Found: The Real Charlie Morton

The Indians gave Charlie Morton plenty of run support. �RF Brandon Moss supplied the big power with two hits and two runs scored, and most spectacularly, a grand slam in the 8th inning. �Erik Kratz also posted 2 hits, and Argenis Diaz contributed 3 RBI.

Durham starter Aneury Rodriguez had his pitch count rising like a balloon from the start. �He needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning, in which he only faced four batters — three outs plus a single bounced off the back of the mound and into center field by Jim Negrych. �He gave up the Indians’ first run in the 2nd inning, taking 22 pitches there. �Rodriguez opened the inning with back-to-back walks to Jeff Clement and DH Brian Myrow. Erik Kratz grounded to 2B Furmaniak, moving the runners up one base. �CF Jonathan Van Every brought in Clement with a long sacrifice fly into the right-center field alley, for the first run of the game.

After the Bulls tied the game in the top of the 3rd, the Tribe came back in the bottom of the inning. �With one out, Brandon Moss singled into right field. �Jim Negrych worked a walk, making Rodriguez throw 8 pitches in the at-bat. �Steve Pearce lined a single into center field, bringing Moss around from second base to score. �When the Bulls’ CF Fernando Perez had trouble fielding the ball, Negrych advanced to third base and Pearce to second, but they got no further, as two strikeouts ended the inning. �Rodriguez threw 30 pitches in the 3rd.

After two quiet innings, with only a double by Kevin Melillo, Rodriguez had reached 107 pitches and was relieved by Justin Garcia. �Garcia struck out Jeff Clement to begin the 6th, then gave up another 4-pitch walk to Brian Myrow. �Erik Kratz slipped a grounder under the glove of SS Luna for a single, and Jonathan Van Every also worked a walk, loading the bases with one out. �Argenis Diaz stepped up to the plate, and collected 2 RBI with a sharp line drive into right-center, bringing in Myrow and Kratz, to give the Indians a comfortable 5-1 lead.

Garcia put the Indians down in order in the 7th, then Mike Ekstrom took over for him to begin the 8th. �Brian Myrow greeted Ekstrom with a double down the right field line and into the Bulls’ pen. �Erik Kratz grounded into short left field for his second single of the game, moving Myrow to third base. �Jonathan Van Every again walked to load the bases, once more setting up Argenis Diaz with the bases loaded. �Diaz came through again, this time with a grounder wide of first base which seemed to momentarily confuse former Indy Indian (2006) 1B Chris Richard. �Richard did not throw to the plate, where he might have had a chance to force out Myrow. �Instead, he hesitated, then had no play at the plate, so had to wait a beat or two for Ekstrom to race over to cover first base, where they got the out on Diaz. �Diaz still picked up his third RBI of the game, as Myrow scored. �Kevin Melillo also worked a walk, and the bases were loaded again.

As Brandon Moss strode up to the plate, radio broadcaster Scott McCauley speculated how cool it would be if Moss were to hit a home run, and so put the game well out of reach for the Bulls. �Moss ran the count to 1-2, then fouled off another pitch — then obliged McCauley with a blast down the right field line, which landed in the few seats just inside the foul pole, for the grand slam.

That was the end of Ekstrom for the night, and the Bulls rearranged their infield so that they could bring in a new pitcher — SS Omar Luna. �Luna has only been with the Bulls for the past week, since being promoted from AA Montgomery, but he must have had some pitching experience in his past. �Not a lot, though — he walked Jim Negrych on four pitches. �A wild pitch to Steve Pearce moved Negrych to second base, but Pearce popped out to second base. �Luna threw another wild pitch to Jeff Clement, and Negrych went on to third base. �Clement grounded out to first base, ending the inning. �Luna had thrown 12 pitches, 4 of which were strikes.

The win gives the teams a split of the 4-game series. �They will face off again in Durham at the beginning of August. �The Indians begin a 4-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens tomorrow.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: �What could be better than a grand slam? �Maybe a grand slam that was asked for just moments before it was hit. �It was Brandon Moss’ 8th home run of the season, and it increased his RBI total to 34.

Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: �9 innings, 2 hits by Charlie Morton. �It was the first complete game pitched by an Indians pitcher in 2010.

Photos: �Left: �Steve Pearce at third; �Right : Former Indy Indian JJ Furmaniak

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NOTES:

The Pirates called up relievers Steven Jackson and Justin Thomas, and both were with the Pirates today. �During tonight’s game, the Pirates announced that reliever Danny Moskos and outfielder Alex Presley are being promoted from Altoona, and will be here on Friday. �Also, Aki Iwamura is due to join the Indians on Friday.

Steven Jackson got into the Pirates’ game tonight, but not with happy results. �With the score tied at 5-5 going into the bottom of the 9th in Texas, Jackson entered the game to relieve Joel Hanrahan. �Jackson got the first out on a bunt ground out. �Then he gave up a walk to Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and a single to Michael Young. �A fly out put Andrus on third base, and Vladimir Guerrero ended the game with a line drive single into left field, scoring Andrus. �Jackson was charged with the Loss.

C Luke Carlin is still day-to-day with an ankle sprain, but he did some catching in the bullpen today, and he’s feeling better. �Brian Friday’s ankle sprain is more severe, and he is still on the DL.

Go Tribe!

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