Meanwhile, the Indians were having about the same success against Thompson. LF John Bowker (photo) and RF Anthony Norman each hit a two-out double — Bowker in the top of the 1st, and Norman in the top of the 2nd. Norman lined a single into right field to lead off the 5th inning, but was out at second on a grounder force play which left CF Gorkys Hernandez at first base. Wilson bunted Hernandez to second base, but he was left stranded. Hernandez has his own single in the 7th inning, and was also left on base. Thompson allowed two walks, one to Alvarez in the 4th, and one to Bowker in the 6th.
With Jackson still on the mound in the bottom of the 7th, the Bats broke the scoreless tie. Thompson led off the inning with a line drive single up the middle, past the diving SS Mercer. CF Dave Sappelt dropped a sacrifice bunt to move Thompson to second base. Valaika’s single into center let Thompson come around from second base to score the first run of the game. The throw in from Hernandez to the plate was cut off by Alvarez, though it appeared to be on time and on-target. The next batter, Alonso, took a long fly over the fence in left field for a 2-run homer, and the Bats had a 3-0 lead.
The Indians got one run back in the top of the 8th, when Thompson was relieved by David Johnson. 2B Corey Wimberly started the rally with a line drive into right field, and quickly stole second base. Mercer’s ground out to short allowed Wimberly to advance to third base. Bowker’s single up the middle brought in Wimberly and sent Johnson to the showers. Reliever Nick Christiani struck out 1B Matt Hague to end the inning, but the Indians were on the board, 3-1.
Tim Wood took the mound for the Tribe to begin the bottom of the 8th. He gave up a single to SS Kristopher Negron to begin the inning, and things went downhill from there. Negron stole second base, then came around to score when C Kris Watts’ throw to second sailed into center field for an error, and CF Hernandez’s throw back to the infield was also wild for an error. Wood got two outs, then gave up a bloop single to Sappelt. Wood’s wild pitch moved Sappelt to second base. The Indians’ third error of the inning, when the ball popped out of RF Norman’s glove, allowed Valaika to reach base and let Sappelt score, to bring the Bats to 5-1.
The Tribe had one more chance, which began with Watts’ double off the wall in left field. Norman’s third hit of the game was a single up the middle, bringing Watts around to score. Wimberly’s infield single pushed Norman to third base, and Wimberly moved up to second on defensive indifference, but a fly out ended the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: A 3-for-4 night by Anthony Norman (photo), which lifted his average to .333 with his double and two singles. He drove in the second Indians’ run.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game. In the 5th inning, with a runner on first base, Dave Sappelt took a long drive into center field. CF Gorkys Hernandez was off and running on contact, turning his back to the infield and sprinting toward the wall. He made the catch on the warning track, saving a run.
(photos by Nancy)