Buffalo starter Dillon Gee also had to work with runners on base in the first few innings. �1B Neil Walker (photo) singled and stole second base in the 1st, and Pedro Alvarez walked, but a double play ended the inning. �LF Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch and 2B Brian Friday walked in the 2nd inning, but they were both left on base. �The Tribe got onto the scoreboard in the 5th, with a little help from Gee. �The Brandons (Jones and Moss) began the inning with back-to-back singles, then Gee walked two batters back-to-back — Luke Carlin on 5 pitches and Brian Friday on 4 pitches. �Friday’s walk forced in Jones with the Indians’ first run. �The Tribe still had three runners on base, but a 1-2-3 double play off the bat of SS Argenis Diaz forced out Moss at the plate, and then Veal ended the inning with a pop out.
After a quick 3-up-and-3-down inning by Veal, the Indians got right back at it. �The 5th opened with a walk by CF Jose Tabata. Neil Walker doubled on a ball that bounced off Buffalo LF Chris Carter. �Tabata went to third on Walker’s double, and he scored on Pedro Alvarez’s sacrifice fly. �Walker scored when Brandon Jones singled, and the Indians had moved within one run of the Bison. �Then Carlin took a 3-2 pitch to the sidewalk at the back of the berm behind right field, bringing Jones in too, and the Indians had a 5-4 lead.
The Tribe added two insurance runs in the 6th. �Bobby Parnell replaced Gee to begin the inning. �With one out, Doug Bernier, who had entered the game in a double switch, reached base on a fielding error by 2B Russ Adams. �Tabata singled through the right side of the infield, and Bernier raced to third base. �A wild pitch let Tabata move to second base, though it was not enough to let Bernier score. �It didn’t matter — a moment later, Pedro Alvarez (photo) stroked a single into right field, and both Bernier and Tabata came across the plate with a pair of insurance runs. �Alvarez made a big turn around first base, and he was caught in no-mans’-land when the throw came in from the outfield, and the tag-out ended the inning.
Steven Jackson relieved Donnie Veal to begin the Bison’s half of the 6th. �He retired the side in order for the 6th and 7th innings, and also got the first out of the 8th inning. �Then Mike Hessman fouled off several of Jackson’s pitches and worked a walk, and Chris Carter walked on four pitches, to put two runners on base. �RF Fernando Martinez followed with a sharp grounder along the first base line. �Neil Walker made a dive for it, but the ball took a bad hop, grazed his glove, and just kept going, allowing Hessman to come around to score. �That put the tying run on first base.
Jean Machi came in from the bullpen in relief of Jackson, with runners on the corners and one out. �Machi calmly struck out Buffalo C Josh Thole and got pinch-hitter Jesus Feliciano to ground out, leaving the runners stranded.
Pedro Alvarez picked up his fourth RBI in the bottom of the 8th. �Jose Tabata led off with a single deep behind second base. �2B Russ Adams was able to keep the ball from getting into the outfield, but did not have time to make the throw to first. �Tabata stole second base, his 14th of the season, and moved to third base when Neil Walker grounded out to second. �Alvarez made a little blip of a hit that landed just near the mound. �Buffalo reliever Elmer Dessens scrambled over to field the ball, but the only play he had was at first, to get Alvarez out, while Tabata scored easily.
Jean Machi finished the game with a scoreless 9th inning, making his save look easy. �Veal’s win was his 2nd of the season. �The win gives the Indians a 15-13 record and puts them 2 games over .500 for the first time in over two seasons. �They have moved into second place, 3.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers, and half a game ahead of the Toledo Mud Hens.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Luke Carlin’s (photo) first home run of the season, which gave the Tribe the go-ahead run and a lead they would not give up. �”With the wind blowing out like that, I was trying to get a ball up, some thing I could drive, ” said Carlin in the post-game interview. �”I got into a fastball count and looked for one, and he (Gee) gave it to me.”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Jean Machi, who came into another tough situation, and just took care of the problem. �He pitched 1.2 innings and gave up only a meaningless hit in the 9th.
Neil Walker’s stolen base in the 1st inning makes him 9-for-9 attempts in stolen bases this season. �Jose Tabata’s steal was his 14th, which leads the International League.
(photos by Nancy)