IMG_4433The Bats came at Martinez (photo) again in the 5th.� Sappelt led off with a single to deep short.� Pedro Ciriaco knocked it down, but had no play against a fast runner like Sappelt.� Martinez hit Cozart with a pitch — he finished the inning on the bases but then came out of the game, with Valaika moving over to play shortstop and Michael Griffin coming in to play second base.� After a fly out, RF Wladimir Balantien worked the count full, loading the bases.� The next play was weird:� Juan Francisco drove a fly ball into right center field, and Alex Presley had to chase it down.� Francisco rounded first base and headed for second.� Sappelt scored from third base, and Cozart came from second, but was held up at third.� Balentien was off and running from first base; he rounded second and kept going, knowing that Francisco was rounding first base behind him.� Then Balentien pulled up short about a third of the way past second base — surprised to see Cozart standing on third.� Balentien was caught in the middle of nowhere, with a teammate on the base on either side of him.� By then, the throw from Presley had come in to second base, and for a moment, everyone was confused.� Bernier took the throw, held on to the ball, then ran right at Balentien, eventually tagging him out along the base line near third base.� Not sure why Cozart had either held up, or been held up by his manager Rick Sweet.� The play was ruled a single for Francisco, and that he had advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield.� It was a break for the Indians, since one run scored instead of two, and Martinez finished the inning with a ground out before the Bats could score again.

IMG_4451The Indians put their first two batters of the game on base, but were pretty quiet for the next four innings.� LF Kevin Melillo led off the bottom of the 1st with a single just past the Bats’ first baseman and into right field.� 3B Akinori Iwamura (photo) grounded to second base, for a force out on Melillo, but he was quick enough to beat out the relay throw to first base and avoid the double play.� Iwamura got as far as second base on Alex Presley’s ground out, but a strikeout ended the inning.

Doug Bernier reached base in the 3rd inning on an infield hit, when he dribbled a grounder on the left side of the infield.� Bats’ 3B Francisco’s only hope was to make a bare-handed pickup and a perfect throw — but he missed the pickup, and Bernier was given the hit.� Joe Martinez dropped down the perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Bernier to second base.� But he got no further, even when Aki Iwamura walked, as a grounder force out ended the inning.� C Jason Jaramillo walked to lead off the 5th inning.� Doug Bernier reached base when he grounded to third, and Francisco’s throw to second base for the force out sailed over 2B Michael Griffin’s head and into right field.� Jaramillo reached third base on the error, and Bernier was safe at first.� But two strikeouts followed, and when Bernier took off for second base on the second strike three, he was easily thrown out to end the inning.

IMG_4458Alex Presley finally put the Tribe onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th.� On a 3-2 count, he launched a long fly ball over the right field wall for the solo home run that cut the Bats’ lead to 2-1.

The Indians tried a 2-out rally in the 7th inning.� Pinch-hitter Brian Friday slipped a single through the right side of the infield, just out of reach of Bats’ 1B Yonder Alonso.� Kevin Melillo zipped a flare over second base and into short center field, moving Friday to second base.� That ended starter Ben Jukich’s afternoon, with one run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings.� Reliever Carlos Fisher took over with Friday and Melillo on base.� It took Fisher just one pitch to get Aki Iwamura to bounce a grounder to second base to end the inning.

When Joe Martinez exited after 5 innings and 88 pitches (55 strikes), with 2 runs on 7 hits and a walk, he was relieved by Chris Jakubauskas. In his first appearance since officially coming off both the Disabled List and the Piratres’ 40-man roster, Jakubauskas pitched 2 strong scoreless innings.� He allowed one hit in each inning — a double down the left field line to Bats’ starter Ben Jukich, and a single lined into right field by Wladimir Balentien.� Jakubauskas also struck out 3 batters.

Steven Jackson pitched the 8th inning for the Indians.� He worked around a lead-off single by Todd Frazier, and again kept the Bats from extending their one-run lead.

IMG_4445

The bottom of the 8th was the big inning for the Indians.� With Fisher back on the mound for the Bats, Alex Presley (photo) again ran the count full, fouled off two more pitches, then lined a double just past 3B Francisco and into left field.� Brandon Moss followed with another ball down the left field line.� This one landed just inches fair, then took a high bounce into the stands, for a ground rule double, scoring Presley to tie the game at 2-2.� 1B John Bowker grounded out, which put Moss onto third base.� Pedro Ciriaco next grounded to short, with what seemed certain to be an easy fielder’s choice out on Moss.� But Moss, not being forced to run, held his position on third base as SS Chris Valaika charged the ball.� Valaika must have been paying too much attention to what Moss was doing and not enough to watching the ball go into his glove — because the ball skipped under his glove and into left field.� At that point, Moss took off for the plate and easily scored the go-ahead run, while Ciriaco was safe at first on the error.� Jason Jaramillo followed with a single along the right field line.� The speedy Ciriaco was off and running with the pitch, and he raced around to score as the throw came in.� Jaramillo got hung up between first and second bases, but he purposely stalled there in the run-down (9-6-3-4) to make sure Ciriaco was able to score the insurance run (unearned).

.

IMG_4438

(Photo:� Brandon Moss on deck)

Jean Machi came in from the bullpen to finish things off in the 9th. He retired the Bats in order, with a grounder and two strikeouts.� He earned his 19th save of the season, while Steven Jackson, the pitcher of record in the bottom of the 8th, earned his 4th win.

The win keeps the Indians still clinging to a slim chance of making the playoffs as a wild card — though it would take a miraculous combination of Indians wins and Louisville, Columbus, Buffalo, and Syracuse losses.� The Columbus Clippers also lost today, so the Bats maintained their half-game lead over Columbus in the International League West Division.� Now Columbus has the lead in the wild card race, by 2 games over Buffalo.� Syracuse is in third place, 6.5 games back, and the Indians are 7 games back.� The Indians have 15 games remaining in the 2010 season, and 9 of those will be at Victory Field.

.

Chris Jaukubauskas;� Aki Iwamura, Pedro Ciraco, and Doug Bernier confer

IMG_4456

IMG_4446

.

Mitch Jones pinch-hit in the 5th, but struck out; Moss on third, with bullpen activity behind him

IMG_4449

IMG_4462

.

John Bowker waits his turn;� the win

IMG_4441

IMG_4464

.

Doug Bernier at second base;� the win

IMG_4432

IMG_4465

.

Mike Crotta was doing another side session before the game.� Pitching coach Dean Treanor was watching, and Erik Kratz was doing the catching.

IMG_4425

IMG_4426

.

.

IMG_4427

IMG_4428

.

IMG_4459Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:� (photo) Alex Presley’s 5th homer of the season with the Indians (he had 6 with Altoona earlier in the season).� It was a no-doubter, sailing over the 362′ sign, and landing in the middle of a group of blankets spread on the right field grass berm.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game:� The top of the 6th began with Chris Valaika taking a lazy bouncer toward the third base bag.� It was moving slowly enough so that Aki Iwamura had to hustle if he was going to have a play at first.� Iwamura came in and to his right, crossing behind the third base bag to make the scoop, then throwing across his body and across the diamond in time to get Valaika at first.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

IMPORTANT: You will need to update your password after the switch to the new server in order to log in and comment. Go to the Password Reset Page to change your password.