(Photo: �Hart in his first time at bat.)
Hart, who was making his third start of the season for the Indians, was pitching a solid game. �He scattered three singles and a walk over the first four innings, while striking out four Bats’ batters. �Then he retired the first two batters of the 5th inning. �Bats’ 3B Drew Sutton then smacked a 2-out double off the angled area of the left field wall, that nearly was a home run. �A second double followed, by CF Chris Heisey, also down the left field line, to score Sutton. �That was all Hart was going to allow, though, and the inning ended with a simple fly out.
Hart finished with 87 pitches (53 strikes) over 5 innings of work. �He gave up that one run on 5 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts.
The Tribe got that run back in the bottom of the 5th. �Pedro Alvarez led off with a double into right field. �After a strikeout by Steve Pearce, Neil Walker drove in Alvarez with a solid single into right field. �Indians 6, �Bats 1.
That was all for Justin Lehr, who left on the losing end, responsible for all 6 of the Indians’ runs, on 9 hits and 3 walks. �Federico Baez finished the 5th inning for the Bats, giving up a single to Brandon Moss, but then striking out two batters to end the inning. �He faced only 7 Tribe batters over the next two innings, allowing only a single to Jonathan Van Every. �Pinch-hitter Brandon Jones and Jose Tabata both hit 2-out singles in the bottom of the 8th to round out the Indians’ line score. �Tabata’s single zipped right back to the mound, where it popped off reliever Enerio Del Rosario’s glove and his shoulder and straight up into the air. �Del Rosario was unhurt, but he could not locate the ball when it came down, and that gave Tabata enough time to reach first safely. �It was moot, though, because a ground out by Van Every ended the inning without any further scoring.
(Photo: �Brandon Moss congratulates Erik Kratz on his home run.)
Steven Jackson took over for Kevin Hart to begin the 6th inning. �Jackson, who had thrown only 4 pitches yesterday before being ejected from the game, pitched 3 full innings tonight. �He gave up a lone hit in each inning, but worked around them, striking out 6 batters in the process. �Wil Ledezma made his second appearance for the Indians in the 9th. �He too gave up a single, but then got Drew Sutton to pop up to Steve Pearce at first to end the game.
The Indians and Bats are tied at one game each in this series, which will continue with one more game at Victory Field on Saturday, then will move to Louisville for two more games on Sunday and Monday.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Neil Walker’s 3-RBI double in the 3rd, with the added bonus of the RBI single in the 5th. �Four RBI for Walker, giving him a total of 9 RBI for the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the top of the 3rd inning, CF Chris Heisey dropped a bunt, perfectly placed just in front of the plate. �Erik Kratz pounced on the ball, then had to turn around and fire down to Steve Pearce at first base, but the throw was in time to beat Heisey.
The Pirates have optioned Argenis Diaz back to the Indians. �He had only been in Pittsburgh as a back-up for the infield while others were working out minor injuries. �He did get two pinch-hit appearances, both outs.
Starter Chris Jakubauskas was recalled by the Pirates, moving into Diaz’s roster spot. �It’s not clear yet when Jakubauskas will pitch for the Pirates, but probably some time this weekend.
(photos by Nancy)