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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Walker’s 4 Hits and Kratz’s 3 Hits Stun Red Wings

IMG_3118Veal continued to struggle in the 5th inning, as he went deeper into counts on most of the batters he faced. �Trevor Plouffe led off with an infield hit. �The ball glanced off Veal’s glove and SS Doug Bernier (photo) had to change his route to chase it down, giving Plouffe plenty of time to reach first base. �After a pop up, 2B Matt Macri lined single into right field, putting runners on the corners. �Veal struck out 1B Brock Peterson, who chased a high outside pitch, for the second out, and it looked like Veal might make it through the 5th. �But Dustin Martin lined into center field, and Plouffe scored easily to give the Red Wings an insurance run. �That gave Veal 99 pitches (56 strikes) and that was all for him. �He was responsible for 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk, hit 3 batters, and he struck out 6 batters. �Justin Thomas came in from the bullpen, and needed only 2 pitches to retire Danny Valencia and end the inning.

The Indians began their comeback in the bottom of the 5th. �Kevin Melillo opened the inning with a double to the base of the center field wall at the 405′ mark. � Neil Walker collected his third hit of the game (he’d singled in the 3rd but was forced out at second), moving Melillo to third base. �That chased Rochester starter Deolis Guerra from the game, and Jose Lugo took over for him. 1B Brian Myrow grounded to 2B Matt Macri, who was just in front of the basepath. �Walker (photo below), who was running toward second base, stopped in his tracks and even back-tracked a bit towards first base, but Macri did not chase after him or attempt to tag him or even turn and throw to second to force him out.

IMG_3142Instead, Macri just threw to first to get Myrow, and Melillo scored on the play. �It turned out that Macri had injured his leg (or maybe his knee) on the play, and that was why he had made the unusual play. �Macri was removed from the game, with Brian Dinkelman coming in from left field to play second base, and Jacque Jones entering the game in left field. �The Indians continued the inning with a grounder to the right side by Pedro Alvarez. �1B Brock Peterson dove for the ball but missed. �Dinkelman, who had just come into the infield, was backing up Peterson, and he also dove, stopping the ball. �Dinkelman scrambled to his feet, but there was no one yet at first base to cover — Peterson was still on the ground, and the pitcher Guerra was too far away. �Dinkelman had to race over to the bag himself, just barely beating Alvarez to the bag. �Walker still scored on the play, and the Indians had tied the score at 3-3.

The Tribe kept pounding away in the 6th. �Lugo came back out to begin the inning for the Red Wings, but he lasted only one batter. �He was charged a ball when he went to his mouth with his hand while still on the mound, then walked Luke Carlin and was removed from the game. �Tim Lahey came in, and he was greeted by Erik Kratz, who blasted a long long fly ball just to the right of the 418-foot sign in left-center field for a 2-run homer. �Doug Bernier followed the homer with a single into right field. �Moments later, Neil Walker lined his second double and fourth hit of the game into right field, plating Bernier. �Indians 6, Red Wings 3.

IMG_3159Rochester tried another pitcher in the 7th. �Rob Delaney was greeted in the same manner that Lahey was — this time it was Brandon Moss (photo) blasting a homer down the right field line, over the grass, the sidewalk, and the outer wrought iron fence and onto West Street, just to the right of where Pedro Alvarez parked his homer yesterday. �One ground out later, Erik Kratz came to the plate. �Delaney’s first pitch to Kratz was up and in, and Kratz jumped back out of the way. �The second pitch sailed behind Kratz, who looked out at Delaney with amazement, but didn’t say anything. �Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez had plenty to say, though. �He walked a few steps toward the mound and had a few words at Delaney, then clearly pointed to Delaney and to each dugout as a warning: �the next such pitch would result in the pitcher and his manager being ejected. �Kratz took care of the matter in an even better way — he scorched a double into right field for his third hit of the game, and scored on Kevin Melillo’s single, also his third hit of the game.

Reliever Anthony Slama was the most effective pitcher for the Red Wings. �He retired three Tribe batters in order in the bottom of the 8th, though Myrow, Alvarez, and Jones made Slama throw19 pitches to do it.

IMG_3147When Donnie Veal exited the game in the 5th inning, he also took the Red Wings’ offense with him. �Justin Thomas (photo) earned the win by retiring all 7 batters he faced, including one strike out. �Steven Jackson pitched a perfect 8th inning. �Vinnie Chulk pitched a scoreless 9th, but gave up a walk to C Allan de San Miguel and a single to Jason Repko. �Those were the only two Rochester batters to reach base after Veal left the game in the 5th. �Repko’s single was an infield hit that was really a group error. �He popped up to just in front of the mound, and Chulk, Luke Carlin, Pedro Alvarez, and Brian Myrow all converged, only to have the ball drop to the ground in the middle of all of them. �(Left photo below — Chulk pounds the ground in frustration, as Alvarez walks away in disgust). �The next batter, Plouffe also popped up, to almost the same spot, but this time Myrow took charge and made the catch (Right photo). �A little pop up to Neil Walker at second base ended the game.





The Indians gained a game in the standings with today’s win. �They now own a 19-15 record and are 2.5 games behind the first place Columbus Clippers. �The Toledo Mud Hens lost today, dropping them to third place, 4 games behind the Clippers.

IMG_3154Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: � 4-for-5 by Neil Walker, and 3-for-3 by Erik Kratz (photo). �Together they had half of the Indians’ hits for the afternoon.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the bottom of the 8th, Rochester’s Brock Peterson grounded sharply up the third base line. �3B Pedro Alvarez went back and to his right, and made the stab behind third base pretty much standing on the foul line. �He then turned and fired the long throw to first base, in time to get Peterson at first.

The Indians went 6-2 on this home stand, winning 3 games of each 4 game series (Buffalo and Rochester). �They will travel to Toledo tomorrow to play 4 games against the Mud Hens. �The starting time of Friday’s game has been changed from 7 pm to 7:30 pm.

Left Photo: �Kevin Melillo reaches first base, with Jose Tabata coaching at first. �Right Photo: Brandon Jones leads off second base.



Left Photo: �Kevin Melillo � Right Photo: �Conference on the mound



Left Photo: Steven Jackson � �Right Photo: �Vinnie Chulk




Neil Walker is leading the International League with 16 doubles, and with 45 hits, and with 80 total bases. �Walker is hitting .588 (20-for-34) in day games. �He has a .404 average against right-handed pitching (i.e. when he’s hitting left-handed) and .147 when he’s hitting against lefties (from the right side of the plate).

Steve Pearce is still 4th in the IL with 12 doubles. �Jose Tabata is second in the IL with 43 hits.

Kevin Melillo made his third ever start in the outfield, and his first ever in center field.

The Indians had three innings in which they had runners in scoring position with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning. �Walker was on third base in the 1st when Pedro Alvarez struck out. �Brian Myrow was on third and Alvarez on first in the 3rd when Brandon Jones struck out. �Walker was on second and Alvarez on first after three runs had scored in the 6th when Jones struck out again.

Go Tribe!

(Photos by Nancy)

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