Owens started the 7th inning with a one-hitter going, but the first batter of the 7th, Mesoraco, lined a double off the top of the center field wall, just inches from being a home run. A ground out moved Mesoraco to third base, and Valaika drove him in with a single. Tony Watson relieved Owens, with one out and a runner on first base. Watson gave up a single to CF Dave Sappelt — a looper that fell into short right-center field, just out of reach of three racing Indians’ fielders. Valaika rounded second and headed to third, as the throw from Lambo came in wide. Fortunately, Watson was exactly where he should have been, backing up third base, keeping Valaika from even thinking about trying for the plate. Watson got a strikeout and a grounder force out at second to end the inning without another run scoring. Owens finished with that one run on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 hit batters, with 3 strikeouts. He also allowed only one run in his start on Monday, giving him a 1.35 ERA.
The Indians went down in order in the 5th. In the 6th, Harrison was hit by a pitch. Toregas grounded to first base, and Bats’ 1B Danny Dorn tried for the reverse double play, first making the easy one-step-to-the-bag play at first, then trying for Harrison going to second. Harrison was too fast for him, and slid in without being tagged. He was left stranded when the inning ended, though.
The Tribe broke things open in the top of the 8th. With reliever Joe Krebs on the mound for Louisville and one out, Lambo (photo above) lined a single up the middle. Harrison drove a liner to the wall in the right-center field gap, bringing Lambo around to score an insurance run. Back-to-back walks to Friday and Toregas loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Andy Marte. Marte (photo below) cleared the bases with a long fly into left field for a double, and the Indians had a 6-1 lead.
One more run was added to that lead in the top of the 9th. Kyle McCulloch relieved Krebs, and Presley greeted him with a bouncer back to the mound. McCulloch deflected the ball enough to make his infielders have to change their direction, and giving Presley time to reach first safely. A wild pitch all the way to the backstop let Presley move up to second base. 1B Matt Hague lined a single into left field, bringing Presley in with the Indians’ final run.
Tim Wood pitched the last two innings for the Indians. He retired the side in order in the 8th, then worked around a lead-off walk and a two-out single to keep the Bats scoreless in the 8th inning. Wood struck out 3 batters.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Brian Friday’s 2-RBI single in the 4th inning, which gave the Indians a lead they would not give back. It was the first time all season that the Indians scored first in a game.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Rudy Owens’ overall performance — only 3 hits, one run, and maintaining his game face throughout. He pitched 5 hitless innings and worked out of small jams, and did not get flustered by a 2-error play, even when it put two runners into scoring position.
Pitcher Joe Beimel, who made two one-inning appearances for the Tribe this week, got into this afternoon’s game for the Pirates. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and struck out 2 batters in one inning of work.
(photos by Nancy)