Stolen Bases Hurt Indians

.

IMG_4390Joe Martinez had retired the Chiefs in order in the top of the 1st, including striking out the first two batters he faced.� Strikeouts also helped him out in the 2nd inning.� Lead-off hitting 1B Jason Botts walked, then Wilson Ramos grounded to third.� Tribe 3B Mitch Jones (photo) made the play and threw to second base, but 2B Brian Friday had trouble getting the ball out of his glove.� Botts was out at second, but Ramos was safe at first.� RF Pete Orr doubled, moving Ramos to third base, then Martinez struck out LF Leonard Davis.� That brought up CF Michael Martinez, with the pitcher Erik Arnesen on deck.� Michael Martinez was intentionally walked, loading the bases, to get to Arnesen, who obligingly struck out, getting Joe Martinez out of the jam.

But Martinez was not so fortunate in the top of the 3rd.� Brian Bixler led off with a single into right field.� 2B Danny Espinosa grounded to Brian Friday at second, who tossed to SS Pedro Ciriaco. Ciriaco made the leap to avoid the sliding Bixler (photo at top), who was out, but Ciriaco was disrupted enough that his throw to first base bounced along the base path, and Espinsoa was safe.� That made a difference because the next batter, 3B Seth Bynum smacked a home run over the left field wall — a 2-run homer to tie the score, instead of the solo homer it would have been if the Indians had turned the double play.

IMG_44021B John Bowker gave the Indians the lead again in the bottom of the inning.� With one out, Bowker rocketed a ball of the top of the right field wall, with the carom taking it about half way back to the infield.� Syracuse RF Pete Orr was hoping to make the catch, so he was at the wall, and when the ball bounced over his head, off the wall, and back towards the infield, he had a long run to track it down.� Bowker had plenty of time to reach third base standing (photo).� Chief’s manager Trent Jewett positioned his infield with three fielders on the left side, moving 2B Danny Espinosa over to the left side of the second base bag, in hopes of keeping the Indians from pushing Bowker in to score.� The strategy worked for Pedro Ciriaco, who grounded hard to third.� Bowker stayed put at third, and the Chiefs’ only play was to get Ciriaco at first.� The strategy did not work on C Jason Jaramillo, who grounded to deep short.� Brian Bixler was able to make a diving stop and keep the ball in the infield, but he had no play. � Jaramillo was safe at first,� Bowker scored, and the Indians had the lead again, 3-2.

The lead did not last long, though, as Joe Martinez ran into trouble again in the top of the 4th.� Leonard Davis doubled into right, and Michael Martinez single dup the middle, moving Davis to third base.� Erik Arnesen tried to bunt, but instead popped the ball up in a short and twisty arc.� Joe Martinez charged in and just got to the ball in time to make the catch, for the out on Arnesen. Then he turned and fired to third base, where Davis had taken a lead.� But with 3B Mitch Jones coming in for the bunt, SS Pedro Ciriaco had to cover third base — and he wasn’t there yet.� The extra tick that it took for Joe Martinez to wait for Ciriaco to cover the last step to third was enough so that Davis and Ciriaco and the ball all arrived at the same time, and Davis was called safe.� Michael Martinez scrambled to second base while everyone was paying attention to third base, and there was no one to cover second — 2B Brian Friday had moved to cover first while 1B John Bowker came in, in case the bunt went down on the first base side of the infield.� Brian Bixler singled through the hole into left field, scoring Davis.� Then Danny Espinosa dropped a safety squeeze, bringing in Michael Martinez.� Seth Bynum also singled on a soft liner to short left field, and Bixler scored, giving the Chiefs a 5-3 lead.

IMG_4410That was all for Joe Martinez.� He had thrown 77 pitches (47 strikes) and gave up 8 hits and 2 walks for those 5 runs.� Reliever Corey Hamman (photo) was called in from the bullpen to begin the 5th inning.� He retired the first batter he faced, before he too got into trouble.� Pete Orr lined a single into right field, and Davis slipped a grounder through the hole into right.� On Hamman’s first pitch to Michael Martinez, Orr and Davis pulled off a double steal, to put both runners into scoring position.� When Michael Martinez singled up the middle, both runners scored easily.� Hamman struck out Erik Arnesen, but Brian Bixler lined his third single of the game (and third in three innings) into left field, moving Michael Martinez to second base.

While Hamman was pitching, starter Brian Burres had been throwing in the bullpen.� Since Burres was scheduled to make the start on Wednesday, it appeared that this might be a side session.� But with two runs in, two outs, and two on, manager Frank Kremblas went out to the mound, and it became apparent that Burres was not doing side work.� He came on in relief of Hamman and pitched 3.1 innings.� Burres was quickly greeted by another surprise — another double steal, by Michael Martinez and Bixler.� Burres worked the count full on Danny Espinosa and then walked him to load the bases.� But then he struck out Seth Bynum, to end the inning with the bases still loaded.

IMG_4411John Bowker (photo) got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 5th, with a towering home run that cleared the right field wall, the right field grass berm and sidewalk, and the outer iron fence, landing somewhere near West Street.

That was all the scoring for the Indians for the rest of the game, though.� Arnesen was relieved by Collin Balester in the 6th.� Balester gave up a walk to Jason Jaramillo, but forced Jaramillo out at second on Brian Burres’ bunt, then forced Burres out at second on a grounder by Kevin Melillo.� The Indians went down in order in the 7th.� Josh Wilkie replaced Balester for the final two innings, and he retired all 6 Tribe batters he faced.

Brian Burres worked around two singles, by Wilson Ramos and Leonard Davis, in the 6th inning, and despite a wild pitch that put both into scoring position, he kept the Chiefs from scoring.� His second wild pitch, in the 7th, led to a run, though.� Pitcher Collin Balester led off the 7th with a single lined into right-center field.� Brian Bixler walked, setting up the only double play of the game that worked.� Danny Espinosa tipped the ball off Burres’ glove, but right to Pedro Ciriaco, for the 1-6-4-3 (Burres to Ciriaco to Friday to Bowker) double play.� Balester advanced to third base on the play.� Burres struck out Seth Bynum, but strike three hit the dirt about 3 feet in front of the plate and bounced back and to the right of Jason Jaramillo, allowing Balester to score easily and putting Bynum on first base.� Bynum stole second, but a fly out ended the inning, with the Chiefs up 8-4.

Burres retired the Chiefs in order in the 8th, then turned the mound over to Dana Eveland for the 9th.� Eveland got the first out, then gave up a single to Boomer Whiting, who had come in on a double switch.� Brian Bixler reached base for the fifth time in the game — he tapped a grounder back to the mound, and Eveland picked it up and threw to second base to begin a double play.� Pedro Ciriaco stepped in front of Brian Friday at second base, but he couldn’t hold on to the ball, ruled a missed-catch error.� That meant that when Danny Espinosa hit his second home run of the series, it was not a solo shot, but a 3-run homer, to give the Chiefs an 11-4 lead.� Eveland got a ground out and a strike out to end the inning, and the Indians could not respond, giving the Chiefs the win.

The Indians and Chiefs split this 4-game series, and the Indians won the season series, 5 games to 3.

Photos:

Melillo’s home run trot past manager Frank Kremblas to start the game;� Brian Bixler at shortstop

IMG_4392

IMG_4401

Joe Martinez chats with home plate umpire David Rackley;� watching from the dugout

IMG_4396

IMG_4388

John Bowker at third base;� meeting on the mound

IMG_4404

IMG_4406

.

IMG_4393Indians Hitting Gems of the Game:� Home runs by Kevin Melillo in the top of the 1st, and by John Bowker in the 5th.� Melillo’s was his 8th of the season.� Bowker’s was his 2nd with the Indians; he also had 14 while with Fresno in the Pacific Coast League.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game:� Joe Martinez taking the pop bunt by Erik Arnesen in the 4th inning.� He had to change directions and come in to get the ball, then alertly fired over to third base.� It was not his fault that the runner at third was not called out.

NOTES:

The Indians have a scheduled day off on Tuesday.� Then they will travel to Toledo for a 3-game series against the MudHens.

The Indians have 20 games left in the 2010 regular season.� All will be played against their International League Western Division foes:� the Toledo MudHens, the Columbus Clippers, and the Louisville Bats.� And of the 20 games, 10 will be against the Bats.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

Menu