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Monday, November 28, 2022

Strikeouts Stifle Indians’ Bats


Charlie Morton (photo) made the start for the Indians.� It was one of his better starts for the Tribe, despite his taking some tough knocks and ultimately being charged with the loss.� Morton pitched 6 innings, throwing an even 100 pitches (69 strikes).� He gave up all 3 of the Iron Pigs’ runs on 7 hits and one walk, with 4 strikeouts.� Morton was throwing hard right out of the box.� He was also throwing strikes — his first 9 pitches were all strikes.

Former Indian CF Chris Duffy began the top of the 1st by slapping a single that shot to the left of 3B Jim Negrych and the right of SS Brian Friday and into left field.� 2B Ozzie Chavez dribbled a slow grounder up the third base line, which hit the bag, and by the time Negrych got to it, Chavez was on first and Duffy on second.� Morton settled in a little, striking out LF Domonic Brown and getting John Mayberry to fly out.� It looked like Morton might get out of the inning unscathed, but then 3B Neil Sellers lifted a looper to short right field behind first base, just where RF Brandon Moss and 1B Jeff Clement had trouble getting to it.� The ball fell in, and just inside the foul line, with both Moss and Clement missing it (photo below).� That brought the speedy Duffy around from second base to score easily.� 1B Paul Hoover was next, with the hardest-hit ball of the inning, right to Friday.� But as Friday tried for the back-hand catch, the ball skipped up and over his shoulder.� Aki Iwamura was backing him up, but Hoover was safe at first, and Chavez came in to score.


Morton was still throwing hard when he got into another jam in the 2nd.� SS Brian Bocock led off with a walk, and Brandon Duckworth sacrifice bunted him to second base.� Morton hit Chris Duffy (or rather, Duffy’s jersey) with a pitch, and then walked Ozzie Chavez on four pitches to load the bases with one out.� That brought pitching coach Dean Treanor out to the mound for a chat with Morton.� When Treanor went back to the dugout, Morton made one pitch — which Domonic Brown grounded right to SS Brian Friday, who started an inning-ending double play, Friday to Iwamura to Clement (6-4-3).

Morton looked even better in the next couple of innings.� Another double play got him out of the 3rd inning, after Neil Sellers reached base on a fielding error by Jim Negrych at third.� He struck out the first two batters in the 4th, then gave up a single to deep behind second base by Brandon Duckworth and hit Chris Duffy with another pitch (for real, in the foot).� A fly out ended that inning without a run scoring.� Morton retired the side in order in the 6th inning.

The Iron Pigs added an insurance run in the 5th.� With one out, John Mayberry doubled off the top of the left field wall.� The ball flew over LF Kevin Melillo’s head, but he positioned himself perfectly to play the carom.� Mayberry stole third base on Morton’s first pitch to Neil Sellers.� Morton’s next pitch bounced in the dirt to the right side of the plate and skipped back to the backstop.� Mayberry scored easily while Luke Carlin was chasing down the ball, and when he found it, he had no play.� Morton gave up a hit to Sellers (so Mayberry would have scored even without the wild pitch).� Paul Hoover tapped one back to the mound, but Morton juggled it for a moment, leaving him only the play at first base instead of being able to begin a double play.� After walking Dane Sardinha, Morton struck out Brian Bocock to end the inning.

Manager Frank Kremblas was pleased that Morton was able to go 6 innings, enabling him to give the Tribe bullpen a bit of a rest.� Brian Bass relieved Morton to pitch the 7th and 8th innings.� Bass gave up a single to Domonic Brown to lead off the 7th, and Brown stole second base, but Bass retired the next 6 batters he faced.� Four of those outs were strikeouts.� Wil Ledezma pitched a perfect 9th inning, and he struck out 2 batters.� That makes a total of 26 strikeouts in the game.

The Indians will be glad to see the end of the Iron Pigs, who won the season series 6 games to 2.� Next, the Tribe have a 4-game series with the Charlotte Knights.


Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:� Aki Iwamura’s long blast to the ground cover over the center field wall.� It was Iwamura’s second homer since joining the Indians.

Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game:� First — in the top of the 2nd, with the bases loaded and one out, LF Domonic Brown bounced to short, where Brian Friday made the scoop, flipped the ball to Aki Iwamura at second base, and on to Jeff Clement on first, to get out of the inning.� Second — in the top of the 8th, Brian Bocock grounded to deep behind third base.� Jim Negrych went to his right and deep for the backhanded snatch, then fired across the diamond, where Jeff Clement took the tough low hop just in time fo the out.


Former Indian Chris Aguila had sprouted an antenna:



Left: Chris Duffy;��������� Right: Jim Negrych makes a play behind third base



Left:� Jim Negrych leads of first;������ Right: Brian Friday at the plate




Since Pirates’ C Ryan Doumit has been placed on the Disabled List due to a concussion, Jason Jaramillo was recalled back to Pittsburgh.� That leaves the Indians with one “real” catcher on the roster — Luke Carlin.� Jeff Clement will be the back-up catcher when needed.

With an open spot on the active roster, infielder Doug Bernier has been moved off the Disabled List and back onto the active roster.

Made official — Hayden Penn and Vinnie Chulk are on their way to Japanese baseball.� Penn will pitch for Chiba Lotte, and Chulk will pitch for Hiroshima.

Both Brandon Moss’ 12-game hitting streak and Alex Presley’s 13-game hitting streak ended tonight.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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