Meanwhile, the Tribe was giving Lincoln plenty of run support, scoring in 5 consecutive innings. They threatened in the 1st inning, when Presley and LF John Bowker (photo) hit back-to-back two-out singles, but they were both left on base. The scoring parade began in the 2nd inning. With one out, C Jason Jaramillo poked a fly into short center field. He made the turn at first and was about a third of the way to second base, then stopped, as Clippers’ CF Carrera came up with the ball and was ready to throw in. When Jaramillo saw that Carrera’s throw was headed to first, he broke for second base. The ball got to 1B Huffman when Jaramillo was about 3/4 of the way to second base, and the play at second would have been close if Huffman had thrown the ball. But, Huffman could not handle the throw from Carrera (ruled a throwing error), and he dropped the ball. At that point, the fans screamed — and Jaramillo turned around to see what had happened. That was almost his undoing, but luckily for him, Jaramillo made it to second base just in time. It was not the best example of base-running, both in the aggressive turn at first so that Jaramillo was going to be hung up, and in turning to look at what the commotion was about.
With Jaramillo safely at second base, RF Andrew Lambo lined a single into right field, moving Jaramillo to third base. D’Arnaud tapped back to the mound, where starter David Huff whirled and fired to SS Cord Phelps covering second base. The Clippers were thinking double play, but Lambo’s slide into second base upset Phelps, and he was not able to make the throw on to first. That allowed Jaramillo to score and the Indians had cut the Clippers’ lead in half, 2-1.
The 3rd inning brought 3 more runs for the Indians. Ciriaco led off with a grounder to short, and was credited with an infield single when SS Phelps airmailed the ball to first base, pulling 1B Huffman off the bag. After a strikeout and a foul pop out, with Hague at the plate, Ciriaco stole second base. A couple of pitches later, Ciriaco stole third base (photo), as Luke Carlin dropped a pitch and took a moment to find the ball. Hague drove in Ciriaco with a liner into right-center field. Harrison reached base on a fielding error by 3B Valbuena, as the ball ticked off his glove and into left field. Jaramillo drove in both Hague and Harrison with a double down the left field line. The throw back in from left caught Jaramillo mid-way between second and third base, and Jaramillo was in another base-running pickle. This time he was not so lucky as to have the Clippers drop the ball, and he was out in a short run-down. Tribe up, 4-2.
The fun continued in the 4th inning. Lambo opened the inning with a line drive single into left field. D’Arnaud followed with his third triple of the season, racing into third base standing up as his long fly landed at the deepest part of Victory Field, at the 418′ mark. Lambo scored easily, and DH Corey Wimberly plated d’Arnaud with a single into center field. After two outs, Bowker walked, moving Wimberly to second base. Wimberly was off and running on Bowker’s full count, and he slid into second base before he knew that Bowker had walked. Something must have happened on the slide, because Wimberly came up having some kind of problem. He called for the trainer, and left the game, immediately leaving the dugout with the trainer. The injury was not obvious — no limping, no clutching at his leg — and there was no further update by the end of the game. Brian Friday came in to pinch-run, then remained in the game as the DH. A wild pitch moved Friday to third and Bowker to second, but a fly out ended the inning, with the Indians leading 6-2.
Josh Harrison kept the ball rolling in the 5th, with a lead-off triple that bounced on the narrow ledge on top of the left field scoreboard. By the time the ball fell off the ledge and LF Head got to it, Harrison was also into third base standing. He had to hold at third when Jaramillo grounded out to short, and when Lambo popped up into the infield. D’Arnaud brought Harrison in (photo) when he beat out the throw on a grounder to deep short, avoiding the third out. The Indians lead was increased to 7-2. That sent Columbus starter David Huff to the showers, and he was eventually charged with the loss.
Reliever Frank Herrmann relieved Huff, and finished the 5th inning with a ground out. But he quickly got into trouble in the 6th, the Indians’ fifth consecutive run-scoring inning. With one out, Presley slapped his second hit of the game off the glove of the diving 1B Huffman and over toward center field. Bowker walked, then a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position for Hague. Hague’s double into right field brought both runners across the plate, and the Indians had again reached 9 runs. That was the end of the Indians’ scoring, though d’Arnaud singled again in the 7th, and Hague lined a single into the right field corner in the 8th.
Reliever Dan Meyer took over for Lincoln for the last two innings. Meyer worked out of a small jam in the 8th, when he gave up a single to Kipnis an a walk to Luke Carlin — Carlin’s third walk of the game. The inning ended when Valbuena grounded sharply along the first base line, where Hague dove to his left behind the bag, came up with the ball, then hopped up and scrambled to first base to make the out himself. Meyer had more trouble in the top of the 9th. With one out, he walked Phelps, then got Chisenhall to pop up to second base. Huffman dribbled a slow roller along the third base line, where Harrison made a clean play, but because the ball had been moving slowly, the throw to first was not in time. RF Travis Buck followed with a long blast down the right field line, which sailed over the wall just inside the grass berm for a 3-run home run. It looked like deja vu all over again with the Indians giving up late runs to cut into their large lead. The Indians’ bullpen suddenly got active, but Meyer ended the game with a grounder to second base. Ciriaco knocked the ball down, lost it at his feet for a second, then made the throw to first just in time for the final out.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Both Matt Hague and Chase d’Arnaud had 3 hits and 3 RBI. Hague had an RBI single and a 2-RBI double, then another single. D’Arnaud had an RBI fielders’ choice, then an RBI triple, an RBI single, and another single. Hague raised his average to .296, and d’Arnaud raised his to .258.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Alex Presley’s amazing catch of Ezequiel Carrera’s long fly ball in the 2nd inning. Presley raced back to the wall at the 405′ mark, and made a back-handed catch, looking back, right up against the wall. That saved at least one run from scoring, and kept the inning from extending.
The Pirates plan to have righty reliever Evan Meek begin a rehab assignment with the Indians tomorrow. Meek has been on the DL with a right shoulder injury.
(photos by Nancy)