Right Photo: Sean Gallagher and Matt Hague
Another former Indian, who also troubled the Tribe last night, gave the Mud Hens their first run of the game. CF Jeff Salazar smacked a long fly ball over the right field wall for a solo home run in the 3rd inning. Gallagher allowed only one more base runner over the next two innings, when 1B Ryan Strieby singled in the 4th. His grounder to 3B Andy Marte skipped off Marte’s glove and away from Mercer, who was moving to back up Marte.
The Indians had at least one base runner on in every inning but the 9th. Toledo starter Andy Oliver did not allow the Indians a hit until the 3rd inning, but the Indians worked 4 walks in the first two innings. Friday took a 4-pitch walk in the 1st, but was left on base. Hague walked to lead off the 2nd. After two fly outs, by Mercer and Marte, RF Miles Durham and C Miguel Perez both walked, loading the bases. But CF Gorkys Hernandez, batting at the top of the order today, bounced to first base to end the inning.
With one out in the 3rd, LF John Bowker lined the Indians’ first hit into left field. Alvarez followed with a liner that dropped in front of Toledo RF Guez for another single, moving Bowker to second. That rally ended abruptly when Hague ripped a line drive right to 2B Will Rhymes, who then took a few steps and touched second base, doubling off Bowker to end the inning. Mercer singled on a hopper just out of 3B Diaz’s reach to lead off the 4th inning, but was left there when Oliver struck out two and got a ground out.
The Tribe missed a scoring opportunity in the 5th. With one out, Friday walked, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After Bowker struck out, Alvarez grounded through the hole wide of third. The ball got past Diaz, but SS Cale Iorg was deep behind to back up. He made the scoop on the left field grass, as Friday was rounding third base and heading for the plate. Iorg’s throw to C Omir Santos arrived to the plate well ahead of Friday. Friday slid in hard, colliding with Santos, but Santos sat up and showed the umpire his glove, with the ball still in it, and Friday was out to end the inning. Unfortunately, Santos then had trouble getting up off the ground. He limped to the dugout with assistance, and was out of the game. Friday remained in the game, but not for long.
Salazar led off the top of the 6th with a walk, and after Gallagher struck out Timo Perez, Salazar stole second base. He did not take out Friday with his slide, but after the play Friday walked right over to the dugout and took himself out of the game. He looked as if there was a problem with his leg, but it was not clear, and there was no further word about his injury by the end of the game. Corey Wimberly came into the game to take over at second base, and at the same time, manager Dean Treanor took the opportunity to change pitchers too — bringing in reliever Jared Hughes. With Strieby at the plate, Salazar took off for third base. 3B Marte moved to third to take a possible throw from the catcher, and Strieby zipped a grounder right through the spot that Marte had just vacated. Salazar continued around third and headed for the plate, scoring easily, to give the Mud Hens a 2-0 lead. Hughes got Thorman to ground to second, where Wimberly started a 4-6-3 (Wimberly to Mercer to Hague) double play, ending the inning.
Hughes got him into and out of a jam in the top of the 7th. With one out, he gave up a single up the middle by Diaz. Diaz took off for second base a little too soon on a stolen base attempt. Hughes turned and fired over to Wimberly, who tagged out Diaz for the second out of the inning. C Max St. Pierre, the replacement for Santos, was hit by a pitch, and he moved all the way to third when Iorg lined a single into right field, giving the Mud Hens runners on the corners. Hughes escaped the inning with a line out to right field by Rhymes.
Oliver was relieved by Hens’ Daniel Schlereth to begin the bottom of the 7th, and that’s when the Tribe scored their only run. Miles Durham led off by dropping down a bunt. Schlereth popped of the mound and got to the ball quickly, but couldn’t find the handle on it, and Durham was safe at first. Miguel Perez followed by smashing a long fly ball into the left-center field alley, all the way to the wall at the 418′ sign. Durham raced around from first to score, and Perez reached third base with a triple. With Perez, the tying run, standing on third base, Schlereth struck out the next three batters, Hernandez, Wimberly, and Bowker to end the inning.
Donnie Veal pitched the 8th inning for the Indians. He retired the Mud Hens in order, the only inning in the game in which that happened. Veal struck out two batters. He also walked Thorman to begin the top of the 9th, and was relieved by Mike Crotta. Crotta got three ground outs, ending the inning with Thorman still on base.
Schlereth also struck out Alvarez to begin the 8th inning (his 4th strikeout in a row), then gave way to reliever Chance Ruffin. Ruffin walked Hague, then finished the 8th with a strikeout by Mercer and a line out by Marte. Ruffin also came back out to pitch the bottom of the 9th, when he struck out the side to end the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Miguel Perez’s triple in the 7th inning, which drove in the only run of the game for the Indians. It was Perez’s first extra-base hit and first RBI with the Indians this season.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 3rd, Cale Iorg lifted a long fly ball to right-center field. RF Miles Durham raced back to the wall, battling the sun, and made a back-handed catch at the track for the first out of the inning.
(photos by Nancy)