The Indians put the lead-off batter on base in each of the first 5 innings. �In the first two innings, those lead runners — CF Jose Tabata with a single in the 1st, and RF Brandon Moss with a walk in the 2nd — did not make it around to score. �In the 3rd, though, 2B Brian Friday’s lead-off single was followed by another single by�Argenis Diaz (photo). �A grounder to short by Tabata forced Diaz out at second, but was too deep for a double play. �That left runners on the corners for Kevin Melillo, who took a long fly ball to center field. �Friday scored easily on the sacrifice fly, to put the Indians on the scoreboard at 2-1. �The inning ended when the throw in from center was cut off and relayed to Lillibridge covering second, where Tabata was tagged out trying to tag up and advance on the throw.
The Tribe went into the top of the 4th behind by a score of 4-1, and that was when they got to Charlotte starter Jeffrey Marquez. �1B Brian Myrow led off by reaching base on a fielding error at first. �Myrow advanced to third base on a single through the right side by Pedro Alvarez. �Luke Carlin plated Myrow with another grounder into right field. �DH Brandon Jones kept things going with a line drive double into center, scoring Alvarez. �Brian Friday worked a walk, loading the bases. �Then Argenis Diaz grounded up the middle, scoring both Carlin from third and Jones from second, to take a 5-4 lead. �The inning ended when Jose Tabata bounced into a double play.
Charlotte regained the lead, 6-5, in the bottom of the frame when Stefan Gartrell doubled in Coats and Lillibridge. �But the Indians came right back in the top of the 5th. �Kevin Melillo (photo) greeted reliever Scott Elarton with a home run over the right-center field wall, tying the score at 6-6. �The next three batters reached base too — a walk to Brian Myrow, a single by Pedro Alvarez to move Myrow to third base, and a double by Brandon Moss to drive in Myrow with the go-ahead run. �After a strikeout, Elarton was relieved by Freddy Dolsi. �Dolsi, who throws right-handed intentionally walked the lefty Brandon Jones, to get to right-handed Brian Friday. �With the bases loaded and Friday at the plate, Dolsi threw a wild pitch, scoring Alvarez from third. �Friday struck out and the inning ended with a ground out by Argenis Diaz, but the Indians were up again, 8-6.
The Indians went down in order in the 6th. �Pedro Alvarez singled to lead off the 7th inning, for his third hit of the game, but he was erased in a double play. �The 8th inning was quiet for the Tribe too.
Justin Thomas, who had finished the 4th inning with a line out, also retired the side in order in the 5th, on three fly outs. �Vinnie Chulk pitched 2 perfect innings, retiring just one batter with a pop out — and the other 5 all on strikeouts. �Wil Ledezma also pitched a scoreless inning, allowing only a walk in the 8th inning.
The Tribe added one more run in the top of the 9th. �With one out, Kevin Melillo collected another big hit — a triple into left field. �Brian Myrow walked, then Pedro Alvarez smacked his fourth hit of the game, a double into center field, scoring Melillo.
Jean Machi pitched the bottom of the 9th for the Indians. �He gave up a lead-off homer to Dayan Viciedo, and a single to Stefan Gartrell, but ended the game with a strikeout. �Justin Thomas was credited with the win, his 3rd of the season. �Machi earned his 6th save of the season.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Kevin Melillo’s home run in the 5th to tie the game. �The Tribe never trailed after that. �The homer was Melillo’s first of the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Four hitless and scoreless innings by three relievers — Justin Thomas, Vinnie Chulk, and Wil Ledezma. �They halted the Knights’ momentum and let the Indians stay on top once they had caught up.
Pitcher Jimmy Barthmaier, who started the 2009 Season Opener for the Indians but left with an arm injury after just 2 batters, made it back to the mound in a game that counted today. �He pitched 2 innings in relief for the Bradenton Marauders, allowing a run on one hit, with one strikeout.
(photos by Nancy)