(Photo: Matt Hague makes an unassisted play at first base.)
Wilson settled down after that. He gave up an infield single to Carrera to begin the 5th, but quickly picked him off first base and he was out on the caught-stealing. Wilson walked the lead off batter in the 6th, then retired the next three. He finished his evening with 6 innings of work, 2 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, with 6 strikeouts. He threw 91 pitches, with 50 strikes. He got no decision in his AAA debut.
The Clippers were also had a starter making his AAA debut. Alex White also struck out 4 Indians’ batters in the first two innings, though he allowed a walk (to LF Alex Presley and 1B Matt Hague) in each inning. White gave up a double to CF Gorkys Hernandez in the 3rd and a single to Hague in the 4th, and struck out another batter in each of those innings. The Tribe didn’t get him rattled until the 5th inning. With one out, C Wyatt Toregas took a pitch off his batting helmet. Toregas hit the ground, but bounced right back up, completely unshaken, and trotted on down to first base. (Three cheers for the super-thick new batting helmets!) Hernandez worked a walk, which moved Toregas to second base. D’Arnaud plated both Toregas and Hernandez with a double down the left field line and into the corner, to tie the game.
(Photo: Wyatt Toregas)
The Tribe could not add to their score in the 6th inning, despite singles by DH Andy Marte and Hague. Marte was replaced by pinch-runner Corey Wimberly, but Wimberly was thrown out trying to steal second base, and Hague was out on a force play at second. The Indians took the lead in the 7th, with a 4-run inning. Paolo Espino, who had relieved White to begin the 6th inning, was back on the mound to begin the 7th. Josh Harrison singled off Espino, on a sinking line drive into center field. Toregas bunted Harrison to second base, and a wild pitch allowed Harrison to advance to third base. Hernandez brought Harrison home with a single up the middle. D’Arnaud lifted a single just over the shortstop’s head and into short left-center, and at that point, Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh made a pitching change. Jess Todd came on for the Clippers, and before he even threw a pitch to the plate, he turned and tried to pick Hernandez off second base. Todd’s throw sailed into center field for an error, and then CF Carrera overran the ball when he went to pick it up. That allowed Hernandez to move to third base and d’Arnaud to take second. When Todd did start pitching, his second pitch went wild, and as C Paul Phillips scrambled for the ball, Hernandez raced for the plate, scoring standing up. D’Arnaud advanced to third, and he scored easily when Alex Presley smacked a triple off Carrera’s glove in center field. Corey Wimberly, who had remained in the game as the DH, blooped the fourth consecutive hit into short center field, scoring Presley with the fourth run of the inning, and the Indians had taken a 6-2 lead. It was their first lead of the 2011 season.
That lead did not stay very large for very long. Tim Wood (photo), who has just recently joined the Pirates’ organization, took over for Wilson to begin the 7th inning, and he allowed a double, but kept the Clippers scoreless in that inning. The top of the 8th was a different story, though. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall led off with a double to the warning track in deep left-center field. Wood walked LF Chad Huffman, then 2B Jason Kipnis tripled off the Jackie Robinson #42 on the wall in left center, just to the left of where Chisenhall had hit the ball. That cut the Indians’ lead to 6-4, and sent Wood to the locker room. Justin Thomas came in from the bullpen and got 1B Jordan Brown to strike out for the first out of the inning. Wes Hodges grounded to third, but 3B Josh Harrison’s throw to first base was way wide to the outfield side of the bag, and while Matt Hague was able to keep the ball from sailing down to the visitors’ bullpen, he was pulled off the bag, and Hodges was safe on the error. That allowed Kipnis to score from third, making it a one-run game. Phillips grounded toward the hole on the right side of the infield, but when 2B Brian Friday knocked the ball down, he only had time to throw to first, instead of being able to make a double play. That turned out to not matter — Chris Leroux was brought in to relieve Thomas, and Leroux struck out Head to end the inning and hold on to the thin lead.
Leroux came back out to pitch the top of the 9th. He gave up back-to-back singles to Carrera and SS Cord Phelps, and after a strikeout, loaded the bases with a walk to Huffman. Manager Dean Treanor made a trip to the mound and chatted with Leroux and Toregas, but did not make a pitching change. The next batter, Kipnis, tied the game with a long sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brown gave the Clippers a one-run lead with his grounder to the right side of the infield — another diving stop by Friday, but this time, Friday did not even have a play at first, and Phelps came in to score the go-ahead run. The inning ended with a line drive smash along the first-base line, and a diving catch by Matt Hague, which kept more runs from scoring.
(Photo: Brian Friday at second base)
Alex Presley was the hero in the bottom of the 9th. With two outs, Presley crushed a solo home run down the right field line, to land on the grass berm just in front of the new Victory Bell. That tied the game again, and sent it into extra innings.
Reliever Tony Watson had pitched to the last batter in the 9th inning, and he returned to pitch the top of the 10th. The first batter of the inning, Jerad Head, doubled down the left field line, then advanced to third base on Carrera’s sacrifice bunt. Watson intentionally walked Phelps, putting runners on the corners. Chisenhall grounded a slow roller to the third base side of the infield, with Pedro Ciriaco (who had taken over third base for Josh Harrison) charging in. Ciriaco made a nice scoop and threw across his body to second base, but between the slowly moving batted ball and the sliding Phelps disrupting Friday at second, there was no time for a throw to first base. A double play would have ended the inning with the score still tied, but instead, Head scored the go-ahead run from third base. A strikeout ended the inning.
RF Andrew Lambo, who was 0-for-8 up until this point, worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the 10th. Hague grounded to short, but sprinted down the line to first and just barely beat out the relay throw from second base — Lambo was out on the force, but it was not a double play. But, as in the first two games of the season, that was all the Indians could do. A strikeout and a pop up (by Pedro Ciriaco) ended the game, and the Indians had their third loss of the season.
Watson was charged with the loss, and Leroux with a Blown Save. The Indians posted a total of 12 hits, with Hernandez, d’Arnaud, Presley, Hague, and Harrison picking up 2 hits each.
(photo: Alex Presley and Corey Wimberly at first base)
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Alex Presley’s booming home run in the bottom of the 9th. It kept the Indians’ hopes alive, and it was the team’s first home run of the 2011 season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Matt Hague’s diving catch of Paul Phillips’ line drive in the top of the 9th. It happened so fast, it was hard to see the ball — there was the crack of the bat, then Hague was suddenly on the ground. He popped up with the ball in his glove, and the umpire signaled an out.
The reason that Pedro Ciriaco took over for Josh Harrison at third base at the beginning of the 9th is that Harrison was ejected from the game. He had singled with one out in the 8th, but was thrown out trying to steal on a strike-out-throw-out double play. It was a close play, and Harrison did not feel he’d been tagged in time. He argued a little too much with 3B Umpire Travis Brown, and got tossed.
(Photo: Alex Presley is out on a force play at second)
Daniel McCutchen was called up to the Pirates, to take the roster spot of Ross Ohlendorf, who has been placed on the DL. He got into the Pirates’ game tonight, and struck out the only batter he faced.
Pirates’ minor leaguer Ramon Aguero was claimed off waivers yesterday by the Rangers. He’s been assigned to AAA Round Rock (Pacific Coast League).
Justin Wilson and Wyatt Toregas confer…… and are joined by pitching coach Tom Filer
(photos by Nancy)