Indianapolis Indians �3, �Charlotte Knights �2 (box)
There was some debate before this game started as to whether this was supposed to be a 7-inning or a 9-inning game. �As it turned out, neither answer was correct — it was a 12-inning game.
The Knights tied the game (for the second time) in the bottom of the 8th. �After three scoreless innings, the Indians finally came through in the top of the 12th, taking advantage of some wildness by Charlotte reliever Ryan Braun (not related to the Brewers’ player). �Braun opened the top of the 12th by walking 1B Bryan Myrow. �He got 3B Pedro Alvarez to fly out, then, walked C Erik Kratz and RF Brandon Jones to load the bases. �DH Brandon Moss (photo) grounded to second base, and it looked like an inning-ending double play. �But Jones’ slide into second base disrupted SS Luis Rodriguez enough so that his throw to first base was a little slow and a little high. �Moss was racing down the first base line, and he beat out the throw to first, allowing Myrow to score from third base. �A strikeout ended the inning, but it was enough.
Reliever Justin Thomas came on to pitch the bottom of the 12th. �He got LF Buck Coats to ground out, then struck out 2B Brent Lillibridge. � Thomas hit 1B Dayan Viciedo with a pitch (grazed his jersey), but bore down to get DH Josh Kroeger to ground back up the middle of the infield. �The ball glanced off Thomas’ glove, but right to SS Argenis Diaz, who flipped the ball to 2B Brian Friday covering second to force out Viciedo and end the game.
The Indians and the Knights battled for 4 scoreless innings to begin the regularly scheduled game, which began at about 2:15 pm. �The Tribe put two men on base in the 1st inning — a lead-off double by CF Jose Tabata and a walk to Brian Myrow — but a double play ended the threat. �They�went down in order in the next two innings, before putting two more on base in the 4th — a single by Myrow and a throwing error by Charlotte 3B Javier Colina on a grounder by Pedro Alvarez. �Once again, neither runner came around to score.
The Indians scored the first run of the game in the 5th inning, on a solo homer by Brian Friday.
Mike Crotta (photo) made the start for the Tribe in the “second” game. �Crotta pitched into the 6th inning and allowed one run on just 2 hits, with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. �He worked around a throwing error by Pedro Alvarez, who threw high to first base on a grounder in the 1st, and erased that runner with a double play. �Crotta had trouble with walks in the 3rd inning, when three walks loaded the bases with two outs, but a timely pop out kept the Knights off the scoreboard in that inning. �A single up the middle by CF Jordan Danks in the 5th was the first hit that Crotta allowed, but he worked around that and a walk to hold onto that slim 1-run lead.
Charlotte tied the score in the 6th inning. �With one out, Crotta gave up a solo home run to DH Josh Kroeger to tie the score at 1-1. �That was the 90th pitch for Crotta (57 strikes), and that was the end of his afternoon. �He left with the score tied, and so was not involved in the decision. �Vinnie Chulk came on in relief, finishing the 6th inning with a fly out and a strikeout. �He gave up a single to Danks, zooming past the diving 2B Brian Friday, to lead off the bottom of the 7th, but then retired the next three batters on fly outs.
The Indians took the lead again in the top of the 7th. �Brandon Moss led off with a walk, then Brian Friday came through with a bloopy single over the heads of the shortstop and third baseman and into left field. �SS Argenis Diaz followed with a grounder slipped through the hole and into left field to load the bases with no outs. �Jose Tabata came to the plate — and lined out right to the Knights’ first baseman for the first out, though luckily no one was surprised and doubled off base. �LF Kevin Melillo was up next, and he took advantage of reliever Freddy Dolsi’s trouble with his control, walking on 4 straight pitches to force in Moss with the go-ahead run. �That was all the Tribe could get, though, as both Brian Myrow and Pedro Alvarez struck out to end the rally.
This lead lasted about as long as the last one. �Chulk did not let the Knights score in the bottom of the 7th, and reliever Erick Threets gave up back-to-back singles to the Brandons (Jones and Moss) in the 8th, but did not let them score. �Wil Ledezma took over for Chulk to begin the 8th inning, and with one out, he gave up another solo home run, this one to Dayan Viciedo, to tie the score again at 2-2. �Ledezma retired the side in order in the 9th, and allowed singles to Coats and Lillibridge in the 10th, but a double play started by Pedro Alvarez at third ended the inning and that threat.
The Indians also went down in order in the 9th, and they also put two runners on base in the 10th, but couldn’t bring them around to score. �With one out, Erik Kratz lined a single into right field, and Brandon Jones, who had been robbed of hits earlier in the game, picked up his second hit with his own liner into right field. �Two pop ups ended that threat, and the extra innings continued.
Jose Tabata singled in the top of the 11th, but was erased when Kevin Melillo bounced into a reverse double play — 1B Viciedo fielded the ball, stepped on first, then threw to SS Luis Rodriguez, who had to tag out Tabata for the second out.
Jean Machi was next out of the bullpen for the bottom of the 11th. �He got a ground out to begin the inning, even through 2B Brian Friday bobbled the ball for a moment when he caught it; his throw to first base was still in time to get Kroeger out. �Machi gave up a walk to RF Stefan Gartrell, then got C Tyler Flowers to fly out for the second out. �Danks singled for the third time in the game, and Rodriguez walked to load the bases. �Then Machi got Colina to ground to his counterpart Alvarez at third, and a force out at second base ended the threat.
That set up the top of the 12th, and another slim one-run lead for the Tribe. �One run was all it took, though, and the Indians had won 3 games of the 4-game series. �The Indians’ record is now 26 – 24. �They are in third place in the International League Western Division, 5.5 games behind the first-place Columbus Clippers, and 2 games behind the second-place Toledo Mud Hens. �The Tribe is riding the bus to Gwinnett, a suburb of Atlanta, where they will play a 4-game series against the Gwinnett Braves.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Brian Friday’s (photo) solo home run in the 5th inning to begin the scoring, and also a timely single in the 7th inning rally.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �The double play in the bottom of the 10th to squelch a Charlotte rally and maintain the tie score. �With one out and runners on first and second, 1B Dayan Viciedo grounded a slow roller toward third base. �Pedro Alvarez took a quick step to touch the third base bag, forcing out Buck Coats who was coming from second base, then he fired across the diamond to Brian Myrow, in plenty of time to get Viciedo out at first.
Neal Huntington, in his weekly radio show stated that Tribe starter Brad Lincoln is “still a ways away” from being called up to the Pirates, and indicated that we can expect that Lincoln will be here in Indy for some time yet. �He also indicated that Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez are not going to be called up to the Pirates any time soon either.
(photos by Nancy)