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Bullpen Falters As Indians Lose Late

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Alex Presley is back to the bag safely









Louisville Bats� 6,� Indianapolis Indians� 3 ..���� (box)

IMG_4467It was a tough night for the Indians' bullpen, as they stumbled in the last two innings, giving the win to the Louisville Bats at Victory Field.� The Indians wasted an excellent starting effort by Charlie Morton (photo), who pitched 6 shutout innings and allowed only 4 hits.� The Indians posted 5 hits, while the Bats out-hit them with 13 knocks.

Morton got some help from his defense, but he cruised along in this start.� He faced only the minimum over the first three innings, and only one batter over the minimum in the first five innings.� He began each of the first three innings with a strikeout, and struck out one more batter after that.

The second batter in the top of the 1st, SS Chris Valaika, slipped a single up through the middle of the infield, where 2B Brian Friday would have been if the Indians' defense was not in a shift position.� The next batter, 1B Yonder Alonso, also grounded up the middle, right over the second base bag.� SS Pedro Ciriaco made a diving stop, and as he hit the ground stretched out prone behind second base, the ball fell out of his glove,� Ciriaco scrambled to pick it up, then still on the ground, flipped the ball back and lateral to Friday covering second base.� Friday was at the bag, and he made an outstanding turn, and fired the ball to 1B John Bowker, just in time to beat Alonso to the first base bag.

Morton retired the side in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a lead-off single to CF Dave Sappelt in the 4th -- the ball glanced off 3B Mitch Jones' glove and into left field.� But again the infield stepped up.� Valaika grounded to third base, where Jones started an around-the-horn (5-4-3) double play to erase Sappelt.� Alonso almost put the Bats onto the scoreboard with a long fly ball to left field.� The ball hit the top of the left field wall, missing a home run by inches, then bounced into left field for a double.� Morton did not erase Alonso from the base path, but instead struck out the next batter, RF Wladimir Balentien, to end the inning.

IMG_4480The Bats also went down in order in the 5th, and that inning ended with an odd play.� 2B Wilkin Castillo bunted a 1-1 pitch to right in front of the plate, but as he was moving out of the batters' box, he came in contact with the ball, so was called out.� C Jason Jaramillo, as the closest fielder, gets credit for the put-out in that situation.

The only time Charlie Morton had two base runners on base at the same time was in the 6th inning.� With one out, Bats' pitcher Chad Reineke dribbled a little grounder (not a bunt) along the third base line, just fair.� By the time Morton and Jaramillo got over to it, Morton picked up the ball, but he had no play at first, and Reineke was on with an infield hit.� Sappelt followed with a grounder to short, and it looked like Morton was going to have yet another base runner erased with a double play.� Pedro Ciriaco made the scoop, but he got excited and his throw to second missed Brian Friday entirely, and sailed into right field.� Reineke advanced to third and Sappelt to second on the error.� With the Indians leading 2-0 at that point, those two runners in scoring position represented the tying runs, and the go-ahead run was at the plate.� Pitching coach Dean Treanor came out for a little chat with Morton (photo).� Then Morton got Valaika to ground softly to third base, and the runners had to hold up.� Another grounder by Alonso to short ended the inning for Morton, and without a run scoring.

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