Don’t worry, it’s not even close to being done yet. �With one out in the top of the 3rd, Brian Myrow dropped a single into left field, and Pedro Alvarez followed with a blast over the center field wall for a 2-run homer to bring the Indians again within one run of the Clippers. �1B Steve Pearce followed with a double, and Neil Walker walked. �At that point, Luke Carlin entered the game, replacing Erik Kratz, who appeared to have been injured on a foul tip at the end of the 2nd inning. �(No word at this point as to exactly what Kratz’s injury was or how serious it is.) �Carlin rose to the challenge of his first time at-bat for the Indians with an RBI single into right field, scoring Pearce, and the score was tied, 5-5.
Not tied for long, though. �In the bottom of the 3rd, Brian Buscher fouled off a series of pitches by Brad Lincoln, then lifted a long fly ball over the center field wall. �The Clippers were back on top, 6-5. �The Indians came right back at them, with 2 runs in the top of the 4th. �Jose Tabata and Jon Van Every led off with back-to-back doubles, and Brian Myrow followed with a single to score Van Every. �That chased Columbus starter Hector Rondon, who had allowed 7 runs on 10 hits in his 3+ innings. �Reliever Josh Tomlin came on in relief and walked both Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker to load the bases with one out. �Luke Carlin almost had a sacrifice fly, but Clippers’ RF Chris Gimenez made a long throw to the first base side of the plate, and C Carlos Santana lunged across the dish to just barely tap the not-all-that-speedy Myrow as he tagged up and tried to score. �Indians up, 7-5.
Brad Lincoln began the bottom of the 4th by getting Jose Constanza to ground to between short and third. �Pedro Alvarez, moving to his left, got the ball into his glove but dropped it. �He had to turn his back to first base to find the ball at his feet, and by the time he threw to first, Constanza had already crossed the bag. �Lincoln got LF Trevor Crowe to line out, and at that point he had thrown 82 pitches (53 strikes), which was about his limit for tonight. �Jeff Karstens took over for Lincoln, and moments later, he gave up a long fly ball to Carlos Santana. �The ball again bounced off the top of the wall, but unlike his bomb in the 1st inning, this time the hop went the other way, and Santana had a 2-run home run — his third homer in 2 games. �Columbus ahead again, 8-7. �Lincoln’s final numbers look ugly, but he was not going to factor into the decision: �7 runs, 5 earned runs, on 8 hits, with one walk and 4 strikeouts, and 3 home runs allowed, for a 13.50 ERA.
In the top of the 5th, the Indians caught up again and even made a little headway. �Brian Friday opened the inning with a ground ball to third base, but the throw to first was low and got past 1B Wes Hodges. �It was ruled a single. �Friday stole second base, then moved to third on a ground out by Jose Tabata. �With 2 outs, the Indians got busy. �Jon Van Every walked, and Brian Myrow slipped a single through into left field, scoring Friday to tie the score again (8-8). �Pedro Alvarez slammed his second home run of the game over the right-center field wall to give the Indians an 11-8 lead and tie Carlos Santana with 3 homers in the first 2 games. �Steve Pearce again followed Alvarez’s homer with a double, and Neil Walker brought Pearce in with an RBI single. �The Indians had a big step up and led 12 -8.
Nope. �Still not over. �Columbus came back with 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th. �Wes Hodges doubled, Brian Buscher walked, and both moved up one base on a passed ball by Luke Carlin. �After a walk to Chris Gimenez, Trevor Crowe brought two runs in with a single into center field, and Jason Donald’s RBI single scored Gimenez. �Indians still up, but the Clippers were closer: 12-11.
Jon Van Every gave the Indians a little more breathing room in the top of the 6th, with a solo home run. �Then Jeff Karstens did something that had not yet happened for either team in the game: �he retired the side in order in the bottom of the 6th. �In the bottom of the 7th, reliever Brian Bass, in his first appearance with the Indians, did something almost as good: �he gave up a walk, but then erased the runner when Jose Constanza grounded back to the mound and Bass was able to start a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning and keep the Clippers from scoring for the second inning in a row. �The Indians added another run in the top of the 7th, when Luke Carlin and Brian Friday hit back-to-back doubles. �Friday’s double bounced off the warning track, in center field, with the Columbus outfielders in pursuit, then bounced off the center field wall, for the RBI. �Indians ahead 14 – 11.
Things slowed down for the Tribe in the top of the 8th — or rather, the pace of the game picked up. �The Indians put two runners on base, with Pedro Alvarez reaching on a fielding error and Steve Pearce working a walk. �Both were left stranded, though, and the Indians’ string of 6 consecutive scoring innings was broken. �The Indians went down in order in the top of the 9th — the first time in the game they had done that. �In the bottom of the 8th, Columbus added another run when Trevor Crowe led off with a solo home run. �Brian Bass then retired the next three batters to end the 8th. �Indians holding tough, 14 – 12.
The bottom of the 9th featured another clever double play by the Indians. �Bass gave up a lead-off single to Wes Hodges. �The Indians elected to have Steve Pearce hold Hodges on first base, which put him in perfect position to snatch up the grounder hit along the first base line by Brian Buscher. �Pearce whirled with his back to the infield (because he’s right-handed) and fired to second base forcing out Hodges, then Pearce scrambled to the first base bag to catch the come-back throw from Argenis Diaz for the 3-6-3 double play. �Finally, a ground out to second base ended the marathon game, which lasted 3 hours 52 minutes.
Jeff Karstens earned the win, with 2.2 innings of work. �He allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, and struck out one. �Brian Bass earned a save by pitching 3 innings and allowing one run on a homer, plus one other hit and a walk, with 2 strikeouts. �Each member of the Tribe lineup except for Argenis Diaz and Erik Kratz had at least 2 hits. �Kratz had only one at-bat before having to leave the game, so his home run was his only hit. �Diaz did not have a hit but he walked once. �Brian Myrow went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and also walked twice. �The Clippers only got him out one time.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �Home runs! �Two by Pedro Alvarez, one for 2 runs and one from 3 runs, to lead the RBI parade with 5. �Erik Kratz and Jon Van Every �also each had a home run. �After the game, Alvarez said that he was “looking gor a pitch that I could hit, and stay aggressive.” �(He also said that he has been confident in his defense work, but knows that it’s something that he needs to keep working on each day. )
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: �Three double plays. �One was kind of routine — a 1-6-3 double play, Bass to Diaz to Pearce, in the 7th. �One was more slick — a 1-2-3 double play, Lincoln to Kratz to Pearce in the 1st inning, to get Lincoln out of a bases-loaded situation and prevent any further runs from scoring. �The coolest, and most difficult double play was the 3-6-3 double play, Pearce to Diaz and back to Pearce in the bottom of the 9th. �That shut down the Clipper’s last chance at a rally so that the Indians could hold on for the win.
OF Brandon Jones was initially in the lineup for tonight, but was a last-minute scratch, with Jon Van Every inserted in his place. �No word about why Jones was pulled.
UPDATE: Jones had a reaction to his contact lens solution. �That could mess things up for him for a few days. �Erik Kratz seems to have a mild hamstring problem and will probably need to be out for a day or two.
The Indians’ home opener is in one week — April 16th at 7:15 pm against the Toledo Mudhens. �The Indians are again having a “60 Degree Guarantee” for Opening Day. �If the game-time temperature is 59 degrees or less, everyone in attendance will get a free ticket to another game in April. �There will also be fireworks after the game.