The Indians started out slowly at the plate against Toledo’s starter Thad Weber, who was making his AAA debut.� Only one Tribe batter reached base in the first three innings, and that was DH Brandon Moss, who singled into the right-center field alley to lead off the 2nd inning.� Moss reached second base on a wild pitch, but go no further.� The next Indians’ hit was off the bat of 3B Akinori Iwamura, who lined a single into center field to open the bottom of the 4th.� Iwamura was erased when CF Alex Presley bounced back to the mound, and Weber started a double play, 1-6-3 (Weber to Iorg to Bertram).� Moss walked after the double play, and he stole second base, but 1B Bryan Myrow struck out to end the inning.
The Indians got to Weber in the 5th inning, with a rally started by John Bowker (photo).� Bowker lined a triple into the left-center alley, all the way to the 418′ sign, the deepest part of Victory Field.� C Jason Jaramillo (photo below) grounded to second base, allowing Bowker to score the tying run easily from third base.� SS Pedro Ciriaco followed with a liner into center field for a single.� He reached second base on another wild pitch by Weber, then he stole third base, sliding in just ahead of a high throw from C Max St. Pierre.� Moments later, LF Kevin Melillo slipped a single through the hole past short, scoring Ciriaco from third with the go-ahead run.
Weber retired the Indians in order in the next two innings, and he finished his night with 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk, with 8 strikeouts in 7 innings.� He struck out Brian Myrow and 2B Brian Friday three times each.� Reliever Scot Drucker came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th.� He gave up one more Indians’ hit, another single up the middle by Aki Iwamura, but left him on first when Alex Presley flied out to end the inning.
After Jakubauskas took a seat, Brian Bass was first out of the bullpen for the Indians.� He kept the string of outs going, retiring all six batters he faced over the 6th and 7th innings.� Steven Jackson was next, and he also put the side down in order in the 8th.� That was a total of 18 Mud Hens’ batters retired in order by three Tribe pitchers.
The streak was broken in the top of the 9th.� With Jean Machi on the mound, SS Cale Iorg grounded to deep short.� Tribe SS Pedro Ciriaco went into the hole and kept the ball from getting into left field, but when he turned to throw, he airmailed the ball over 1B Brian Myrow’s head.� The ball ricocheted off the facing of the Hens’ dugout and back toward first base, where Myrow (photo below) was able to get to it fast enough so that Iorg did not have time to advance to second base.� It was ruled a hit, despite the throw, since the ball was a tough play, and Iorg is fast enough that the play would have been close at first.
On the first pitch to the next batter, Scott Sizemore, Iorg tried to steal second base, but was cut down by a perfect throw by C Jason Jaramillo. Machi struck out Sizemore for the second out of the 9th.� That brought up LF Jeff Frazier, and as Frazier stepped up to the plate, Rick, who sits behind me, offered the Indians some advice:� “This guy can tie the game with one swing of the bat.� I’d just walk him.” Machi should have listened to Rick, because two seconds after those words came out of his mouth, Frazer drove Machi’s first pitch on a long fly to the right field corner.� He missed the home run Rick feared by only about two feet, hitting near the top of the part of the right field corner where the wall is angled at the service doors to the field.� RF John Bowker was racing toward the corner, but when the ball hit the wall/doors, it caromed past Bowker and rolled along the warning track, about a third of the way to center field.� By the time Bowker chased it down, Frazier was into third base standing — and a faster runner might have had an inside-the-park home run.� But Machi bore down and threw one more pitch, getting DH Max Leon to ground to second base, where Brian Friday made the game-ending play.
The Indians and Mud Hens meet for the last time in the 2010 season tomorrow, then the Indians will make a short (2 game) road trip to Columbus to face the Clippers.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:� John Bowker’s triple to the 418′ mark in left center, opening the bottom of the 5th inning and sparking the Indians’ rally.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game:� In the top of the 7th, with two outs, Ben Guez grounded hard through the infield, and it looked like a sure single into center.� But Brian Friday went to his right and came up with the ball behind second base.� He didn’t dive, though he seemed to stumble a bit, then righted himself and whirled around and fired to first base, just in time to get Guez and end the inning.
(photos by Nancy)