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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Bixler Comes Back To Haunt The Indians


(Photo: �Luke Carlin and Hayden Penn confer while Clippers’ Josh Rodriguez and his manager Mike Sarbaugh argue with first base ump Travis Brown about being picked off first.)

Penn retired the side quickly in the 6th inning, but trouble found him again in the 7th. �Josh Rodriguez grounded up the left field line for his third hit of the game, and after a strikeout, Michael Brantley lined another single into center field. �Who did that bring up again? �Brian Bixler, of course.

Penn would not face Bixler, though. �Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to face Bixler. �Michael�Brantley was thrown out trying to steal second base with Bixler at the plate. �Bixler worked a walk on 5 pitches, but he still contributed to a run: �Bixler stole second base, and Luke Carlin hopped up to throw to second to get Bixler. �As soon as he started to throw, Rodriguez took off from third base to steal home. �Carlin’s throw to second hit Bixler and careened into short left-center field, insuring that the Indians could not return the throw to the plate to get Rodriguez out. �It was ruled a double steal, and the run was charged to Penn. �Clippers up, 4-0.


While the Columbus batters were giving their starter, Yohan Pino, plenty of run support, Pino was busy keeping the Indians from scoring at all. �Pino pitched 7 scoreless innings and allowed just 2 hits. �He did walk 6 batters, though, with 4 of those walks coming in the first three innings. �LF Jose Tabata walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st, and he stole second base, but had to remain there as the next three batters were retired. �DH Brandon Jones walked with two outs in the 2nd, but was also left on base. �Kevin Melillo (photo) and Brian Myrow worked back-to-back walks with two outs in the 3rd, and they suffered the same fate.

Brandon Jones posted the Indians’ first hit of the game. �With two outs in the 4th inning, Jones lifted a twisting flare into the no-man’s-land on the left side of the outfield — the opposite of where Bixler had hit to in the top of the 3rd. �Jones’ ball also fell in for a single, as none of the Clippers could get there in time. �But Doug Bernier struck out to end the inning and Jones did not advance.


(Photo: �the infield: �Argenis Diaz, Pedro Alvarez, Doug Bernier, and Brian Myrow)

Pino had to work around two base runners in the 5th inning. �He hit SS Argenis Diaz with a pitch on the shoulder (he was ok), then gave up a line drive into right-center field by Jose Tabata. �Diaz made it to third base, but Tabata was thrown out at second base as he tried to stretch a double out of the line drive. �Once again, Diaz was left on third after a pop out and a fly out. �Pino was still in top form as his pitch count climbed. �He retired 6 more Indians in order (the last 8 batters he faced) in the 6th and 7th innings. �Pino threw 101 pitches (63 strikes) in his afternoon’s work. �(Penn had thrown 90 pitches, 56 for strikes.)

IMG_3527The Indians scored their only run in the 8th inning, once Pino had headed for the showers. �Reliever Joe Smith pitched the 8th, and began by walking Jose Tabata. �After a fly out, Tabata stole his International League-leading 23rd base (the next best is 19 steals). �Brian Myrow also walked, and the Indians had runners on first and second. �Pedro Alvarez, who had struck out in each of his first three plate appearances, had a hit robbed from him when he lined sharply right at Clippers’ 3B Jared Goedert. �Goedert saw the opportunity to double Myrow off first base, but his throw to first was wild, and it may have even hit Myrow as it skipped away from 1B Jordan Brown. �While Brown was chasing down the ball, Myrow reached second base, and Tabata rounded third and scored an unearned run.

After finishing the 7th inning for Hayden Penn, Anthony Claggett retired the Clippers in order in the 8th inning. �That included a strikeout with a called strike three on a full count by Nick Weglarz. �Weglarz argued, walked back towards the dugout apparently still talking, and was ejected by home plate umpire Alan Boyd. �Jean Machi (photo) came on to pitch the 9th, and he gave up the Clippers’ final run. �Josh Rodriguez reached base for the fourth time in the game, this one on a walk, then back-to-back singles by Jose Constanza and Michael Brantley loaded the bases for Machi.

IMG_3530Not hard to guess who was coming to the plate next — Brian Bixler. �Bixler (photo, with broadcaster Scott McCauley, for the post-game Star of the Game interview) hit a slow roller toward third base, where Pedro Alvarez charged in to make the play. �The ball had been moving too slowly, though, and Alvarez had no chance to begin a double play. �Instead, he made the play to throw Bixler out at first, but the runner from third scored, giving Bixler his fourth RBI of the game. �A fly out ended the inning.

Luke Carlin had the Indians’ only other hit of the game. �He singled on a soft liner into left field to lead off the 9th inning. �But strikeouts by Brandon Jones and Doug Bernier, and a ground out by Argenis Diaz ended the game.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Luke Carlin’s single to begin the 9th — not giving up, but still working to start a rally. �Not his fault that no one could keep it going.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �The grounder back to the mound in the bottom of the 2nd inning, which hit Hayden Penn, then ricocheted high into the air to Pedro Alvarez. �Alvarez kept his composure and stayed with it, making the catch and throwing the batter, Nick Weglarz out at first base. �Penn waived off any assistance and just kept going.

Photos: �Pedro Alvarez and Hayden Penn move in on a sacrifice bunt in the 3rd.



Right: �Doug Bernier at the plate; � �Left: �Pitching change: Anthony Claggett, Luke Carlin, Argenis Diaz, and Doug Bernier





Roster moves:


Charlie Morton (photo) is scheduled to make a start here in Indianapolis on Tuesday. �He’s here on a rehab assignment, so doesn’t affect the roster spots available. �That will push Brad Lincoln’s start back to Wednesday… which just happens to be the day that the Pirates are considering Lincoln as a possibility to make the start in their game.

Yesterday Steven Jackson was hit by a come-backer in the 6th inning, and left the game. �He was hit on the right forearm (yesterday it was hard to tell where he’d been hit). �X-rays were negative, but he has been put on the Disabled List until the bruising is gone.

That clears a spot on the Indians’ active roster for Brian Burres, who was sent down from Pittsburgh. �Burress is scheduled to make the start on Monday.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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