The Yankees picked up another insurance run in the 8th. �With Brian Bass (photo) on the mound, Jesus Montero led off with a single, and he also moved to second base on a ground out. �After an out and a walk, Golson doubled into left field, and Montero raced around to score.
Wil Ledezma finished things up for the Indians in the 9th, but not without his share of the drama. �He got two quick grounders to short for the first two outs of the inning. �Then he walked Weber and Montero, and gave up an infield single to Huffman. �Huffman’s ball took a sharp high hop to second base, where 2B Brian Friday was able to make the stop, but when he made the turn, SS Argenis Diaz was not yet at the second base bag and was not going to be able to get there in time. �Friday threw to first base, where 1B Neil Walker was also scrambling to get to the bag — but Huffman out-ran Walker and was safe at first,�loading the bases. �With Gorecki at the plate, Ledezma let fly a high pitch that sailed to the backstop and bounced back towards the plate. �C Luke Carlin chased after the ball, turned and fired to Ledezma covering the plate as Weber bore down on him coming in from third. �Ledezma planted himself, but with his back to Weber, and Weber crashed into him, but Ledezma held on to the ball, and Weber was out to end the inning.
The Indians faced Yankees’ Kei Igawa on the restart, maybe because Igawa had faced only two batters when he relieved Ivan Nova on Thursday night. �Igawa gave up one run in the bottom of the 4th inning. �Brian Friday lifted a short fly into right field, where it landed just inside the foul line. �Argenis Diaz moved Friday to second base with a line drive into right field. �Neil Walker drove Friday in with a sharply hit line drive into left field, hit from the right side of the plate.
Igawa struck out three Indians in the 5th inning — RF Brandon Moss, Luke Carlin, and LF Kevin Melillo. �Brian Friday and Argenis Diaz combined to squeeze another run off reliever Grant Duff in the 6th inning. �Friday ripped a double into the left-center gap, and Diaz moved Friday to third base with a bunt pop back towards the mound that was fumbled. �Jose Tabata brought in Friday with a sacrifice fly. �But, that was the end of the offense for the Indians. �Duff and Jonathan Albaladejo combined to retire the next 10 Indians batters. �Albaladejo surrendered a single to DH Brian Myrow with two outs in the 9th, but a strikeout to 3B Pedro Alvarez ended the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Three hits each by Brian Myrow and Argenis Diaz, with 3 RBI by Myrow. �It probably would have been enough if the pitching had held up.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the 6th inning, with two out and a runner on first base, and one run already scored in the inning, Jon Weber drove a sinking liner to right field. �Brandon Moss got a good jump on the ball, came charging in, and made the shoetop catch. �If the ball had gotten past him, Moss might have been chasing it for awhile, and Weber might have scored, and the inning would have continued.
Yankees �7, �Indians �4 (box)
The regularly-scheduled game tonight was cut to 7 innings (International League rules), and 7 was not enough for the Tribe to catch up to the Yankees. �Once again, shaky pitching put the Indians into an early hole.
Hayden Penn made his third start for the Indians, and it was his toughest. �Penn zipped through the first inning on 12 pitches. �He gave up a single to Yankees’ 2B Eduardo Nunez, but C Erik Kratz threw out Nunez as he tried to steal second base.
The Yankees got to Penn in the 2nd inning. �A single by RF Jon Weber opened the frame. �1B Chad Huffman followed with a blast down the left field line, which hit the wall just inside the foul line so hard that the ball rolled along the left field scoreboard as far as mid-left field. �LF Jose Tabata had to chase it down, and by the time he did, Weber had scored from first base. �DH Rene Rivera struck out, then LF Reid Gorecki bounced sharply down the left foul line. �The ball hit the back edge of the third base bag and continued on into the Indians’ bullpen, making Tabata have to chase down another double. �Huffman scored on the play. �Gorecki stole third base, putting him into position to score on 3B Matt Cusick’s sacrifice fly, and the Indians were trailing 3-0.
The Tribe batters had threatened in the top of the 1st. �Jose Tabata began the inning with a sharp grounder to short, which slipped past the charging 3B Cusick, then got away from SS Reegie Corona, though it was ruled a hit. �Tabata advanced to second on SS Argenis Diaz’s ground out. �Yankees’ starter Zach McAllister tried to pick Tabata off second base, but his throw was wide and Tabata moved on to third. �Brian Myrow dribbled a slow roller towards second base, but 2B Eduardo Nunez charged in, scooped the ball, and instead of going to first, he fired to the plate. �C PJ Pilittere had the ball waiting when Tabata arrived. �Tabata rammed Piliterre, and Piliterre did fall back, but he held on to the ball, and Tabata bounced farther. �3B Pedro Alvarez struck out to end the inning.
The Indians responded to the Yankees’ lead in the bottom of the 2nd. �With one out, Brandon Moss, in center field tonight, rocketed a liner back at McAllister so hard that it knocked the glove right off McAllister’s hand. �McAllister recovered quickly, picked up the ball and fired to first, but he air-mailed the throw up the right field line, and Moss moved on to second base. �DH Kevin Melillo grounded slowly to second base, and in some confusion, when the throw came to 1B Chad Huffman, with McAllister also running to the bag and Melillo bearing down, Huffman’s foot was simply not on the first base bag. �The Indians had runners on the corners for C Erik Kratz (photo). �Kratz blasted a long high no-doubt-about-it home run over the left field wall and all the way to the sidewalk behind the grass berm. �The score was tied at 3-3.
The Yankees broke the tie quickly. �Penn began the top of the third by giving up three consecutive hits: �singles to CF Greg Golson and Corona, then a 2-RBI double to Nunez. �A ground out moved Nunez to third, and he scored on another single, by Huffman. �A double play ended the inning, but the Yankees had regained the lead, 6-3.
The Tribe got one run back in the 4th inning. �With one out, Melillo (photo) and Kratz hit back-to-back singles. �2B Brian Friday grounded to short, where Corona misplayed the ball. �Melillo was off and running from second base on the pitch, and when the ball skittered away from Corona, he rounded third and scored easily.
Penn retired the Yankees in order in the 4th, but began the 5th with a solo home run by Greg Golson. �He also gave up another single to Nunez, but left him on base. �Penn needed 80 pitches (52 strikes) to get through his 5 innings. �He gave up 7 runs on 10 hits, no walks, with 3 strikeouts.
Justin Thomas came on for the 6th inning, and put the Yankees down in order. �Jean Machi did the same in the 7th. �The Indians could not get anything more going in the last three innings either. �Pedro Alvarez singled in the 5th, but was caught off first base when RF Brandon Jones lined out to short. �Brandon Moss lined a single into center to open the 6th, but was left standing there.
The loss gives the Yankees a 3-1 win of the 4-game series over the Indians. �The Tribe remains in third place, back at .500 with a 21-21 record. �They are 5.5 games behind the first-place Columbus Clippers, and 3 games behind the second-place Toledo Mud Hens.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Kratz’s huge 3-run blast. �It was his 4th of the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the top of the 7th, PJ Pilittere hit a short chop over the mound. �Jean Machi tried to get it, but it was over his head and out of his reach. �Pedro Alvarez charged over from third base, moving in a line towards first base, made the snag, and fired to first just in time to get Pilittere.
(photos by Nancy)