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(Photo: Luke Carlin, pitching coach Dean Traynor, and Charlie Morton)

Morton did a little better in the 3rd inning, allowing a single and a walk, but keeping Pawtucket from scoring. �He got into trouble again in the 4th, when four straight batters reached first base to begin the inning. �Bates singled through the hole into right field. �LF Ryan Kalish grounded to a spot wide of the first base bag, and 1B Brian Myrow was able to scoop it and make the throw to second to force out Bates, but there was not enough time to make the return throw back to first. �C Dusty Brow rocketed a long fly ball off the top of the left field wall, not missing a home run by much, scoring Kalish from first base. �3B Jorge Jimenez walked, then 2B Niuman Romero took what should have been a fly out up and into right field. �The usually-reliable Kevin Melillo missed the catch, and while he was chasing down the ball, both Brown and Jimenez were able to score. The PawSox had increased their lead to 4-1.

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IMG_3561That was all for Morton, who had thrown 71 pitches, with 45 strikes. �Before the game, he had been told that he was going to have a pitch limit of “about 75” pitches, so this was in keeping with that directive. �Jeremy Powell (photo) was brought in to work behind Morton. �Powell walked the first batter he faced, Angel Sanchez, on four straight pitches. �That must have gotten the evil spirits out of his system, because even though Romero and Sanchez pulled off a double steal, Powell retired the next batter on a ground out. �Then he went on to retire the next 8 batters he faced, before giving up a single up the middle to RF Daniel Nava in the 7th inning. �Nava was left on base when Powell struck out Anderson to end the inning.

Powell had to work around another base runner in the 8th. �Bates led off the inning with a grounder towards third base. �Pedro Alvarez charged in to try to avoid the odd hops, but one hop made the ball glance off his glove and ricochet over towards Argenis Diaz at short. �It was ruled an error on Alvarez, which might have been kind of harsh, but Powell made it not matter, as he retired the next three batters and left Bates stranded on first base. �Powell also gave up a tough hit in the top of the 9th, when Romero’s drag bunt went up instead of down, lurched over the mound, and came down just in front of second base. �2B Brian Friday charged in to make the play, and he threw across his body to first base, but Romero beat it out for an infield single. �No matter — Powell induced Angel Sanchez to ground into a double play, Diaz to Friday to Myrow (6-4-3), to end the inning.

After their run in the top of the 1st, the Indians’ batters had nothing but frustration for the next five innings. �They put runners on base in three of those innings, but could not get them around to score. �Argenis Diaz singled to lead off the 3rd, but was picked off first base. �Jose Tabata followed with a walk, but was forced out at second base on Kevin Melillo’s fielder’s choice. �Melillo made it to third base on Brian Myrow’s single into left field, but the inning ended with the two runners standing on the corners. �DH Brandon Moss walked and Brian Friday singled in the 4th, and Moss doubled to the right field wall in the 6th, but still no runs came in.

Finally, PawSox starter Adam Mills was relieved to begin the 7th inning, by TJ Large. �Large faced only three batters and did not retire any of them — in fact all three came around to score. �Brian Friday collected his second hit of the night with a liner into center field. �Argenis Diaz grounded just past the first baseman and into right field, and Jose Tabata took a sharp grounder past the shortstop and into left, scoring Friday. �Large was replaced by Dustin Richardson, who was greeted by a line drive into left field by Kevin Melillo. �That plated both Diaz (RBI) and Tabata, as the PawSox LF Ryan Kalish had trouble fielding the ball. �Melillo went to second on the error, then tagged up and advanced to third base on Brian Myrow’s fly out. �Richardson’s first pitch to Pedro Alvarez was so far inside that it made Alvarez duck back out of the way — then it escaped C Dusty Brown and flew all the way to the backstop. �Melillo raced for the plate, and scored easily before Brown could pick up the ball and throw it back to Richardson covering the plate. �That was the tying run, and the Tribe had caught up.

While Jeremy Powell was keeping the PawSox from breaking the tie in the 8th and 9th, the Pawtucket bullpen was doing the same to the Indians. �C Luke Carlin singled to lead off the 8th and Jose Tabata was intentionally walked, but neither could score. �CF Jonathan Van Every walked with two outs in the 9th, and he was also left on base. �Brian Bass worked around a lone walk in the top of the 10th, and did the same again in the top of the 11th. �The Tribe went down in order in the bottom of the 10th.

IMG_3249But in the bottom of the 11th, with reliever Robert Manuel on the mound for Pawtucket, things changed. �Jose Tabata led off the inning with a pop out in foul territory. �Then Kevin Melillo (photo) smashed the 2-2 pitch to the right-center field wall, and raced around the basepath. �”I was running as hard as I could because I knew I didn’t get enough of it to hit it out, ” he admitted in the post-game interview. �Melillo ran hard enough to get to third base, and as he did, the relay throw from 2B Niuman Romero sailed wide of third and into the Indians’ dugout. �Because the ball left the field of play, Melillo was awarded one base — coming home to score the winning run.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Clearly, Kevin Melillo’s triple in the bottom of the 11th, to give the Indians the win.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �The double play in the top of the 9th. �With the score tied, one out, and Niuman Romero on first base after beating out an infield single, Angel Sanchez grounded to short. �Argenis Diaz had to corral a tricky hop, then flip to Brian Friday who was covering second base. �Friday had to take the flip, and avoid Romero, who had slid and then hopped up, and was partly blocking Friday’s line of sight to first base. �Friday made the throw to Brian Myrow at first, on target and on time to get Sanchez for the double play, ending the inning.

NOTES:

Roster Moves: �As noted above, Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata have been promoted to the Pirates. �Both are already on the 40-man roster, so the Pirates just needed to make room on the 25-man roster. �The news of these moves came during the Indians’ game (the news about Lincoln and Tabata was not made known until after the game). �The Pirates have optioned 1B Jeff Clement to the Indians, and pitcher Jack Taschner has been designated for assignment.

1B/OF Steve Pearce, who has been on the Pirates’ DL with an ankle sprain is a few days away from coming off the DL, and he is expected to do a brief rehab stint, possibly with the Indians. �That won’t come until at least this weekend.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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