The Indians managed only two base runners over the first 5 innings. CF Alex Presley walked in the 1st inning, and RF Andrew Lambo singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but both were left on base. After Lambo’s single, the next 9 Tribe batters went down in order. Finally, the Indians got moving in the top of the 6th. With one out, LF Corey Wimberly (photo) lined a ball into center field. Bulls’ CF Jennings made a valiant dive but came up empty, and the ball rolled all the way to the center field wall, as Wimberly raced around the bases and stopped at third base. Ciriaco brought Wimberly in with a surprise sacrifice fly. Ciriaco’s high pop drifted down the left field line, well behind the third base bag. When 3B Lopez raced back and made the catch, he was not expecting anything from Wimberly. But as soon as the catch was made, Wimberly raced for the plate. The surprised Lopez turned and threw the ball wide to the plate, allowing Wimberly to score standing up. Ciriaco was credited with a sacrifice fly. CF Alex Presley singled after Wimberly scored, and he stole second base (his 9th of the season). 1B Matt Hague walked, but the rally ended when DH John Bowker grounded into a force out.
The 1-1 tie lasted for the next 5 innings. Cesar Valdez (photo) took over for Owens. Valdez threw 3 scoreless innings. He gave up a lead-off single to Olmedo in the 7th, then a throwing error by C Dusty Brown on a bunt by Jennings put runners on first and second bases. Brown’s throw to first was wide, and bounced off the glove of 2B Friday, who was covering first, and then it hit the first base umpire. Valdez took a page out of Owens’ book, though. He struck out Ruggiano, and got Guyer to bounce to third. Harrison scooped up Guyer’s tapper and again fired home, catching the lead runner Olmedo half way between second and third. A very brief run-down ended with Brown tagging out Olmedo. Another ground out ended the inning, without a run scoring. That was the tough inning for Valdez. He faced only 7 batters over the next two innings, with Jennings being hit by a pitch.
Justin Thomas replaced Valdez in the bottom of the 10th. He got three quick outs and got the Indians back to the plate.
The Indians were not scoring either, and they were not getting on base, except for RF Andrew Lambo, who walked in the 7th. Indianapolis native Cory Wade pitched the 8th and 9th innings and retired 6 Tribe batters in order.
The Tribe threatened in the top of the 10th. With one out, Lambo and Friday hit back-to-back singles into center field, to give the Indians runners on the corners. Wimberly grounded towards second base, with 2B Luna charging in to make the scoop and throw to the plate. Lambo crashed into C Robinson Chirinos, but was not able to dislodge the ball from Chirinos’ grip, and he was out.
Another rally failed in the top of the 11th. Hague and Bowker both singled up the middle, and Chase d’Arnaud came into the game to pinch-run for Hague. A wild pitch let both runners move up a base, but a line out and a strikeout ended the inning, with two runners in scoring position.
D’Arnaud stayed in the game to play second base, replacing Friday there. Jason Jaramillo came in to catch, and Dusty Brown moved to first base — his first time at first base in his pro career. The inning began with a Chirinos lining into left field. LF Wimberly made a huge back-handed pickup in the left field corner, then fired back to the infield, holding Chirinos to just a single. Former Indy Indian JJ Furmaniak took over at first, pinch-hitting for Chirinos. Anderson dropped down a bunt, but when Justin Thomas pounced on it to try for a double play, his throw to second bounced in the dirt and skipped into center field. Both runners were safe. Luna also bunted, moving Furmaniak to third and Anderson to second bases. Thomas intentionally walked Olmedo, loading the bases. Jennings flied out to center field, but Presley made the catch in shallow center, and Furmaniak did not dare to try to score. That brought up Justin Ruggiano, who lifted a ball to deeper center field, over Presley’s head and off the wall, bringing in Furmaniak from third base with the winning run.
The Indians had maneuvered around three errors in the game, but that last throwing error by Thomas proved to be too much. The first error was a throwing error by 1B Hague in the 1st, when Brandon Guyer was picked off first base. Hague’s throw went behind Guyer, taking it out of Ciriaco’s view, so Ciriaco was not able to make the catch and the ball sailed into the outfield. Brown made a throwing error on a bunt in the 7th, and Ciriaco made a fielding error in the 3rd.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Corey Wimberly’s triple in the 6th inning, taking the ball all the way to the wall in center field. Moments later, he scored the Indians’ only run.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: In the bottom of the 6th, Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Harrison both made nice plays on grounders. Leslie Anderson grounded toward the second base bag. Ciriaco charged in and in front of 2B Brian Friday, made the scoop, then whirled and threw on to first base for the out. Omar Luna followed with a grounder to the left side of the infield, into the hole. Harrison made a dive to his left, came up with the ball, then hopped up and fired to first base for the out.
The Indians and the Bulls have an early game on Wednesday — 11 am, to accommodate the school kids.
(photos by Nancy)