Kratz Gets Save #1 In 15th Inning

Claggett came back out to pitch the 8th inning, and for the second time in the game, he gave up a game-tying home run. �3B Drew Sutton led off with a triple off the center field wall. �CF Jose Tabata crashed into the wall in his attempt to catch the ball and seemed temporarily stunned, but did not come out of the game. �Then CF Chris Heisey took the first pitch he saw from Claggett over the left-center field wall — another 2-run homer to tie the game for the Bats. �Justin Thomas took over for Claggett, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.

IMG_2559The Indians could not get anything going in the top of the 9th. �Pedro Alvarez pinch-hit for Thomas, but struck out. �Corey Hamman came on to pitch the bottom of the 9th. �The first batter, 2B Chris Valaika, doubled down the left field line, then intentionally walked two batters around a sacrifice bunt. �But Hamman bore down and retired the next two batters to end the inning with the bases still loaded.

Tribe batters went down in order in the 10th and the 11th. �Hamman stayed on the mound, as the Indians were running out of pitchers. �He gave up a two-out triple in the 10th, but a brilliant catch by Jose Tabata (photo) in center field preserved the tie. �Tabata had to make a little jump (a la Alfonso Soriano) in order to make the catch, but the ball bounced out of his glove. �Tabata juggled the ball as he stumbled and fell, then slid, rolled, and came up with his glove aloft and the ball still stuck in it for the out.

Hamman gave up a double in the bottom of the 11th, but worked around it to keep the game tied. �He got to take his first turn at the plate in the top of the 12th, and worked a walk. �In what looked like it might have been a missed hit-and-run play, Hamman took off for second, but batter Argenis Diaz did not hit the ball, and Hamman was easily thrown out at second. �Then Hamman returned to the mound to retire the side in order in the bottom of the 12th. �Steve Pearce made an excellent feet-first sliding catch of a sinking liner in right field.

Finally in the top of the 13th, the Indians mounted a rally. �With one out, Neil Walker lined a double into center field. �Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch. �The two attempted a surprise double steal, but Bats’ catcher Wilkin Castillo hit the batter Steve Pearce as he tried to make the throw down to third base. �It was ruled a batter interference, meaning the runners had to return to their original bases, but because the umpires did not feel that it was intentional on Pearce’s part (he was ducking, just not fast enough), Pearce was not called out. �However, moments later, Pearce flied out. �Brandon Moss also walked, loading the bases with two outs. � Another walk to C Erik Kratz forced in a run, and the Indians breathed a sigh of relief with a 5-4 lead.

IMG_2468It didn’t last long. �Reliever Jean Machi (photo) came on to pitch in the bottom of the 13th, and�SS Zack Cozart lifted Machi’s first pitch over the wall in left-center field — the third time in the game that a Bats’ homer tied the game. �It was also the first run that Machi has allowed this season. �Tie game again, 5-5.

Logan Ondrusek took the mound for Louisville in the 14th, and the Indians took another lead. �Argenis Diaz led off with a swinging bunt, and Ondrusek scrambled off the mound to snag the ball, but threw past his first baseman, and Diaz was safe. �Brian Myrow was hit by a pitch, and Doug Bernier’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third bases. �The Bats decided to intentionally walk Neil Walker, but Ondrusek’s first pitch was wide and nearly got away from C Wilkin Castillo. � Even more surprisingly, the second intentional ball sailed high and glanced off Castillo’s glove, and Diaz scored from third as the ball headed for the backstop. �Walker flied out, and Myrow, who had moved to third on the wild pitch, tried to tag up and score from third. �The throw in from the outfield was on-target. �Myrow slid into Castillo and did knock him over, but it wasn’t really hard or violent, and Castillo held onto the ball for the out. �Still, the Indians again had a lead, 6-5.

And sure enough, the Bats came back to tie it yet again in the bottom of the 14th. �Drew Sutton led off with a long fly ball, with the few Bats’ fans still sitting there holding their breath for another home run. �Luckily for the Indians, the ball fell short for a double. �Sutton stole third base — his first stolen base of the season. �Then, after a walk, LF Juan Francisco lifted a fly ball to short right field. �Brian Myrow, who had moved into right field when Jean Machi came in, made the catch, but his throw in to the plate was short, reaching only to the edge of the grass in front of the plate. �Sutton scored, and for the fourth time, the Bats had tied the score.

IMG_2324By this time, both teams were seriously running out of players. �The only pitchers the Indians had left were Jeremy Powell, who is going to be the starter on Tuesday in Pawtucket, and Wil Ledezma, who had pitched yesterday, and will probably also be needed on Tuesday in relief.

The 15th inning began with Lee Tabor on the mound for the Bats. �Jose Tabata led off with his second home run of the season, a blast over left-center field. �The Indians had the lead for the 5th time. �Jeremy Powell, tomorrow’s pitcher, pinch-hit for Jean Machi, but was hit on the foot by a pitch. �He limped his way down to first base, and with two strikeouts and then a grounder, he didn’t have to do much running — until the bottom of the inning, when Powell went out to play right field. �Brian Myrow went back to playing first base, and Erik Kratz (photo), who had been playing first base for two innings, took the mound to pitch. �Kratz had pitched in 4 games previously in his career. �The last time was in 2008, with Syracuse, when he pitched a hitless scoreless inning. �The first batter he faced, Chris Valaika, grounded to third, but Doug Bernier had the ball ricochet off his glove, and Valaika was safe at first. �Kratz got Wladimir Balentien to tap a little grounder right in front of the plate, which C Luke Carlin (who had pinch-hit in the 13th and stayed in to catch) was able to handle easily. �Wilkin Castillo lifted a high fly ball to right field — where the newest Tribe outfielder, Jeremy Powell, made the catch, still limping slightly. �The Bats’ last available player, Corky Miller, pinch-hit for the pitcher Tabor, and he flied out to Brandon Moss in left field for the (finally!) final out of the game.

Now, everyone go get some sleep!

OK, a few stats:

The Indians had 10 hits, and Argenis Diaz had 3 of them, with one RBI. �Neil Walker had 7 official at-bats, and Jose Tabata and Diaz had 6. �Louisville had 11 hits.

Jean Machi was the pitcher of record when Tabata homered, so he earned the win, but also was charged with a Blown Save. �Anthony Claggett also had a Blown Save, and Kratz earned the Save.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Jose Tabata’s solo home run to win the game.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Also Tabata, with that catch in the 10th that kept things going. � Honorable Mention to Corey Hamman, for 4 scoreless innings of work, and Kratz for another hitless and scoreless inning.


Seriously. �Go to sleep.

More from Pawtucket… later today.

Go Tribe!

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