The game had begun ominously for the Indians. �Toledo starter Alfredo Figaro struck out the first three Tribe batters of the game, CF Jose Tabata, 2B Neil Walker, and 1B Brian Myrow, all going down swinging. �DH Brandon Jones walked with one out in the 2nd inning, but was picked off first base moments later by C Robinzon Diaz. �In the 3rd inning, all three Indians’ batters flied out — to left, to center, and to right.
At the same time, though, Tribe starter Hayden Penn (photo) was holding the Mud Hens scoreless. �He struck out two in retiring the Hens in order in the 1st inning. �He gave up a lone double to LF Jeff Frazier in the 2nd, and a lone walk to Robinzon Diaz in the 3rd.
The Mud Hens got to Penn in what would turn out to be an odd 4th inning. �Ryan Raburn, who doubled three times yesterday, led off the inning with another double. �Penn struck out 1B Jeff Larish, then Frazier singled through the left side, moving Raburn to third base. �Penn threw a wild pitch, which came to rest on the plate, but C Erik Kratz lost sight of it. �When Kratz hopped up and to his right to look for the ball behind him, Frazier alertly moved up to second base. �Penn again threw wild, and this time the ball did squirt to Kratz’s right. �Kratz hopped up again, and got to the ball just as it was coming to a stop. �He reached down with both his glove in his left hand and his mask in his right, scooping the ball towards the mitt with the mask — which is not allowed. �(Not allowed to use any other piece of equipment but the glove to touch the ball.). �It was immediately noticed by Mud Hens’ manager Larry Parrish, and called an error on Kratz. �Raburn was sent home from third to score and Frazier also advanced a base, to second. �Penn next walked 3B Max Leon, then a single by RF Ben Guez brought Frazier around from second base with the second run of the inning. �Two pop outs ended the inning, with the Mud Hens ahead 2-0.
The Tribe had put a runner as far as second base in the top of the 4th. �Neil Walker slipped a single through the right side into right field. �He was forced out at second on a grounder by Brian Myrow that should have been a double play. �The throw from 2B Will Rhymes to first base was wide to the infield side of the bag, and Myrow was able to take second on the error. �A fly out ended that inning, though, with Myrow going no further than second.
In the top of the 5th, the Indians were able to respond to the Mud Hens’ lead. Brandon Jones (photo) walked for the second time, and after a fly out, he scored on Kevin Melillo’s triple into the gap in right-center field. �The ball got past RF Guez, who had to chase it down to the warning track, then Guez fumbled the ball as he tried to pick it up. �It was ruled a triple, though, and Melillo had an RBI. �Brian Friday doubled into left field, and Melillo scored easily to tie the score. �CF Jose Tabata bounced to third base, and the extra split second that it took for Max Leon to hesitate on the throw was more than enough for the speedy Tabata to beat out the throw to first base. �That put Friday on third. �Tabata started to move to second base and was caught off. �He held up as the pitcher Figaro turned to throw to second base — and found no one covering. �At that point, Friday took off for the plate, as Figaro threw to SS Brent Dlugach, who was moving toward second base but not there yet. �Dlugach had a little trouble with the catch, bobbling it just a bit, which gave Friday plenty of time to score before Dlugach put the tag on Tabata. �The Indians took the lead, 3-2.
Brandon Jones began another Tribe rally in the 7th with his third walk of the game. � A sacrifice bunt by Brandon Moss was going to move Jones to second base, but when Figaro’s throw sailed past first base and into the bullpen area, Jones went to third and Moss to second. �Both Jones and Moss scored on Kevin Melillo’s line drive that slipped between 1B Larish and the first base bag, and into right field for a double. �That sent Figaro to the showers and brought in Robbie Weinhardt. �He began his work with a double play, when Erik Kratz flied out to short center field, and CF Rayburn was able to throw to third in time to get Melillo (photo), who had tagged up to try to advance. �The Mud Hens made a group error on the ball hit next by Brian Friday. �Friday grounded to third, and Max Leon’s throw to first was in the dirt. �The rest of the infielders assumed an out, and all began jogging to the dugout, so when 1B Larish scrambled to come up with the ball, no one was covering second base. �Friday went into second standing, though it was moot when a fly out ended the inning.
Neil Walker singled again to lead off the 8th inning. �He was doubled off when Brian Myrow lined sharply into center field, and Ryan Raburn made a great running catch. �Walker slipped as he turned to race back to first, and that slowed him just enough for Rayburn to double him off.
The loss today puts the Indians 2.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers, who won their game today. �The Tribe has a 20-17 record.
Tomorrow’s game against the Mud Hens will begin at 10:30 am, as the Toledo school kids get to come to the game.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �The newest Indian, Kevin Melillo (photo), is hitting .375 in his 7 games with the Tribe, collecting a double and a triple for 3 RBI today. �Of his 9 total hits, 3 are doubles.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the bottom of the 7th, Deik Scram lined to right field, kind of short. �Brandon Moss came charging in and made a head-first stumbling catch at his shoetops, then flipped over his shoulder, but still held on to the ball, for the second out. �Nice acrobatics.
“Where’s Walker?” � Neil Walker (photo) was at second base again today, as the latest from the Pirates is that they want him to work more on turning the double play. �For the month of May, Walker has played 9 games at second base, plus 7 games there in April. �he has a total of 12 games in left field (2 in May), and 6 games at first base (4 in May). �He’s also played third base just once and he’s been the DH once.
Walker was also caught stealing today, (in the 6th, after a walk) for the first time all season — one caught stealing in 11 attempts.
Pedro Alvarez went 0-for-4 in the game.
(photos by Nancy)