But the Indians were not done yet. �They came right back out in the top of the 7th, beginning the frame with a double down the left field line by Brian Friday. �Doug Bernier dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Friday over to third base. �2B Kevin Melillo walked, putting runners on the corners with one out. �A wild pitch by Drucker bounced off the chest of his catcher Robinzon Diaz and skipped over towards the first base line. �Diaz scrambled after it but had trouble picking the ball up, giving Friday plenty of time to come home, sliding across the plate as Drucker did not even get all the way to the plate to cover it for Diaz’s throw. �Melillo also advanced to second base on the wild pitch. �After a fly out, CF Jose Tabata grounded to shortstop, but the throw from Dlugach to 1B Jeff Larish was wide to the outfield side of the bag and skittered between Larish’s legs and into foul territory. �Tabata was credited with an infield single, but not the RBI, as Melillo scored on the error. �A passed ball by Diaz moved Tabata to second base, putting him into scoring position for Pedro Alvarez (photo). �Alvarez responded with a line drive into center field for an RBI single, and Tabata scored the third run of the inning. �Brandon Jones also singled, for his third hit of the game. �Indians 7, Mud Hens 0.
While the Indians were scoring 7 runs, Mike Crotta was keeping the Mud Hens from crossing the plate. �He gave up lone singles in the 4th to CF Ryan Raburn and in the 5th to Robinzon Diaz. �Raburn singled again in the 6th but was erased on a double play, 4-6-3 (Melillo to Bernier to Walker).
Toledo finally got to Crotta in the 7th inning. �With one out, Brent Dlugach singled on a liner into right field. �RF Deik Scram lined into center field, and when the ball landed in front of Jose Tabata and skipped past him, it rolled all the way to the wall. �That put Scram on second base and gave Dlugach plenty of time to come around from first base to score the Mud Hens’ only run.
Anthony Claggett relieved Crotta to begin the 8th inning. �He hit the first batter he faced, Will Rhymes, with a pitch, but erased him with an around-the-horn double play, 5-4-3 (Alvarez to Melillo to Walker). �Jeremy Powell, in his first appearance since being moved back to the bullpen from the starting rotation, took care of the 9th inning with a strikeout and two quick ground outs.
The Indians tacked on one more run in the top of the 9th, when Neil Walker (photo) extended his hitting streak to 9 games with a solo home run over the left field wall.
Brandon Jones had a total of 3 hits in the game — besides the singles in the 6th and in the 7th, he also singled in the 4th inning, though he was caught stealing. �Pedro Alvarez and Brian Friday each went 2-for-4, with 3 RBI for Alvarez and one for Friday.
The Indians’ win, combined with a loss by Columbus, moves the Indians closer to the first-place Clippers in the International League Western Division. �They are now 1.5 games out of first place, with a 20-15 record. �The Mud Hens drop to 4 games behind, in third place.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �Brian Friday’s (photo) solo home run in the 5th inning — his first home run of the year, coming on a Friday. �”TGIF”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �Neil Walker’s defensive play at first base. �He made several good scoops of balls coming at him high and low and left and right and short and on hops. �Specifically, he dug balls out of the dirt four times on throws from Pedro Alvarez across the diamond, saving Alvarez from being charged with throwing errors.
Neil Walker has a 9-game hitting streak going, and he has had at least one extra-base hit in all 9 of those games. �He has doubled in 7 of the 9, and when he didn’t double, he hit a triple (May 10th) or a homer (today). �He has also stolen 10 bases in 10 attempts. �Walker is 15-for-40 (.375) over those 9 games, with 8 doubles, 2 homers, and 6 RBI.
(photos by Nancy)