Crotta Goes 8 Innings In Loss; Tabata Steals 2 More

IMG_2774The Bison added two more insurance runs in the 4th. �1B Mike Jacobs led off with a fly ball over RF Brandon Jones‘ head, that bounced off the right field wall, putting Jacobs on second base. �Hessman followed with a double over Moss’s head to the left field wall, plating Jacobs. �After a fly out, Adams lined a single into right-center field, and Hessman also scored. �Buffalo 4, �Indians 0.

At that point, Crotta flipped a switch and went into cruise mode, or maybe found the consistency in his sinker ball. �He got Thole to ground out, then intentionally walked Tejada to get to the pitcher. �Stoner was an easy strikeout to end the inning (19 pitches). �Crotta proceeded to retire the next 12 batters he faced, mostly with ground outs from that sinker. �He struck out one more over those next 4 innings, and got one fly out, but the rest of his outs were infield grounders. �Several of them went to Walker (photo) at second base, and Walker made several sharp plays, going to both his right and his left, and generally looking like he’s been playing second base for a lot longer than… a whole month now. �Crotta needed only 7 pitches in the 5th inning, 9 in the 6th, 10 in the 7th, and only 6 in the 8th.

IMG_2765The Tribe batters were efficient about getting on base, but they were not efficient at coming around to score. �The Tribe posted 9 hits (to the Bison’s 8), and they also had 5 walks from the Buffalo pitchers. �CF Jose Tabata and Myrow had 2 hits each. �Buffalo starter Tobi Stoner had some control issues in the early innings, walking 4 batters in the first three innings, and hitting C Luke Carlin with a pitch in the 4th. �Myrow singled in the 1st and Tabata singled and stole both second and third bases in the 5th, but all of those base runners were left stranded. �Stoner also struck out 8 Tribe batters, including three by Mike Crotta and two by Tabata.

(Photo: Crotta didn’t get anywhere with the bunting thing.)

The Indians finally got things going in the 6th inning. �With one out, LF Brandon Moss took a double down the left field line, with the ball ending up just behind the edge of the Indians’ bullpen. �Luke Carlin followed with a single into right field, and Moss moved to third base. �Doug Bernier bounced a grounder to short, which should have been an inning-ending double play. �Carlin was forced out at second, but his slide up-ended Buffalo 2B Russ Adams, and Adams’ throw to first was low. �It skipped past 1B Mike Jacobs and to the rolled up tarp. �Bernier was safe at first, and Moss scored the first Indians’ run. �The rally skidded to a halt there, though. �WIth Bernier on first and two outs, manager Frank Kremblas elected to have Mike Crotta bat for himself, and he looked at strike three, ending the inning. �Bison 4, Indians 1.

IMG_2761Neil Walker got another rally started in the 7th, against Buffalo reliever John Lujan. �With one out, Walker sliced a double to the base of the right field wall on the first pitch he saw from Lujan. �Brian Myrow brought Walker in with s grounder up the middle, and moments later, Brandon Jones went to the opposite field with a double to the deep left-center alley. �Myrow came around to score from first base, and the Indians were within one run of the Bison.

The Tribe tried again in the 8th, with Lujan still on the mound. �Luke Carlin led off and worked a walk, and Doug Bernier (photo) bunted him to second base. �Argenis Diaz pinch-hit for Mike Crotta, but there must have been something about that 9th spot in the line-up tonight, because Diaz struck out too. �Jose Tabata gave the Tribe a chance when he slapped a single in to right field. �Carlin took off from second and raced for the plate, waved on by manager Frank Kremblas. �Buffalo RF Jesus Feliciano made an excellent throw from right field to Josh Thole at the plate, and the ball arrived just before Carlin did. �Carlin slid in hard in an attempt to knock over Thole or knock the ball out of his glove, but neither of those happened, and Carlin was out at the plate.

Former Pirate (1996-98) and former almost-ever-other-team Elmer Dessens came on to pitch the 9th inning. �He struck out the first two batters he faced, Walker and Myrow. �The Tribe fans had a moment of hope, when Pedro Alvarez singled into right field, but an easy ground out ended the hope and the game.

Vinnie Chulk pitched the top of the 9th for the Indians, retiring three Bison in order, with one strikeout.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Brandon Jones’ double in the 7th. �It went deep into the left-center alley, heading straight for Jackie Robinson’s “42” on the outfield wall, and it brought in the Indians’ third run. �It was the deepest ball hit by the Indians, and it had to battle the wind which was blowing generally from left to right field.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Neil Walker’s dive and seated throw in the 1st inning on Mike Jacobs’ grounder. �Walker made several other nice plays, including starting the 4-6-3 double play in the 2nd.

How cold was it? �Too cold for Jose Tabata — only his eyes and nose were showing (left). �Manager Frank Kremblas (right) had shed his coat after the first one or two innings.

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Brian Myrow has to chase the wind-blown ball in the 2nd inning (left). �This is a new member of the Zooperstars team, specially created for the Indians — it’s “Ramdy Johnson”, complete with facial hair and Indians #30 jersey, just like his namesake (right).

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NOTES:

IMG_2732Prior to the game, the Indians made the official presentation for the April Player of the Month. �Steve Pearce was busy getting his first hit of the season with the Pirates, so hitting coach Jeff Branson accepted the award for him from Indians’ GM Cal Burleson (photo). �Branson also offered to wear the watch, if Pearce doesn’t want it.

Jose Tabata still leads the International League in stolen bases, now with 16 after his two tonight. �He’s also second in the league in batting average with .357.

Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-4 with a walk.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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