges also tapped back to the mound, where Wilson whirled and threw to second, forcing out Brown.  But 2B Brian Friday’s throw on to first went wide, and Hodges was safe.  C Paul Phillip walked, but then Head grounded to short, and the inning ended on the force out at second base.  

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More Reassignments And Another Loss

Rays  9,  Pirates  5
The Pirates out-hit the Rays 10-9 this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Florida, but the Rays made the most of their opportunities and took the win.  The Pirates got busy in the top of the 1st, when Pedro Ciriaco, in center field again, opened the game with a single, then stole base.  He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on C Ryan Doumit’s double into right field.  RF Matt Diaz started the top of the 2nd with a single, and advanced to third base on a throwing error.  He scored on a wild pitch.  1B Andy Marte doubled, was bunted over to third base, and scored on starting pitcher Charlie Morton’s soft looper single into left field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.  
The lead did not last long.  Morton got out of the first inning with a double play, but began the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a double, a bunt, and a hi batter.  A 2-RBI double and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for the Rays to tie the game.  The Pirates took the lead again in the 4th.  Marte led off with a single into right field, and 2B Corey Wimberly reached on a fielding error.  Morton bunted them up one base each, then both scored on SS Josh Rodriguez’s line drive single into right.  
Morton sailed through the bottom half of the 3rd and 4th innings, but loaded the bases again in the 5th, on a walk and two singles.  Then he got wild and forced in one run with a hit batter, and a second run with a walk, and the game was again tied, at 5-5.  Morton got out of the inning with two fly outs, and a force out at the plate on a little dribbler that did not leave the home plate area.  
Joel Hanrahan took over on the mound for the 6th inning.  He retired the first two batters he faced, then walked the next two.  A wild pitch moved the two runners up to second and third base, then an RBI single brought in both runners, giving the Rays a 7-5 lead.  Jose Veras pitched a perfect 7th inning, with one strikeout.  The Rays scored 2 more runs off Chris Resop in the 8th inning.  A double, and a bunt back to the mound that turned into a single, put two runners on base.  A sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a triple plated the second.  

2B Gift Ngoepe led off the top of the 9th with a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer singled through to left field, but both were left on base.  LF Evan Chambers, 3B Andy Vasquez, RF Robby Grossman, and 1B Matt Hague also got into the game. 

The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this afternoon in Bradenton.  No word as yet — results from the minor league camp can be hit or miss.

The Pirates pared down their camp roster by four more this morning.  Pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he could either be a starter or pitch in long relief.  Relievers Tyler Yates and Sean Gallagher were also reassigned to minor league camp, and are both expected to go to the Indy Indians’ bullpen.  C Wyatt Toregas and INF Josh Fields were also reassigned to minor league camp.  

Pitcher Fernando Nieve, who was reassigned to the minor league camp on Monday and released on Tuesday, was not unemployed for long.  On Thursday, he signed a minor league contract with the Astros.  

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Crotta Has A Good Inning; Indy Indians Lose Second Game

Blue Jays 5,  Pirates  3
The Pirates lost to the Blue Jays at McKechnie Field this afternoon.   
Pitchers Mike Crotta, Chris Resop, and Joel Hanrahan each pitched a scoreless inning for the Pirates, with both Crotta and Hanrahan retiring the side in order.  Crotta was aided by a leaping catch by SS Pedro Ciriaco.  Starter Paul Maholm pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs — a solo homer in the 1st, then a 2-run homer in the 3rd.  Another run scored in the 3rd on a walk, a stolen base and a single.  Jose Veras allowed one run in the 8th on two singles and a sacrifice bunt, but he struck out the last two batters he faced to get out of the inning.

2B Neil Walker tied the score in the bottom of the 1st with his second home run of the spring.  1B Lyle Overbay and RF Garrett Jones added a run in the 4th.  Overbay walked, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch.  Jones’ single through the right side of the infield brought Overbay across the plate.  The Blue Jays helped with the Pirates’ final run in the 8th.  With two outs, CF Corey Wimberly singled up the middle, and he also moved up to second base on a wild pitch.   Three straight walks, to 3B Josh Rodriguez, pinch-hitter Andy Marte, and Jones, forced in Wimberly.  The Pirates tried a last-minute rally in the 9th, when C Wyatt Toregas singled and 2B Jordy Mercer walked.  A fly out by Wimberly ended the rally, though.  

Also in the game today:  LF Josh Fields, C Dusty Brown, RF John Bowker


 In Minor League Camp: 
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs  6,  Indianapolis Indians  5
The Indians had an early lead, as they faced Phillies’ star Roy Halladay this afternoon.  DH Tony Sanchez picked up 2 RBI with a timely double in the 1st inning, and C Travis Scott added an RBI double in the 2nd inning.  The Indians had runners on first and third in the 5th inning, when RF Miles Durham (on third) and DH Gorkys Hernandez (on first) pulled off a double steal, for the Indians’ fourth run off Halladay.  2B Christian Colonel made it 5-3 in the top of the 8th with a solo home run.  But the Iron Pigs tied the score with 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th, taking advantage of two Tribe errors and a sacrifice fly.  Reliever Anthony Claggett then surrendered a double, which drove in the go-ahead run and gave Claggett the loss.  

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Two More Rounds Of Reassignments, Plus Game Notes

Catching up after being away for a few days…

On Saturday, the Pirates sent four pitchers to minor league camp:
RHP Bryan Morris and RHP Kyle McPherson, both on the 40-man roster, were optioned down, with Morris going to AAA Indianapolis and McPherson going to A+ Bradenton.   
Two lefties, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, were also sent to the minor league camp, and though their exact level is still not official, both should begin the season with the Indy Indians.  

More moves were made today:
From the 40-man roster–
LHP Jeff Locke, LHP Aaron Thompson, and RHP Ramon Aguero were optioned to AA Altoona 
LHP Daniel Moskos and LHP Tony Watson were optioned to Indianapolis
Outfielders Gorkys Hernandez and Alex Presley were optioned to Indianapolis
Moskos and Presley both spent part of 2010 with Indianapolis, while Watson and Hernandez will make their debut at the AAA level.  Locke, Aguero, and Thompson all spent part of 2010 with Altoona.

Not on the 40-man yet –
Infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Brian Friday and outfielder Andrew Lambo were reassigned to minor league camp.  Friday played in Indianapolis for most of 2010 and should return there.  D’Arnaud and Lambo were in Altoona for 2010;  Lambo is ready for AAA, though d’Arnaud may be asked to go back to Altoona for part of 2011.  

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