8th Inning Rally Sinks Tribe; Morton Optioned To Indy

IMG_3872The Indians were able to put their lead-off batter on base in all but two of the first 7 innings. �They did not have as much luck driving those runners around to score, though. �DH Brandon Moss was left standing on first base after opening the 2nd inning with a walk. �Argenis Diaz doubled into the right field corner, fair by just a few feet, to begin the 3rd inning. �Kevin Melillo’s drag bunt slipped past the mound, and Melillo was able to beat out the throw from 2B Cord Phelps to first base. �Diaz went to third on the play, giving the Indians runners on the corners. �But the next three Tribe batters went down in order, and the two were left stranded.

Jonathan Van Every led off the 5th with an easy looper into short left-center for a single. �Argenis Diaz’s sacrifice bunt moved Van Every to second base. �Aki Iwamura (photo) tied the score at 2-2 with a triple off the wall in straight-away center field, missing a home run by inches, but bringing in Van Every with the tying run.

Photo: �Argenis Diaz and Jim Negrych

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The Tribe took the lead in the bottom of the 7th. �Van Every began the inning by running the count full, fouling off three more pitches, then finally taking ball four for a walk. �The hit-and-run was on for Argenis Diaz, and as Van Every took off for second base, Diaz grounded toward the right side of the infield — but 2B Cord Phelps was right there, and Diaz was out at first base. �Aki Iwamura hit his second extra-base hit of the game, a double into the right field corner, scoring Van Every to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.

But the lead was short-lived. �Hayden Penn had given up a two-out single in the 5th, then retired the Clippers in order in both the 6th and 7th innings. �In the top of the 8th, with the Indians holding on to a slim one-run lead, the first three Columbus batters reached base. �Penn gave up a single to Cord Phelps. �Jose Constanza grounded to 2B Jim Negrych, who flipped the ball to Argenis Diaz covering second, forcing out Phelps. �But the relay on to first base was not in time to get the speedy Constanza, who was safe at first with one out. �Constanza stole second base, then tried to steal third, but when batter Josh Rodriguez’s back swing came around and hit C Luke Carlin’s mask and shoulder and arm, and prevented him from making the throw down to third base. �It was ruled interference, and that meant that Constanza had to go back to second base. �Rodriguez walked, and that was the end of the evening for Hayden Penn. �Penn had thrown 97 pitches (59 strikes). �He pitched 7.1 innings, allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.

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Photo: �the infield: �Argenis Diaz, Aki Iwamura, Brian Myrow, and Jim Negrych

Wil Ledezma took over for Penn. �While he was working on his first batter, Rodriguez and Constanza pulled off a double steal. �With both runners in scoring position, Ledezma got that first batter, Valbuena, to pop out to Iwamura in foul territory for the first out of the inning. �But Jordan Brown bounced a sharp grounder off the back of the mound and up the middle into center field, driving in both Rodriguez and Constanza to retake the lead for Columbus.

Jean Machi pitched the 9th inning for the Indians. �He got the first two outs of the inning, then walked Lou Marson. �Marson stole second base and continued on to third when Luke Carlin’s throw to second base was wide and high and got past Jim Negrych into short center field. �The inning ended when Cord Phelps drove a low line drive wide of first base. �Brian Myrow darted to his right and snared the liner before it could get into the outfield.

IMG_3877The Indians had two chances to get the lead back after the Clippers scored in the top of the 8th. �Brandon Moss ran the count full, fouled off 5 more pitches, then took ball four for a one-out walk in the bottom of the 8th. �Doug Bernier came on to pinch-run for Moss. �It didn’t help though, because a pop out and a strike out ended the inning with Bernier still on first base. �The Indians went down in order in the 9th, with all three outs made on tappers back to the Clippers’ closer Vinnie Pestano on the mound.

Photo: �Hayden Penn, Luke Carlin, and Aki Iwamura confer on the mound.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �In the 5th inning, Akinori Iwamura tripled to the wall in straight-away center field, 410 feet. �The ball hit the top of the wall and ricocheted, as Iwamura cruised into third base standing up. �It was his first extra-base hit and first RBI (he drove in Jonathan Van Every) since joining the Indians.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �SS Argenis Diaz was busy tonight, seeming to be exactly where he needed to be every time the ball came his way. �The best play came in the 2nd inning, when Columbus’ Nick Weglarz grounded to deep short. �Diaz went back and to his right, making the back-handed stop. �Then he made a leaping turn and throw across the diamond from the edge of the outfield grass just in time to get Weglarz at first.

NOTES:

IMG_3857Pre-game fun: �90-year-old Richard Leitch, a WW II vet, is participating in a program that helps seniors get to do special things that they’ve always wanted to do. �Mr. Leitch, who did some coaching in his life, had always wanted to be an umpire. �Tonight, he got to do it, in a special pre-game ceremony. �Mr. Leitch walked out onto the field with the regular umpires, then took his place behind the plate. �Indians’ pitcher Brian Burres took the mound and Erik Kratz was behind the plate. �Columbus’ Jared Goedert did the honors in the batters’ box.

Photo: �Mr. Leitch has a word with Erik Kratz before they begin.

Indy’s FOX news channel interviewed Mr. Leitch via phone in this morning’s broadcast. �(Not sure how long their link will work.) �Scroll down the options in the center — it’s about the 7th down.

Brian Burres took the mound, while the rest of the umpires and some of the Indians in the dugout looked on.

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Strike One! � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Strike Two!

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Strike Three! � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Congratulations all around.

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The Pirates have taken pitcher Charlie Morton off the disabled list and have optioned him to Indianapolis… which means he still gets to stay here and make the start he was already going to make on Sunday. �The Indians will have to make a roster move to free up a spot for Morton.

Hayden Penn was named the Indians’ Player of the Month for June. �Penn made 6 starts for the Indians in the month of June. �He won 4 of them and posted a 1.89 ERA, allowing 28 hits and 9 runs (7 earned) in 33.1 innings, with 9 walks and 32 strikeouts. �Opposing batters hit .226 off him in June. �In three of those starts, Penn did not allow an earned run at all. �Penn will be awarded the official fancy watch in a pre-game ceremony on Sunday.

Steve Pearce has not played in the past two days, though he is still on his rehab assignment from the Pirates. �It turns out that he has a sore knee and has been resting it. �No word as to when he will be back on the field, or what the Pirates’ plans are for him after the rehab assignment expires in another couple of days.

Sunday’s game is already sold out — Player of the Month ceremony, game, and fireworks afterwards.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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