Alvarez’s Homer Caps Lucky 7 In The 6th

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Photos: (Left)�Brandon Moss

(Right) Home plate umpire Dan Bellino points to the left edge of home plate where Erik Kratz touched it with his hand as he slid past safely.

IMG_2690Michael O’Connor came on to relieve Calero, with one out, runners on second and third bases, and four runs already in. �The first batter he faced was Pedro Alvarez. �Alvarez’s mode of greeting was to take a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall on onto the grass berm for a 3-run home run (5, 6, 7). �O’Connor got RF Brandon Jones to ground out for the second out of the inning. �Then Brandon Moss hit his third single of the game into center field, and Kratz walked to again put two runners on base. �Brian Friday flied out to end the inning and leave the two on base, but the Tribe had brought 12 batters to the plate and scored 7 runs for a definitive 9-1 lead.

Photo: �Brandon Jones and Doug Bernier

The Indians had scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st inning, as they have been doing lately. �Jose Tabata led off by working a walk, then stole his league-leading 13th base. �Two outs later, Brandon Jones looped a single into left field on the first pitch he saw, and Tabata raced home from second base. �Brandon Moss also swung at the first pitch he saw, and his hit dropped in just in front of the Buffalo RF Fernando Martinez. �Jones got as far as third base, but both Brandons were left stranded.

Tabata also scored in the 5th inning. �With one out, he got a 2-2 count, then fouled off two more, with the second of those going off the inside of his left foot just above the instep. � Tabata hopped around a bit, then limped back into the batter’s box. �He took the next pitch on a liner to the base of the left field wall for a double — and didn’t limp at all as he ran to second base. �Neil Walker followed with a liner into center field, and Tabata again had no trace of a limp as he raced around from second base to score what would be the tie-breaking run.

IMG_2678Tribe starter Brad Lincoln (photo) earned his third win of the season with 6 innings of work. �He threw 95 pitches, 63 for strikes, and scattered 6 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter, giving up one run. �Lincoln had at least one base runner to work around in all but one inning. �In both the 1st and 2nd innings, he gave up a single and a walk, but both times kept the runners from scoring. �He retired the side in order in the 3rd, and worked around a lone single in both the 5th and 6th innings. �The 4th inning was the only one in which he made a serious mistake. �Buffalo LF Chris Carter took the first pitch of the inning over the right field wall, for a solo home run that hit the base of the light pole on the grass berm. That tied the score, at least temporarily. �Lincoln hit the next batter, Fernando Martinez, on the leg, which prompted home plate umpire Dan Bellino to have a quick few words with Lincoln. �It must have been clear to Bellino that Lincoln had not intentionally hit Martinez, because he did not appear to be making an official warning, and he never turned to either dugout or spoke to either manager. �Lincoln nodded at whatever was said and headed back to the mound, where he got a strikeout and a line out. �Bison pitcher Bobby Livingston then slipped a grounder up the third base line, just out of the reach of Alvarez, for a double. �Martinez moved to third base, but did not dare to try for the plate. �Lincoln then struck out CF Jason Pridie to end the threat.

IMG_2701Wil Ledezma pitched the 7th inning for the Indians. �He walked two batters, struck out one, and kept the Bison from scoring, but he took 29 pitches (only 14 strikes) to do it, and so he only pitched one inning. �Anthony Claggett pitched the last two innings. �He walked one and left him stranded in the 8th, then gave up a run in the 9th. �Jason Pridie led off with a single into center field. �After two outs, 3B Mike Hessman lined a double to the base of the wall in straight-away center field, scoring Pridie. �Claggett ended the game by getting Chris Carter to hit a little dribbler along the first base line, and Claggett tagged him out on the base path.

Claggett did have a little fun in the bottom of the 8th — he led off the inning with his first ever professional at-bat (photo). �Because Claggett had come up in the Yankees organization, he had never had to play in a game without a designated hitter before. �He looked at strike one, then fouled off a ball for strike two. �He took a ball, then swung at strike three, and went back to the dugout smiling.

The win moves the Indians to one game over .500, at 14-13. �They are in third place in the International League Western Division, half a game behind the Toledo Mud Hens.

IMG_2688Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Pedro Alvarez’s (photo) 3-run homer in the 7th inning. �It was Alvarez’s 7th homer of the season, and his 23rd – 25th RBI. �He leads the Tribe in both categories.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the top of the 4th, with the score tied up on Carter’s home run, and Martinez on first base after being hit with a pitch, Ruben Tejada lined sharply to center field. �Jose Tabata came charging in and made a basket-style catch just below his waist. �If it had gotten past Tabata, Tejada might have been able to get all the way around to score by the time Tabata had tracked it down. �If the ball had just fallen in for a hit, it would have moved Tejada at least to second base and maybe even to third base, and that would have enabled him to score when Livingston doubled a moment later.

Photo below: �Left: �Neil Walker singled in the go-ahead run in the 5th, and doubled in a run in the 6th.

Right: �Former Indy Indian (2009) Bobby Livingston

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NOTES:

Steve Pearce was named the Indians’ Player of the Month for April. �The Indians will have a ceremony before the game on Saturday, though Pearce won’t be there — he’s up with the Pirates. �Pearce hit .367 in April, with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, and 7 RBI. �He had a hit in 16 of the 21 games he played in, including a 7-game hitting streak, and he reached base safely in all but one of his games. �He led the International League in doubles, hits (29), and OBP (on-base percentage) (.474) for the month.

“Where’s Walker?” �– Neil Walker was at first base tonight, for the 4th time this season and in his career. �So far this season, he’s also played 8 games at second base, 12 games in left field, one game at third base, and one game as the designated hitter.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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