Homers By Alvarez And Moss Can’t Overcome Four Errors

IMG_2339The Mud Hens tied it up in the top of the 3rd. �With one out, SS Brent Dlugach slipped a single up the middle, just past his counterpart Argenis Diaz. �RF Brennan Boesch followed with a double to the left field wall, and Dlugach raced around to score from first base.

Pedro Alvarez (photo) gave the lead back to the Indians with a solo home run in the 4th inning. �A brisk wind was blowing from left to right field, especially during the first part of the game, and balls that got up into the breeze were being blown along with the breeze toward the right. �Alvarez’s homer did not seem to be hit all that hard, but it got a little assist from the wind — in fact, the wind came close to blowing it foul. �But it landed not far on the happy side of the right field foul pole in the outfield berm. �A single by Neil Walker and a walk to Erik Kratz put two more men on base after the homer, but they were not able to come around to score. �Argenis Diaz led off the bottom of the 5th with the first of three consecutive singles. �Diaz grounded up the middle, CF Jose Tabata put one into right field, and RF Brandon Jones drove in Diaz with a looping single into left center. �LF Brian Myrow’s bunt moved Tabata and Jones to third and second respectively, and an intentional walk to Alvarez loaded the bases and chased Toledo’s starter Enrique Gonzalez from the game. �Reliever Jason Waddell came on, and he got Neil Walker to hit a sky-high pop up (which also drifted a little in the wind), and then got Brandon Moss to strikeout and end the threat without any further runs scoring.

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Jeremy Powell was finished after 4 innings. �He made 68 pitches (44 strikes) and allowed that one run on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 2 strikeouts. �He also worked around the second error of the game in the 4th, when a fairly straightforward grounder bounced off Pedro Alvarez’s glove, allowing DH Max Leon to reach base safely. �Argenis Diaz and 2B Brian Friday took care of the problem by turning a timely double play (above) to erase Leon.

IMG_2342Jeff Karstens (photo) took the mound to begin the 5th inning, and he breezed through that inning. �In the 6th, though, he gave up 2 runs as the Mud Hens tied the score again. �1B Jeff Frazier began the inning with a single into left field. �Leon smacked a ball to right field that stayed low to avoid the wind. �It bounced on the warning track, and Leon slid into third base with a triple, scoring Frazier. �A single by Danny Worth brought Frazier in with the tying run: �3-3.

Toledo reliever Scot Drucker came on in the 6th, and he gave up only 2 runs to the Indians’ batters, while striking out 5 batters over 3 innings. �Luckily for the Indians, one of those runs was a solo home run by Brandon Moss. �By this point in the game, the wind had decreased a bit, but it didn’t matter for Moss. �His homer was crushed, a solid blast to the back of the berm in right-center field. �Indians 4, �Toledo 3.

Unfortunately for the Indians, as Drucker was holding the Indians, the Tribe pitchers were having more trouble with the Hens’ batters. �Karstens gave up back-to-back singles to Brent Dlugach and Brennan Boesch to open the 7th, but a perfect throw by C Erik Kratz picked Dlugach off second base, and two short fly balls ended the inning. �Karstens had thrown 45 pitches at that point, but he came out again to begin the 8th inning. �That was a problem. �CF Casper Wells and Max Leon started the 8th with back-to-back singles. �Another amazing effort by the Tribe’s middle infield nearly had Leon out — 2B Brian Friday made a diving stop of the sharp grounder, deflecting the ball towards the area behind second base. �That’s where SS Argenis Diaz was, and Diaz had to take just a few steps to pick up the ball. �He fired to first, but Leon was safe by about half a step. �Robinzon Diaz dropped down a bunt to the left of the mound, which Karstens pounced on. �Karstens was quick enough so that he had a play at third base, but his throw came in low. �It bounced in front of the third base bag and Pedro Alvarez couldn’t get in front of it (error charged to Karstens). �Wells scored as the ball ricocheted into the stands, and Leon had to return to third base. �Danny Worth singled into right field, scoring Leon. �When RF Brandon Jones had trouble fielding the ball (error #4), Robinzon Diaz had time to score from second base.

IMG_2349Karstens was responsible for those runs, and eventually was charged with the loss. �He allowed 6 runs on 8 hits with 2 strikeouts over 3+ innings. �Southpaw Corey Hamman relieved Karstens with a runner on first base and no outs. �Hamman himself advanced Worth to second base on a balk, but then struck out 2B Will Rhymes for the second out of the inning. �But then a single by Brent Dlugach scored Worth, and Brennan Boesch was hit by a pitch, and Anthony Claggett (photo) was next out of the bullpen. �Claggett got the first batter he faced, LF Ryan Strieby, to ground to deep short, where Argenis Diaz worked his magic with a jump-throw, forcing Boesch out at second, though Strieby was safe at first. �Another grounder to Diaz forced Strieby out at second to end the inning, but the Mud Hens had taken a 7-4 lead. �Claggett retired the Mud Hens in order in the 9th, but Toledo closer Casey Fien was also handling the Indians’ batters. �He struck out the first two batters in the 9th, Friday and Diaz. �Jose Tabata beat out the throw on a grounder to second, and Brandon Jones singled to deep short. �In fact, that was the Mud Hens’ only “mistake” of the game — a mental slip rather than a physical error. �SS Dlugach scooped up Jones’ grounder and first looked to third base, hoping there was enough time to get Tabata. �But Tabata is too fast, and he was already at third. �Dlugach turned to look at first, and he probably would have had time for a throw to beat Jones, who is not as fast as Tabata — but Dlugach did not make any throw, and both were safe. �It didn’t matter for the Mud Hens, though, as they got an easy grounder by Myrow to end the game.

IMG_2328Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �Solo home runs by both Pedro Alvarez and Brandon Moss (photo). �Both homers tied the game at the point at which they were hit.

Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game: �It was Argenis Diaz all over the middle infield, with a little help from Brian Friday. �Diaz started one double play (6-6-3 in the 2nd inning) and was in the middle of another (4-6-3 in the 4th). �He nearly had another double play with a spectacular maneuver in the 3rd: �with Ryan Strieby on first base and Brennan Boesch on second, Jeff Frazier tapped a little bouncer to just in front of second base. �Diaz charged in to pick up the ball in front of the bag, then flipped the ball behind him to Friday, covering second, forcing out Strieby. �Friday threw to first, but was just a hair too late to get Frazier too. �In the 8th, Diaz made a jumping throw to second for another force out.

NOTES:

Jose Tabata increased his hitting streak to 8 games with singles in the 5th and in the 8th.

Game time temperature was 63 degrees (though it got colder later), so for the first time in the 4-year history of the Sixty-Degree Guarantee promotion, the Indians did not have to give out free tickets to all in attendance. �(It was 59 degrees for the past two years, and 39 degrees in the first year of the promotion.)

More photos from Opening Night:

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Left: �Looking out past left field at Victory Field shows the new JW Marriott hotel. �The outside structure is finished and some of the inside is done, though it won’t open for another year or so. �That is blue glass on the outside. �At night, at least when there are no guests staying in the rooms, it is totally dark — you can’t even see the building.

Right: The new left field scoreboard, where the old out-of-town score board used to be. �This one does show some out-of-town scores, and also advertisements.

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Left: �Pirates’ president Frank Coonelly addresses the crowd, accompanied by Indians’ general manager Cal Burleson

Right: Steve Pearce is introduced; �he was not in the lineup tonight

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Left: Pedro Alvarez is introduced

Right: �Neil Walker greets manager Frank Kremblas and batting coach Jeff Branson

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Left: �Neil Walker plays his first game at first base

Right: �Brian Friday covers second base

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Left: �Pedro Alvarez did not have the greatest of games at third base

Right: �Argenis Diaz had a much better time at shortstop

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Left: �Brandon Jones in right field

Right: �Jose Tabata patrols center field

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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