The Tribe went down in order in the 4th and 5th innings, then threatened in the 6th. With two outs in the 6th, Carrasco lost his no-hitter, and the first hit was his own fault. Presley smacked a sharp grounder to the left of first base, which Duda was able to get to. Duda made the play, then went to throw to first base — but Carrasco was not there. He had not left the mound to cover first base, maybe thinking that Duda was not going to get to the ball and it would be a hit for Presley — which kind of turned into a self-fulfililng prophecy. Bowker followed with a grounder up the middle for another single, moving Presley to third, but 3B Matt Hague flied out to end the inning. Carrasco struck out the side in the 7th inning, which ended his evening.
Anthony Claggett (photo) relieved Olson to begin the 5th. Claggett pitched 2 scoreless innings, with no hits, but 3 walks. He walked Fisher to begin the 5th. Fisher moved to second base on a ground out, though he could not advance on a second ground out. A wild pitch moved Fisher to third base, and a walk to Carrasco gave Buffalo runners on the corners. Former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa lined out to left field to end the inning with the runners stranded on base. Claggett walked CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis to lead off the 6th inning, but two outs later, Fryer threw out Nieuwenhuis as he tried to steal second base.
Justin Thomas was next out of the bullpen for the Tribe. He also pitched 2 scoreless innings. With one out in the 7th, Fisher rifled a long fly ball off the left field wall, missing a home run by just a foot or two. Presley played the carom off the wall and quickly fired back to the infield, which held Fisher to a single. Fisher tried to steal second base, but again a perfect throw from Fryer caught Fisher trying to steal. The ball was waiting at second base when Fisher slid in. Luis Hernandez also singled in the 7th, but was left on base.
Justin Hampson relieved Carrasco to begin the top of the 8th, and that’s when the Tribe made their move. Miles Durham, who had entered the game to play right field in a double switch when Thomas came into the game, led off the inning with a ringing double into the right-center field gap. D’Arnaud dropped down a sacrifice bunt, which was fielded by 3B Fisher. Fisher’s rushed throw to first base was wide, pulling Duda off the bag, and both runners were safe on the corners. The next two batters, Friday (who had come in for Ford at second base) and Presley, both struck out. Then Bowker blooped a soft hit into short right field, plating Durham from third base with the only run of the game. Due to Fisher’s error, the run was unearned.
Thomas (photo) pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th, allowing only a single by Figueroa. He struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Fryer walked for the Indians in the top of the 9th, but he was erased when CF Gorkys Hernandez bounced into a double play. Cesar Valdez pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th to end the game and give the Tribe their first shut-out. Thomas earned his 5th win of the season, and Valdez earned his 3rd save.
The win moves the Indians within one game of .500, and moves them one game closer to the Louisville Bats, who lost tonight to the Syracuse Chiefs. The Tribe and the Bison play an early game tomorrow, at 10:35 am, for the school kids. School doesn’t get out until later in June in New York State.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: John Bowker’s (photo) clutch single to drive in Miles Durham with the winning run. It was Bowker’s 26th RBI of the season.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Two runners thrown out trying to steal second base, by Eric Fryer. Fryer made two perfect throws to second base, nailing Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the 6th and Michael Fisher in the 7th. Both cut cold Buffalo’s attempts at getting a rally going. Fisher might have scored if he’d reached second in the 7th, since Hernandez singled after that.
Tony Watson made his major league debut tonight with the Pirates. He came on in relief in the 8th inning, with one Diamondbacks’ run in, one out, and runners on first and second base. Watson struck out both Chris Young and Juan Miranda to end the inning without further runs scoring.
Shelby Ford left the game when he injured his ankle coming out of the batters’ box in the 6th inning. No word on exactly what happened yet.
(photos by Nancy)