Indians Strike (Out) Bats

Eveland settled down after that.� He walked Devin Mesoraco to open the 3rd, but then struck out the next four batters he faced, before allowing Dave Sappelt another single.� Zach Cozart flied out, then Eveland struck out Danny Dorn to end the 4th inning.

The Indians had one base runner in each of the 2nd and 3rd innings, but could not score.� In the 2nd, Eveland drove the first pitch he saw down the third base line.� It bounced right on the chalk just behind third base, and continued on towards the Indians’ dugout.� Eveland was running without much enthusiasm down the first base line, but when he saw the ball still rolling and no Bats’ fielder near it, he poured it on (well, for him anyway), and charged into second base.� The throw in from LF Todd Frazier beat Eveland to second base, but the throw bounced away from the bag, and Eveland was safe with a double.� Unfortunately, he was left stranded there on second.� Aki Iwamura led off the 3rd inning with a blooper that dropped in, in short right field, but he too was left on base.

IMG_4580The Tribe began the bottom of the 4th with two outs, but Doug Bernier got things going when he was hit by a pitch.� Pinch-hitter Jonathan Van Every took a 4-pitch walk, and two runners were on base for Kevin Melillo.� Melillo blasted the first pitch he saw down the right field line and over the wall, just a few feet inside the foul pole for a 3-run home run (photo).� That one swing tied the score at 4-4, and the Indians were back in the game.� Aki Iwamura kept the rally going with a fly ball into center field.� Bats’ CF Sappelt and LF Frazier converged, looked at each other, and let the ball drop in between them.� Iwamura was credited with a double (though it was a group error by the two outfielders).� Alex Presley ripped a line drive into the right field corner, which bounced off the angled part of the wall and caromed along the warning track.� As Bats’ RF Luis Terrero chased it down, Iwamura scored the go-ahead run, and Presley had an RBI double.� The Indians had a 5-4 lead.

Dana Eveland was scheduled to pitch only a few innings, and he was done after four.� Justin Thomas entered the game to begin the 5th inning.� He hit Todd Frazier with a pitch to start the inning, and Frazier had to leave the game, replaced by pinch-runner Michael Griffin (who then stayed in the game to play left field).� Thomas retired the next three batters in that inning.� The 6th opened with a long fly ball into the right field corner off the bat of Eric Eymann.� Eymann raced around the bases, cruising into third base as Brandon Moss’s throw came into the infield.� 2B Doug Bernier took the throw, but his relay that was meant for third base went sailing into the second row of seats beside the Indians’ dugout.� Eymann was awarded one more base — home plate — and the score was tied again, 5-5. Thomas struck out three batters in his two innings.

The Indians still had the momentum, though.� They got to Chad Reineke one more time in the bottom of the 6th, and again the rally began with two outs.� Aki Iwamura took a 4-pitch walk, and he scored the go-ahead run when Alex Presley rocketed a long fly ball off the center field wall at the 405′ mark, racing around for an RBI triple.� Reliever Micah Owings took over for Reineke to begin the 7th inning.� Mitch Jones, who had taken over for Jeff Clement at first base after the 4th inning, greeted Owings with a double down the left field line.� Jones stole third base, and Erik Kratz walked, to give the Indians runners on the corners.� SS Pedro Ciriaco brought in Jones with a sacrifice fly, giving the Indians an insurance run and a 7-5 lead.� Moments later, reliever Steven Jackson, who doesn’t get to bat very often, picked up his first hit of the season with a line drive single up the middle, moving Kratz to second base.� Kevin Melillo walked to load the bases, and at that point, Owings was relieved by Daniel Ray Herrera.� Herrera left all three Tribe runners on base when he struck out Aki Iwamura.� Herrera also retired three Indians in order in the bottom of the 8th — the only inning in which the Tribe went down in order.

Steven Jackson did as well on the mound as he did at the plate.� He pitched the 7th and 8th innings, and allowed only one hit, a single by Devin Mesoraco in the 7th.� He also struck out three batters over the two innings.

Jean Machi came on for the top of the 9th, and he made things a little too interesting.� Machi walked Dave Sappelt to begin the inning, got Zach Cozart to fly out, then walked Danny Dorn too.� Michael Griffin singled into short center field, to load the bases and put the winning run on first base.� But Machi took a deep breath, and got Devin Mesoraco to ground to Pedro Ciriaco, who started the game-ending 6-4-3 (Ciriaco to Bernier to Jones) double play.

Here’s where the spoiler role comes in:� the Bats had been hoping to clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win tonight.� Instead, the loss, combined with the Columbus Clippers’ 8-0 win over Toledo, drops the Bats to 1.5 games behind Columbus in the International League Western Division standings, and keeps the Wild Card race alive.� The Bats have 4 games left to play, all against the Indians, two here at Victory Field and two in Louisville.� In the Wild Card standings, Louisville has the lead, with Syracuse 3 games back and Buffalo 4.5 games behind.� Syracuse won tonight, 7-3 over Rochester, and Buffalo lost to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 9-2.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:� Kevin Melillo’s 3-run homer, which turned the momentum and put the Indians back into the game.

Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game:� Strikeouts!� Dana Eveland — 9,� Justin Thomas — 3, Steven Jackson — 3.

Dana Eveland on the mound

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Justin Thomas� and� Steven Jackson

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Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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