Pope retired the Indians in order in the 3rd inning, but the Tribe rallied again in the 4th, as they sent 8 batters to the plate. Pope began the inning by hitting Fryer with a pitch (again), this time on the back of the shoulder. After a fly out, Hernandez doubled down the left field line. The ball skipped past 3B Jorge Vazquez, who in all fairness may have been distracted by the pointy business end of the bat, which was also spinning in his direction. The bat veered off and landed over by shortshop, while the ball bounced off Vazquez’s glove and down the third base line toward the bullpen. Fryer advanced to third, then d’Arnaud walked to load the bases. Friday’s fly ball to the track in straight-out center field plated Fryer. That brought up Presley, who cleared the bases with his first 3-run homer, which landed at the base of the light pole on the berm behind the right field wall (photo). That chased Pope from the game, with George Kontos coming on in relief.
Kontos was greeted by a triple to the left-center field gap by Bowker. He scored on Kontos’ wild pitch, bringing the score to 8-2. Kontos gave up another run in the 5th, when Hague took a 2-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for a solo homer. Hernandez doubled for the second time, his third hit of the game, but was left on base. Presley and Bowker each picked up another hit in the 6th on back-to-back singles, but did not score.
The Tribe rallied again in the 8th, putting the game well out of reach for the Yankees as they sent 10 batters to the plate. D’Arnaud (photo) led off with a single down the right field line, and Friday also singled into the right-center field gap. Presley followed with his second 3-run home run, which landed a bit to the left of his first blast. The inning continued, as Yankees’ reliever Kanekoa Texeira was going to have to take one for the team. Marte lined into left field, Hague walked, and Fryer, the last batter to get a hit in the game, lined an RBI single into center field, plating Marte. Durham rocketed a line drive into left field to load the bases again, but a fly out by Hernandez and a strikeout by d’Arnaud ended the inning. Those 4 runs brought the total to 13 for the Tribe.
Wilson finished his outing after 6 innings, taking 92 pitches (54 strikes) to earn his 6th win. He allowed the 2 unearned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts. Chris Leroux pitched the 7th inning. He gave up a single to Krum and hit Montero with a pitch. After that pitch, plate umpire Jon Byrne jumped out from behind the plate to warn Leroux and also both dugouts and managers. It didn’t seem to bother Leroux, who also struck out two batters.
Anthony Claggett gave up a lead-off single to Laird in the 8th, then retired the next three batters, also with 2 strikeouts. Justin Thomas worked around a single by Russo in the top of the 9th, ending the game.
The win, combined with a loss by the Toledo Mud Hens, puts the Indians back into a tie with Toledo for third place in the International League Western Division.
Matt Hague homered………… Shelby Ford and Chase d’Arnaud
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Two 3-run homers by Alex Presley (photo), both blasted over the right field wall. Presley drove in 6 of the Indians’ 13 runs, putting the game well out of reach for the Yankees.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Presley again — he’s got the whole package. In the top of the 5th, with two outs and a Yankee runner on third, 1B Brandon Laird lifted a long fly ball to deep left field. Presley raced back to the scoreboard, made a huge leap, with his left arm outstretched to gauge his distance from the wall (the scoreboard is not padded the way the rest of the wall is), and made the catch at the top of the wall to rob Laird of at least an extra-base hit and an RBI. Presley doesn’t have anything more to prove at the AAA level.
Presley was interviewed after the game, as the (obviously) Star of the Game: “I knew it was over my head right when it was hit. I turned and put my head down to get back there. I figured I was close to the wall, and I just made a leap and hoped that I didn’t face-plant into the side of the wall.” Even though broadcaster Scott McCauley purposely interviewed Presley in a position so that Presley was facing the Indians’ dugout, mischief-maker Corey Wimberly still managed to sneak around and plaster Presley with shaving cream in his face.
(Chase d’Arnaud and Corey Wimberly)
Chase d’Arnaud came off the Indians’ Disabled List, so that meant that someone else had to come off the active roster to make room. That someone was OF Corey Wimberly, who was placed onto the DL for the second time this season.
Alex Presley has a .344 batting average, which is second in the International League (Jeremy Hermida of Louisville is first with .349, but with only about half of the at-bats as Presley). Presley and Matt Hague lead the league with 54 games played, and Presley leads the league in these categories: At-bats (215), hits (74), total bases (tied with Jorge Vasquez of Scranton with 114).
Cesar Valdez has been named the Indians’ Player of the Month for May. The reliever made 13 appearances in May, and recorded 2 saves in 2 chances. He pitched 18 innings, allowing 2 earned runs (1.00 ERA), with 10 hits, 5 walks and 16 strikeouts.
(photos by Nancy)