IMG_2411After Walker’s homer and a strikeout by Van Every, 1B Brian Myrow lined a single into right field. �DH Pedro Alvarez also struck out, but RF Steve Pearce put a soft liner into center field. �The ball bounced far in front of Toledo’s CF Casper Wells, but when it got to Wells, he dropped it. �That let Pearce continue on to second base, and had manager Frank Kremblas waving Myrow around third and to the plate. �The throw from Wells came in to the cut-off man 2B Will Rhymes, but Rhymes seemed to hesitate just for a second before throwing to the plate. �His throw to (former Indy Indian) C Robinzon Diaz was so high that Diaz had to leap to reach it, and Myrow slid in to the plate safely (photo).
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C Erik Kratz led off the 2nd inning with a double to the deep part of left-center field. �SS Brian Friday bunted Kratz over to third base, and 2B Argenis Diaz found himself batting against a drawn-in infield. �Diaz slipped a grounder up the middle and past everyone, driving in Kratz from third.
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IMG_2437The Indians continued the run in the 3rd inning, when Myrow led off with a walk. �After another strikeout by Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce grounded to third base, and it should have been an inning-ending double play. �Myrow was forced out at second, but the throw to first base was low, and Pearce was safe at first. �With Pearce standing at first base, the Indians’ radio announcers told us that Pearce was no threat to steal a base… and about 5 seconds later, Pearce stole second base. �The throw to second base beat Pearce easily (which is why he really is not much of a threat to steal), but the tag missed him completely. �That meant that when Brandon Moss blasted his home run over the 362′ sign and in front of the jumbo-tron scoreboard, Pearce came in too, and gave the Indians a 5-0 lead. �(photo — Pearce congratulates Moss at the plate)
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IMG_2443The third home run of the game came in the 4th inning. �With two outs, Neil Walker doubled off the right field wall, about 2/3 of the way up the wall. �Jonathan Van Every followed with the longest blast of the day — his homer cleared the right field wall, cleared the grass berm, bounced on the sidewalk behind the berm and over the fence, and rolled across West Street, for the Indians’ 6th and 7th runs. �(photo — Walker congratulates Van Every as they score in the 4th)
Tribe starter Kevin Hart was busy holding off the Mud Hens’ batters while his teammates piled up the run support. �Hart zipped through the first three innings, allowing only one walk, and hitting one batter with a pitch. �He threw two wild pitches, both coming when one of those runners was on base. �Each time the runner advanced a base, but it turned out to not matter. �In the 4th inning, Hart gave up the first Toledo hit (and run) of the game. �With one out, 1B Jeff Larish doubled into the right-center field alley. �Hart struck out the next batter, but LF Jeff Frazier dropped a bloop single into short center field, just out of the reach of three converging Tribe players. �Larish was off and running on contact, and he scored while the Indians were getting the ball back to the infield. �DH Max Leon reached base next, on an odd play. �Leon grounded sharply to first base, where Brian Myrow charged the ball and knocked it down. �The ball rolled into foul territory, and Myrow must have thought he’d just pick up the ball and tag Leon as he ran past. �The ball did not cooperate with that plan — it kept rolling further foul, and Myrow would have needed a 12-foot wingspan to have reached Leon for the tag.
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IMG_2393Instead, Myrow flipped the ball to first, where Kevin Hart was covering. �But Hart had had to run over to first base and then turn to face Myrow, so he was in an awkward position, and couldn’t hold on to the flip. �Then, because he was not in the usual position, he was directly in line with Leon trying to cross the bag. �Leon slammed into Hart and both went down, with Leon on top of Hart. �Both got right up again and remained in the game, but Hart looked shaken for a few moments, and he walked very carefully back to the mound. �He still looked like he was walking oddly in the next inning. �Leon was safe at first and Myrow was charged with a throwing error. �A ground out ended the inning, so it was again not a problem.
Hart (photo) came back out to begin the 5th inning, with a 7-1 lead. �He had a full count on the first batter, SS Danny Worth, when Worth lifted a pop fly behind first base, drifting into foul territory. �1B Brian Myrow, 2B Argenis Diaz, and RF Steve Pearce all gave chase, and Diaz called for it as he crossed just over the foul line. �Luckily, Diaz was about two feet into foul territory when the ball came down, because at the last second, he fell forward and the ball dropped out of his glove. �Diaz was not charged with a missed catch error, but the next pitch was a ball, and Worth was on base. �The lead-off walk came back to haunt Hart. �The next batter, Will Rhymes, hit a rocket to the right field corner, which missed being a home run by inches. �It bounced off the top of the cement wall just inside the foul pole and ricocheted back along the warning track toward center field. �Steve Pearce gave chase, but by the time he got to the ball, Rhymes was into third with a triple, and of course, Worth had scored. �3B Brent Dlugach grounded to third, as his bat exploded. �Tribe 3B Neil Walker had to dodge wood projectiles as he tried to concentrate on fielding the ball — the barrel of the bat landed behind Walker in short left field. �Walker made the scoop, stared Rhymes back to third base, and fired across the diamond to make the out at first. �RF Brennan Boesch was able to bring Rhymes in, though, with a liner into right field for an RBI single. �That was the end of Hart’s afternoon. �He had thrown 80 pitches (49 strikes) and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 6 strikeouts over 4.1 innings, and was not eligible for the win.
IMG_2447The newest Indian on the roster, southpaw�Justin Thomas, (photo) came in from the bullpen to relieve Hart. �The first batter Thomas faced, Jeff Larish, singled into rigth field, moving the runner Boesch to second base. �The next batter, Casper Wells, grounded deep to short. �Tribe SS Brian Friday made a dive and was able to stop the ball from going into left field, which kept Boesch from rounding third and heading for the plate. �Friday tossed the ball from an awkward position (photo below left) to Argenis Diaz at second, but it was too late to make a play, and all the runners were safe.
Thomas settled down at that point. �He got Jeff Frazier to fly out to short right field, which Steve Pearce handled easily (photo below right). �Then he got Max Leon to fly out to center field, ending the inning. �The Indians still had the lead, 7-3.
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Photos below:
Left: �Brian Friday goes deep into the hole
Right: �Steve Pearce has the fly ball
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Mud Hens’ starter Ruddy Lugo also pitched just 4 innings, though he eventually was charged with the loss. �The Indians did not score in the 5th inning — their first half inning in the game in which they didn’t score. �They did put a runner on base, though. �Brandon Moss singled into right field, but was left stranded. �In the 6th, the Tribe got back to their scoring business. �With two outs, Neil Walker grounded up the middle for a single, and Jonathan Van Every followed with a single lined into left field. �Brian Myrow worked a walk to load the bases for Pedro Alvarez. �Alvarez had struck out in his first three at-bats, but this time he came through, with a single grounded back up the infield and into center field, plating Walker and Van Every. �The Indians’ lead was extended to 9-3.
IMG_2461That was all the scoring the Indians would do. �They refused to go down in order in the 8th. �Brian Friday, the last Tribe batter without a hit, rectified that problem with a flare single into left field for the Indians’ 13th hit of the game. �He was left on base when Argenis Diaz grounded to first base. �The Indians did go down in order in the 9th — the only inning in which they did not have at least one runner on base.
Justin Thomas put the Mud Hens down in order in the 6th inning. �He got one out in the 7th, then hit Brennan Boesch with a pitch in the ribs/side. �Boesch stayed in the game to run the bases, but did not come out in the next inning. �With Boesch on first, Thomas got a strikeout, then gave up a long home run over the right-center field wall to Casper Wells. �Indians 9, Toledo 5.
Steven Jackson (photo) relieved Thomas and ended the 7th inning with a strikeout. �He came back out for the top of the 8th, and walked the lead-off batter Max Leon. �As in the 5th inning, the lead-off walk came back to hurt him. �After two outs, with Leon on second base on a grounder, Will Rhymes singled into right field, and Leon scrambled home. �Another hit by Brent Dlugach put two runners on base, but Jackson got a grounder for a force out at second to end the inning.
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IMG_2467Jean Machi (photo) came on to pitch the top of the 9th for the Indians. �Machi got a quick fly ball for the first out. �Then he walked Casper Wells. �Jeff Frazier ended the game with a grounder to short, where Brian Friday started the game’s only double play, 6-4-3, Friday to Argenis Diaz to Brian Myrow, to end the game.
Justin Thomas was credited with the win. �Jean Machi earned the save, his second of the season.
The Indians and Mud Hens play the fourth and final game of this series on Monday evening.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �Three home run blasts, each one longer than the one before it — Neil Walker, Brian Moss, and Jonathan Van Every. �Walker’s was a solo shot, and Moss’ and Van Every’s were both 2-run homers.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �This is why your little league coaches told you to back up each other on plays: �in the bottom of the 6th, Robinzon Diaz lifted a sky-high fly ball to center field. �It was a beautiful sunny day in central Indiana today, with a bright sun and a (for us) high sky. �Robinzon’s fly got up into the sun and the sky, and Tribe CF Jonathan Van Every couldn’t find it, even though it was coming almost directly at him. �LF Brandon Moss had come over to center field to back up Van Every, and at the last moment, Moss stepped up and made the catch. �He probably saved Van Every from being bopped on the head, too.
NOTES:
Brandon Moss hit a foul ball straight back from the plate, which flew right into an open window in the lower row of the pressbox. �Luckily, the man sitting there was smart enough to duck out of the way. �As per Victory Field tradition, he leaned out the window and tossed the ball to a kid in the seats below him.
Go Tribe!
(photos by Nancy)
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