Indianapolis Indians 4, Gwinnett Braves 3[ box ]
A run in the top of the 10th inning gave the Indians a win over the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field in the Atlanta suburbs tonight. The win gave the Indians a split of this 4-game series as well as the 8-game season series with the Braves.
The Indians went into the bottom of the 9th clinging to a one-run lead, 3-2. Closer Tim Wood had finished off the 8th inning with a strikeout, but he began the bottom of the 9th by giving up a line drive into left field to Gwinnett’s LF Wilkin Ramirez. The ball dropped in well in front of Tribe LF John Bowker, who was playing deep, and Ramirez chose to try for second base. He slid in just under the tag, safe with a double. Ramirez had to hold on second base when 2B/3B Diory Hernandez grounded sharply to first base, but he was able to advance to third on a wild pitch. Seconds later, a passed ball by rehabbing C Ryan Doumit let Ramirez scramble home from third to tie the score. Wood gave up a walk before ending the inning with a fly out and a pop out, sending the game into extra innings.
With one out in the top of the 1oth, Bowker worked a walk. Doumit hit bouncer over the head of Gwinnett reliever Jairo Asencio, whose leap was not nearly high enough, then on past the 2B Ruben Gotay and into center field. That moved Bowker to third. 3B Matt Hague grounded to third for what appeared to be an inning-ending double play. But the grounder was not particularly quick, and the turn at second base was not particularly quick either, and while Doumit was forced out at second, Hague was able to just beat out the relay throw to first, allowing Bowker to score from third base with the go-ahead run. Tim Wood, batting for himself, showed his patience and took a walk, but a strikeout ended the inning with two runs still on base.
That left Wood to hold that one-run lead in the bottom of the frame. He got a quick ground out when SS Tyler Pastornicky chopped sharply back to the mound. Wood had to reach across with his glove hand, but snagged the ball and made the out at first. Stefan Gartrell walked, then 1B Mauro Gomez flied out right to Miles Durham, who was playing deep in right field. Pinch hitter Wilkin Castillo singled on a soft liner that dropped in front of Durham (still playing deep), but Wood ended the contest by striking out the dangerous Wilkin Ramirez, and the Indians had the win.
Garrett Olson made the start for the Tribe. As was his trend in previous outings, Olson held the opposition to just one run on two hits, but he walked 5 batters in 5.1 innings. He gave up only one walk, no hits, over the first three innings, and even struck out the side in the 2nd. Walks to Gartrell and 3B Brandon Hicks led to a run in the 5th. The Braves had two on and two out, when Wilkin Ramirez smacked a grounder to second, which glanced off 2B Josh Harrison’s glove for an RBI single, bringing in Gartrell from second base. The inning would have continued, but for a base running blunder by the Braves. Hicks bluffed a move from second base, which made Ramirez take off from first base. Ramirez didn’t realize that it was just a bluff, and he continued on to second base. That forced Hicks to try for third, giving C Doumit the opportunity to throw to third where 3B Hague easily tagged out Hicks.
The Indians also managed only one base runner over the first three innings, when Harrison walked in the top of the 1st. Harrison was also the next batter to reach for the Tribe, when he led off the 4th with an infield single. Harrison was erased when Bowker grounded into a double play. Doumit also singled, taking a ball just past 2B Diory Hernandez and into center field, but was left stranded when a pop out ended the inning.
The Tribe answered the Braves run in the 4th with 2 runs in the top of the 5th. RF Miles Durham slapped a double all the way to the left field wall, then scored on CF Gorkys Hernandez’s grounder up the middle. Olson dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving Hernandez to second base. SS Jordy Mercer lined a double over the head of his Gwinnett counterpart Pastornicky and into left-center field, and Gorkys Hernandez raced around to score from second base, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead. Mercer reached second base ahead of the throw in from the outfield, and when the ball bounced then skipped away into short right field, Mercer advanced to third on the error.
Olson walked a batter in the 5th, but did not let the Braves score. He began the bottom of the 6th by allowing a single past the diving Mercer by Pastornicky. A line out and a walk to Gomez put two Gwinnett runners on with one out. That was the end of Olson’s night. (He had thrown 86 pitches with 40 strikes.) Jared Hughes came on in relief, starting by catching Pastornicky stealing. The Braves had another base running slip — when Pastornicky took off for third and the Indians were occupied by throwing him out, Gomez did not take the opportunity to move from first to second base. Hughes finished the inning by striking out Hicks, then pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just one hit.
Both teams added a run in the 8th. Mercer led off with a single into left field, and advanced to second when 1B Gomez missed the catch on a pickoff throw. Harrison bunted for a sacrifice, but relief pitcher Jaye Chapman’s throw to first bounced into the dirt for an error, giving the Indians runners on the corners. Harrison moved up to second base on a wild pitch, and after a strikeout by Bowker, Chapman intentionally walked Doumit to load the bases. Then he unintentionally walked Hague, forcing in Mercer from third base. The Indians took a 3-1 lead.
Hughes came back out to begin the bottom of the 8th. He began with a walk to CF Matt Young. Young moved to second and on to third on two ground outs, then scored on Gomez’s RBI single into right field. Tim Wood relieved Hughes, and finished the inning by striking out Hicks, but the Braves had closed the gap to one run again, 3-2. Then they tied it up in the 9th, setting up the 10th inning win for the Indians. Tim Wood was charged with a Blown Save, but he also earned his second win of the season.
The newest Indian, Brian Bocock, who joined the Indians today, coming from the Phillies (Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs) in a trade today, entered the game in a double switch when Hughes came in, with Bocock taking over at shortstop. He got one at-bat, and grounded out to short. Jeff Clement, who made the start at first base, went 1-for-4 with a double in the 7th inning.
The Indians return to Indianapolis and have a scheduled day off on Wednesday. They will begin a 4-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: A pair of doubles by Miles Durham and Jordy Mercer in the 5th inning, contributing to the Tribe’s 2-run rally.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the bottom of the 4th, with one out and Stefan Gartrell on first base after a walk, Mauro Gomez slapped a hard grounder along the third base line. Matt Hague, taking a turn at third base today, went to his right to make a diving stop behind the third base bag, then fired all the way across the diamond to make the out on Gomez at first. That robbed Gomez of a double, and possibly of an RBI.
Pedro Ciriaco, who was optioned from the Pirates, is expected to join the Indians in Indianapolis on Thursday.
Ryan Doumit is probably done with his rehab assignment with the Indians. He is expected to rejoin the Pirates on Wednesday or Thursday.
(photos by Nancy)