Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 7, Indianapolis Indians 6[ box ]
The Indians could not overcome a 4-run 6th inning by the Iron Pigs, as the Pigs won the final game of the season between these two teams at Victory Field tonight. A 3-hit night by LF Alex Presley, and a pair of singles by 1B Matt Hague provided some offensive support for the Tribe, but it was not enough. The newest member of the Tribe, reliever Aaron Heilman, made his Indians’ debut, pitching two scoreless innings.
The start of the game was delayed nearly an hour by two separate rain showers. Sean Gallagher made the start for the Indians. He pitched a scoreless 1st inning, allowing only a single to LF Domonic Brown. Then Gallagher gave up one run in each of the next four innings. Former Pirate RF Delwyn Young led off the 2nd inning with a line drive into right field for a single. Gallagher hit 1B Cody Overbeck with a pitch, moving Young to second base. Pitcher Scott Mathieson also singled into right field, loading the bases. Gallagher threw a wild pitch that skittered off to the right of C Dusty Brown, allowing Young to score from third base (see photos). The Iron Pigs had a 1-0 lead.
The Tribe came right back in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Hague looped a fly ball into short right field, just out of reach of three Iron Pigs’. The ball fell in just a few inches inside the foul line, for a single. After a second out, Iron Pigs’ Mathieson walked both Dusty Brown and CF Gorkys Hernandez to load the bases. Then he walked a third straight Tribe batter, Gallagher, to force in Hague, tying the score. With the bases still loaded and two out, Alex Presley doubled into left field, driving in both Dusty Brown and Hernandez. The Indians had taken a 3-1 lead.
The Iron Pigs scored again off Gallagher in the 3rd. Domonic Brown took a 4-pitch walk, and stole second base. With two outs, Young grounded to first base, and Hague fielded the ball easily behind the first base bag. His throw to first was wide, though, going behind Gallagher, who had run over to cover first. The throwing error left Young safe at first, and Brown scored from third base, cutting the Indians’ lead to 3-2. Overbeck added another run in the 4th. He walked to lead off the inning, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Gallagher got two quick outs, then gave up an RBI single to SS Freddy Galvis, which drove in Overbeck to tie the score. Another single by 3B Kevin Frandsen and a walk to Domonic Brown loaded the bases, but Gallagher got former Indy Indian CF Brandon Moss to ground out to first, ending the rally.
That was the end of Gallagher’s evening. He had thrown 82 pitches (44 strikes), allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 3 walks, with one strikeout.
Iron Pigs’ Mathieson got out of another bases-loaded jam of his own making in the 3rd. Again with two outs, he walked both Hague and 3B Pedro Alvarez, and Hague stole second base (his 4th steal of the season). Dusty Brown grounded to short, which should have ended the inning, but Pigs’ SS Galvis misplayed a hop and tried to handle the ball with his chest, putting Brown safely on first base. Mathieson escaped that jam by getting Hernandez to ground out.
Alex Presley broke the 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 4th. He hit a high chop into left field for a one-out single, then stole second base. SS Chase d’Arnaud drove Presley in with an RBI single into center field. That chased Mathieson from the game, bringing in Joe Savery in relief. Before Savery even made a pitch to the plate, he whirled and caught d’Arnaud a little too far off first base. D’Arnaud took off for second base, and got a lucky break when 1B Overbeck had trouble getting the ball out of his glove for the throw down to second base. By the time he did make the throw, d’Arnaud had slid in on the outfield side of the bag safely. But Savery got LF Joshn Bowker to fly out, ending the inning with d’Arnaud still on second base.
Garrett Olson, just reactivated from the Disabled List, took over for Gallagher to begin the 5th inning. Olson gave up two singles to begin the 5th, then got a double play and a strikeout to end the inning, keeping the Iron Pigs scoreless. But the wheels fell off for Olson in the 6th, when the Iron Pigs batted around. He began the inning with a strikeout of Savery, then six of the next seven batters reached base. Galvis reached base on a fielding error, when 2B Brian Bocock bobbled a grounder. Frandsen walked, and Domonic Brown beat out a throw from Hague to Olson for an infield single to load the bases. Olson got Moss to pop out for the second out of the inning, and it began to look possible to get out of the jam. But, the next three batters reached base — a walk to Young to force in a run, an RBI single by 2B Josh Barfield through the left side of the infield, driving in two runs, and an RBI line drive to add a fourth run. The Iron Pigs had taken a 7-4 lead.
After the 6th, two Tribe relievers shut the Iron Pigs down completely. Aaron Heilman faced the minimum over the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up a single to Domonic Brown (Brown’s third hit of the game), but C Dusty Brown threw Domonic Brown out trying to steal second base. Heilman finished his outing by striking out both Moss and Young. Steven Jackson came on to pitch a perfect 9th inning, with a strikeout.
The Tribe scattered three hits — a single by Hague and doubles by Bocock and Alvarez — over the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, but could not bring any of them around to score. Down by 3 runs, they rallied again in the 8th. With one out, Presley ran the count full and fouled off five more pitches before lining a single into right field. Pinch-hitter Jeff Clement took a 4-pitch walk, then a ground out by d’Arnaud moved both runners into scoring position. Bowker ripped a single up the middle and into center field, driving in both Presley and Clement, bringing the Indians within one run, 7-6. A fly out ended that rally. The Tribe had one more chance in the bottom of the 9th. Brown reached base on a fielding error by 3B Frandsen, but two strikeouts and a fly out ended the game without the Indians being able to catch up.
The loss gives the Indians a split of this 4-game series, and a 5-3 win of the season series against Lehigh Valley. The combination of the Indians’ loss and a win by the Columbus Clippers lets the Clippers clinch the International League Western Division title. The Indians and the Louisville Bats are again tied for second place, 13 games behind the Clippers. The Indians and the Bats are also tied at 6 games behind the Iron Pigs and the Pawtucket Red Sox (who are tied) in the Wild Card standings. The Gwinnett Braves are in between, 2.5 games behind the Iron Pigs and the Red Sox.
The Indians have two more games in this home stand, facing off against the Columbus Clippers. Then the Tribe and the Clippers will play another two games in Columbus.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Three singles, two runs, and two RBI by Alex Presley, who was involved in all three of the Indians’ rallies.
Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: Three scoreless innings by Aaron Heilman and Steven Jackson, to cut off the Iron Pigs’ scoring. And, in the 6th inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Brandon Moss lifted a fly ball into short center field. CF Gorkys Hernandez and RF John Bowker were both playing back, and neither had any chance of getting to this ball. 2B Brian Bocock, who was making only his second start with the Indians, raced back and made an over-the-shoulder catch, to keep all the base runners right where they were. Unfortunately, subsequent hits brought in the baserunners, but that wasn’t Bocock’s fault.
More roster shuffling:
Pitcher Joe Beimel was designated for assignment to make space on the roster for Ross Ohlendorf, who was brought up the the Pirates to make tonight’s start.
Inf/OF Steve Pearce was placed on the Disabled List with an injury to his finger.
Pedro Ciriaco was called up to take Pearce’s place on the roster, and he got into tonight’s Pirates’ game.
Then, the Pirates needed someone to pitch tomorrow, so they called up Aaron Thompson from the Indians. Remember, Thompson was in Altoona just a couple of weeks ago.
But, to make room for Thompson on the roster, they had to send Ciriaco back down to Indianapolis.
Pedro Ciriaco must be wondering if the Pirates think he’s a yo-yo.
The Pirates lost to the Brewers 11 – 4 tonight, with Ohlendorf giving up 7 hits in the 2nd inning. One highlight — Josh Harrison hit his first major league home run.
(photos by Nancy)