When Reid Gorecki led off the 4th with a triple to center field, and Curtis brought him in with a single, Crotta was in trouble again. �He got a fly out, then was relieved by Corey Hamman (photo). Crotta had thrown 71 pitches, 46 for strikes, and allowed 7 runs on 11 hits, no walks. �Hamman had the first batter he faced, Miranda, reach base on a fielding error by Jim Negrych, when Miranda’s grounder zipped right under his glove and into right field. �Then Hamman got Vasquez to bounce into a double play to end the inning without further runs scoring.
Meanwhile, former Indy Indian Romulo Sanchez was busy keeping the Indians off the bases. �He put the first 10 Tribe batters down in order, including 4 strikeouts. �The closest the Indians came to a hit was when Jim Negrych was robbed of a hit by LF Colin Curtis in the 1st inning. �Finally, in the top of the 4th, Negrych made up for having a hit taken away by slamming a solo home run over the right field wall. �DH Brian Myrow followed the home run with a double down the right field line, just beyond the reach of Yankees’ 1B Miranda, but Myrow was left on base after two more outs.
Then, the Indians surprised Sanchez and the Yankees by not just rolling over. �In the top of the 6th, LF Kevin Melillo opened the inning with a double, when Yankees’ CF Golson lost the ball in the lights or maybe in the twilight sky. �Golson was still looking for the ball when his feet slipped out from under him (it had rained earlier in the day), and the ball fell in about 12 feet to his right. �Jim Negrych grounded a single up the middle, and Melillo, who had been off and running with the pitch, came around to score. �Negrych stole second base on a pitch that the Yankees’ catcher did not handle well, and after two outs, Sanchez was relieved by Royce Ring. �1B Jeff Clement was the first batter Ring faced. �On a 0-1 pitch, Clement lifted a high ball to left field, which drifted into foul territory, with LF Curtis chasing after it. �Just as he crossed into foul territory, the ball bounced off Curtis’ glove — just a foul ball. �But it would have been a critical catch, if it had been made, because two pitches later, Clement took the 1-2 pitch on�a missile over the center field wall for a 2-run homer, to get the Indians back within striking distance of the Yankees, 7-4.
Corey Hamman came back out to pitch the 5th inning for the Tribe. �He gave up a lead-off single to Montero, then erased him with a double play. �Corona doubled, but was left on base when Hamman struck out Golson to end the inning — the first inning in which the Yankees had not scored.
Hamman did give up a run in the 6th. �With one out, Curtis doubled to the right field track, for his 4th hit of the game. �Nunez brought Curtis in with a triple into the right-center gap, to move the Yankees to an 8-4 lead. �That was all for Hamman, who was replaced by Vinnie Chulk. Chulk struck out Vasquez to end the 6th. �Then he struck out the side, around a double by Corona, in the 7th.
Melillo and Negrych helped the Tribe creep a little closer in the 8th. �This time it was a lead-off single for Melillo, on a line drive into center field, then a double for Negrych, to give the Indians two runners in scoring position. �Brian Myrow grounded to deep on the right side of the infield, where 2B Corona made an amazing stab, then whirled and threw to first base, hoping that pitcher Zack Segovia would be there when the ball got there. �The throw was on target, and Segovia did get there on time, to make the out on Myrow, though Melillo scored on the play. �3B Pedro Alvarez hit a high bouncer to short, for an RBI ground out, scoring Negrych, and the score was 8-6.
Wil Ledezma worked around a double in the 8th inning, but kept the Yankees from scoring again, to give the Indians one more chance in the top of the 9th. �After a pop out by C Erik Kratz, CF Jonathan Van Every singled on a slow roller to short. �Van Every was off and running with the pitch, allowing him to advance to second base when RF �Brandon Jones grounded to first. �Brandon Moss came in as a pinch-hitter, and he got luck on strike three — a wild pitch by Mark Melancon sailed to the backstop, allowing Moss to reach first and Van Every to move to third base. �That’s as close as the Indians could get, though. �Kevin Melillo grounded to first base for the final out, leaving the tying runs on base.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: �Two home runs: �Jim Negrych’s solo home run in the 4th inning — his first home run at the AAA level; �Jeff Clement’s home run in the 6th, to put the Indians back in the running.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �The double play in the 4th off the bat of Jorge Vasquez. �With one run already in, and runners on the corners, Corey Hamman induced the grounder to short that got him out of the inning and halted the Yankees’ scoring streak. �SS Doug Bernier to 2B Jim Negrych to 1B Jeff Clement got the job done.
Of the last 13 outs made by the Yankees, 9 were strikeouts. �Corey Hamman struck out the last batter in the 5th, then got two more strikeouts in the 6th. �Vinnie Chulk finished the 6th with another strikeout, then struck out 3 more in the 7th. �Wil Ledezma struck out two in the 8th.
Jim Negrych had 3 hits in the game, and missed hitting for the cycle by a triple.
(photos by Nancy)