IMG_2636Chapman was all over the place in the first two innings. �He walked lead-off man CF Jose Tabata, though before he even began to pitch to the next batter, Chapman picked Tabata off first base. �He got RF Neil Walker to strike out, then gave up a single into right field to 3B Pedro Alvarez. Chapman walked 1B Steve Pearce, then both Alvarez and Pearce advanced one base on a wild pitch. �The inning ended when Brandon Moss struck out. �All that took Chapman 27 pitches.

The 2nd inning began with a ringing double into the deep part of center field by C Luke Carlin. SS Doug Bernier walked, then with 2B Brian Friday at the plate, Carlin stole second. �It was an easy steal, because Chapman was generally ignoring base runners for most of the time he was on the mound. �His catcher, Wilkin Castillo, came up throwing, but his throw to third went wide and into left field, allowing Carlin to score an unearned run, and putting Bernier on second base.

Bernier also stole third base, and this time, Castillo did not even make a throw. �But Chapman struck out both Friday and Tribe starter Jeff Karstens, then got Tabata to bounce back to the mound for the third out. �That second inning took another 24 innings, and Chapman was getting close to his pitch limit quickly.

IMG_2649Chapman appeared to have twisted his ankle when he went scrambling after Tabata’s grounder, and seemed to be walking very carefully as he left the mound and headed for the dugout. �When it was time for him to make his first-ever plate appearance in the top of the 3rd, though, he was just fine. �He did not look like those pitchers who just stand there with a bat waving over the shoulder, positioned as far away from the plate as is possible while still standing in the batters’ box. �Chapman waved the bat menacingly, and took the first pitch for a strike. �He swung hard at the second pitch and hit a loud foul ball into the third base stands. �He swung hard at the third pitch, and missed completely, then turned and raced laughing back to his dugout. �Chapman got another try as the lead-off batter in the 5th. �He ran the count full, fouled off two more pitches, then slipped a grounder just out of SS Doug Bernier’s reach and into left field for his first professional hit.

Chapman went on to walk two more batters — Steve Pearce again in the 3rd, and Pedro Alvarez in the 5th. �Another wild pitch let Pearce advance to second base. �He also gave up a single to Brian Friday in the 4th inning. �He struck out 4 more Tribe batters, including Brandon Moss to begin the 6th inning. �That was when he hit the 95-pitch point, and he got a nice round of applause from the Reds-friendly Victory Field crowd.

IMG_2646Unfortunately, the Indians’ batters did not fare much better after Chapman departed. �They did not go down 1-2-3 in any inning, getting at least one base runner in each inning. �But like yesterday, it isn’t just about getting the man on base, it’s also about getting the base runners around to cross the plate. �Luke Carlin singled again to greet Chapman’s relief, Chad Reineke, in the 6th. �Jose Tabata also singled off Reineke in the 7th. �Steve Pearce and Carlin both walked in the 8th. �The Tribe loaded the bases in the 9th inning, with a walk to pinch-hitter Brian Myrow, a double by Neil Walker, and a walk to Pearce. �That was the Indians’ best chance of scoring, but again, they could not get a run across, as Pedro Alvarez struck out, and Brandon Moss grounded to second to end the game. � The Indians collected 6 hits, including the doubles by Carlin and Walker. �They worked 9 walks, including 4 walks to Pearce. �That added up to 13 runners left on base.

Photo: �Jeff Karstens had to bat too. �He struck out twice.

IMG_2631Jeff Karstens (photo) made a spot start for the Indians. �Chris Jakubauskas was originally going to get the start today, but he will be on his way to the Pirates, who are in desperate need of pitching help. �Karstens retired 9 of the first 10 batters he faced in the first three innings. �The only one who was not retired was Wilkin Castillo, who blasted his first homer of the season over the right field wall in the 3rd inning, to tie the score at 1-1.

The 4th inning was Karsten’s downfall. �CF Chris Heisey lashed a single into left field to open the inning. �After a strikeout, 3B Juan Francisco, who had been hitting .077 to begin the game, doubled into the left-center field alley, scoring Heisey with the go-ahead run. �2B Chris Valaika grounded to deep behind the third base bag. �Pedro Alvarez dove to his right and stopped the ball from going into the outfield, then hopped to his knees to get off a throw to first base. �The throw was not in time, and Valaika was safe at first, with Francisco scoring from third base with an insurance run. �Karstens gave up another single to LF Todd Frazier before ending the inning with a fly out.

That was all for Karstens — 3 runs on 6 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts in 5 innings. �He was relieved by Steven Jackson, but not for long.

IMG_2653Juan Francisco, who had just 2 hits this season prior to tonight, led off the top of the 6th with a solo home run off Jackson. �The first pitch to the next batter, SS Zack Cozart, plunked Cozart on the shoulder. �Home plate umpire Stephen Barga immediately jumped out from behind the plate and ejected Jackson. �Manager Frank Kremblas argued with Barga (and you can tell by the photo that Barga wasn’t having any of it), but to no avail. �Jackson and Kremblas went into the dugout, Luke Carlin returned to the plate… and no one else moved. �None of the relief pitchers down in the bullpen moved a muscle, and no one on the dugout bench did so much as blink. �After two or three minutes of that, Kremblas finally signalled to the bullpen, where Anthony Claggett came in to warm up.

Claggett retired three batters to finish the 6th, then gave up a run on a single, a stolen base, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly in the 7th. �That gave Louisville a 5-1 lead. �Justin Thomas surrendered two more in the 8th, on three singles, including an RBI single by Castillo, then a throwing error by Doug Bernier. �Jean Machi pitched the 9th inning, and allowed a walk, but kept his hitless streak alive.

IMG_2654Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Luke Carlin’s double off Aroldis Chapman to lead off the 2nd inning.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Pedro Alvarez’s diving stop of Chris Valaika’s sharp grounder behind third was very nice, even though his throw to first was not in time. �The throw was on target, though.

NOTES:

Doug Bernier was activated off the Disabled List today, and this game was his Indians’ debut.

Chris Jakubauskas was called up to the Pirates, where he will be used in long relief. �Kevin Hart was also called up, and he will get the start for the Pirates on Saturday — that had been a subject of big debate.

Go Tribe!

(Photos by Nancy)

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