(photo: Josh Harrison at third, watches a fly ball)
Lincoln had a much easier time over the next two innings. He retired the PawSox in order in the 3rd. The 4th inning began with controversy. Lavarnway began the inning with a long drive down the right field line, which bounced off … well, something high in the corner, and caromed back into right field. Lavarnway and his teammates, including the relief pitchers who admittedly had the best view from the visiting bullpen in the right field foul territory, though the ball had hit off the bottom of the wide part of the foul pole. The Indians and most of the crowd thought the ball had bounced off the top of the green padded wall in the corner, just below the wide part of the foul pole. Presley chased after the carom and fired back into the infield because he had not heard the umpires make a ruling, and he isn’t going to make his decisions based on what the opposing relief pitchers are saying. Lavarnway had slowed as he rounded first, thinking that he had a home run, but when he saw Presley continuing to play the ball, Lavarnway picked up his speed, rounded second and headed for third. Presley’s throw went right to Harrison at third, who tagged out Lavarnway as he slid in. But was he out? Did the ball hit green or yellow? I could not tell from where I was sitting. The umpires at first signaled out at third, believing that the ball hit the green wall, making the play a double with the runner out trying to stretch it to a triple. When the PawSox argued, the umpires conferred. Their answer did not change, however, and Lavarnway was ruled out. According to radio broadcasters Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley, though, the video replay showed that the ball actually hit the yellow and should have been ruled a home run.
(photo: Josh Rodriguez at second base)
Lincoln retired the next two batters after Lavarnway to exit the 4th inning. With one out in the top of the 5th, Lin slipped a single down the first base line, between the diving Hague and the first base bag. The next batter, SS Yamaico Navarro, struck out looking –and the arguing began again. First Navarro argued with the home plate umpire Johnny Conrad, and he was ejected. Then PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler came over from the third base coaching box to defend his player, and he too was ejected. Beyeler continued to argue, gesturing to both home plate and towards the right field corner, suggesting the two areas where he felt the umpires had not been doing an adequate job. It had no effect, of course, and he was gone. The next batter, LF Daniel Nava doubled into center field, and Lin came around from first base to score, boosting the PawSox to 5-2.
The Tribe threatened again in the 4th inning. DH Andy Marte led off by running the count full, fouling off a few more pitches, then taking ball four for a walk. Harrison lined a single into right field, moving Marte to second base. Fryer dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt, and both runners moved into scoring position. Rodriguez tapped back to the mound, where Weiland scooped up the ball and looked to third, then threw to second base, getting Harrison out at second, but leaving Rodriguez at first. Hernandez walked to load the bases, but with two outs, Presley grounded out to first, leaving the bases loaded with Indians. The Tribe went down in order over the next three innings.
(photo: Rodriguez at the plate)
Lincoln exited the game after 5 innings of work. He allowed all 5 runs, all earned, on 7 hits, one walk, and 6 strikeouts. He had thrown 92 pitches, with 56 strikes. The newest member of the Tribe, Steven Jackson, pitched the next two innings. Jackson gave up an infield single in the 6th, and retired the other 6 batters he faced, including one strikeout.
There was still hope for the Indians going into the top of the 8th — they were down by only 3 runs. Donnie Veal took over for Jackson, and began with a fly out. He walked 1B Lars Anderson, then 3B Hector Luna bounced a ball off his counterpart Harrison’s glove and into center field. Anderson raced around to third, and Luna moved up to second base on the throw in from the outfield. Lavarnway was walked intentionally to load the bases. RF Nate Spears popped up, with the infield fly rule involved, and the Indians had two outs. Cesar Valdez came in from the bullpen with the bases loaded with two outs, but eh walked the first two batters he faced, forcing in two runs (Anderson and Luna). Lin picked up his third hit of the night and his 3rd, 4th, and 5th RBI of the game with a bases-clearning double down the left field line and into the corner. The PawSox had exploded the game open, with a 10-2 lead.
(photo: Josh Harrison)
Valdez came back out to start the 8th inning. He walked the first batter, Nara, then got a long fly out, then walked Luna. Lavarnway grounded to short, and SS Friday looked to third, found no play, then threw to second. But his throw was wide, and the ball flew into right field (throwing error), and instead of an inning-ending double play, the Indians had one run score (Nava) and runners on the corners. Jared Hughes relieved Valdez. He got Nate Spears to ground to first, where Hague tried for the 3-6-3 double play. Lavarnway was forced out at second, but Spears beat out the relay to first. Exposito tapped back to the mound to end the inning, but the score had increased again, to 12 – 2.
LF John Bowker lined a single into right field in the 8th inning, but go no further. Their last chance in the bottom of the 9th began with a single to deep behind third base by Harrison. 3B Luna hopped up after his diving stop, but he airmailed his throw to first base, and the ball ended up in the stands. Harrison advanced to second on the throw, and moved to third on Fryer’s ground out. Rodriguez lined a single over second base and into center field, plating Harrison with one more run for the Tribe. Hernandez bounced into a force out at second, erasing Rodriguez. Presley walked, but he and Hernandez were left on base when Friday popped out to end the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez’s double off the wall in the right-center field alley, which brought in two Indians’ runs. It was the only extra-base hit for the Indians in the game.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Alex Presley’s (photo) throw in from the right field corner on Ryan Lavarnway’s not-a-homer in the 4th. The outfielder, of course, can’t afford to stand around and wait for the umpires to make a ruling on a close play — when Presley got to the ball on the bounce of
f whatever it was, he quickly turned and fired the ball into the infield, and to third base. Lavarnway had rounded second and was heading for third, but Presley’s throw reached the bag in time for Josh Harrison to get the tag down onto Lavarnway for the out at third.
Chase d’Arnaud made his major league debut today, making the start at third base for the Pirates. Wearing uniform #12, d’Arnaud collected his first major league hit with a tremendous triple in the 5th inning. He sliced the ball into the left field corner, then motored around second base, sliding into third well ahead of the throw in from left.
Pitcher Aaron Thompson was designated for assignment to make room for d’Arnaud on the Pirates’ 40-man roster.
Rudy Owens was placed on the Indianapolis Disabled List (7 days) due to the bruise on his thumb that happened in his start two days ago.
Taking Owens’ roster spot is Steven Jackson (photo), who the Pirates obtained from the Reds’ organization today for a player-to-be-named-later. He’s been pitching in AAA Louisville for the past 5 weeks or so, earning a 5.59 ERA and a save in 10 relief appearances. Jackson began the 2011 season with the Dodgers, but was released on May 17th. Jackson spent part of the last two seasons with the Indians, and also pitched in 51 games for the Pirates in that time.
(photos by Nancy)