Wild Pitch Gives Away The Win In The 11th


Meanwhile, Tribe starter Brad Lincoln (photo) was having a very strange start, as he worked his way into and out of trouble in four out of five of his innings.� The first inning was not too bad.� With one out, Lincoln gave up a double to Robert Andino, whose fly ball just barely made it over the top of CF Alex Presley’s glove, to bounce off the center field wall.� Lincoln got 1B Michael Aubrey to fly out to left for the second out.� Then the Victory Field crowd gasped as Nolan Reimold lifted a long fly ball towards the wall in left field.� Kevin Melillo ran back and back, reached the new scoreboard in the left field wall, and made a perfectly-timed leap — and came down with the ball in his glove for the third out.

Lincoln began the 2nd inning by loading the bases:� a 4-pitch walk to RF Rhyne Hughes, a single into right-center field by DH Brandon Snyder, and another walk to Scott Moore.� At that point, Lincoln banished his evil twin who had been pitching in his place, and retired the next three batters in order:� a strikeout by C Adam Donachie, a tapper back to the mound by 2B Paco Figueroa, and a pop out by former Indy Indian CF Jeff Salazar.� All three Tides batters were left standing on base, without a run scoring.

IMG_4287(Photo:� John Bowker waits his turn)

The 3rd inning began with more trouble for Lincoln.� First, he hit Robert Andino (or rather, Andino’s jersey) with a pitch.� Then Michael Aubrey’s grounder to first base snuck under 1B John Bowker’s glove and down the right field line.� Andino reached third base on the error, giving the Tides runners on the corners with no outs.� Again, Lincoln took over from his evil twin and struck out Nolan Reimold, got Rhyne Hughes to fly out to center field, and struck out Brandon Snyder, leaving the runners still standing on the corners.� The fly out to center field was nothing routine.� It was a fly that began to drop in quickly, forcing Alex Presley to come charging in and made a diving catch of the ball at the level of the tips of the blades of the outfield grass.

Lincoln had a breather in the 4th inning, when he retired the Tides in order.� He also got the first two outs in the 5th inning, before giving up a double down the right field line to Michael Aubrey.� Nolan Reimold grounded to short for what should have been the third out, but Pedro Ciriaco’s throw to first was low, and John Bowker could not handle the low hop, and the ball got past him, ruled a throwing error on Ciriaco.� Once again, Lincoln came through.� Rhyne Hughes worked the count fill, fouled off three more pitches, then struck out to end the inning.� Lincoln’s line for the night:� 5 innings, no runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts, all on 97 pitches (56 strikes).

IMG_4296Dana Eveland (photo) took over for Lincoln to begin the 6th inning, and that was when the Tides tied the score.� Brandon Snyder led off with a double to the center field wall, and Scott Moore dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Snyder to third base.� Adam Donachie bounced to short, but instead of looking Snyder back to the bag and then throwing to first for the out, Pedro Ciriaco just threw to third base.� Snyder was easily back to the bag in time, and the Tides had runners on the corners with no outs.� Paco Figueroa took advantage of the free gift, pushing a long bunt past the mound on the right side, just out of reach of Eveland.� By the time 2B Brian Friday was able to get to the ball, Snyder had scored from third base to tie the score.

Eveland retired the next 5 batters in order, then gave way to Brian Bass to begin the 8th.� Bass pitched 3 innings, his longest outing of the season, and threw 43 pitches.� Bass gave up two singles, to Moore and Donachie, in the 7th, but Moore was thrown out trying to steal second base, and Bass struck out two batters for the rest of the outs.� He retired the side in order in the 9th, including a strikeout.� When the game went into extras (and the stadium speaker system played Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”), Bass struck out two more batters, gave up a single to center field by Snyder, who had 3 hits in the game, then got a ground out to end the inning.

After Rick VandenHurk’s 8-inning night was done, reliever Alberto Castillo came on to pitch the 9th for the Tides.� Castillo walked Aki Iwamura, who was only the 5th Tribe batter to reach base in the game.� But Iwamura was left at first when a fly out and a pop out ended the inning.� Frank Mata pitched the 10th inning, and retired the Indians in order again.

Jean Machi came on to pitch the top of the 11th.� He started out well, striking out Adam Donachie.� Then Paco Figueroa lifted a looper to short left-center field.� Four Indians’ fielders raced to the spot — and all of them arrived just a second too late.� The ball fell in, then was accidentally kicked away from the pack, giving Figueroa time to reach second base — ruled a double, no error.� Jeff Salazar dribbled a grounder to first base, but it moved Figueroa to third base.� Robert Andino came to the plate, and the first pitch Machi threw to him bounced two feet in front of the plate and went bounding to the backstop.� Figueroa scored easily from third with the go-ahead run.� Machi got Andino to ground out to end the inning, but it was too late.

Kevin Melillo worked a walk off Tides’ closer Dennis Sarfate in the bottom of the 11th, but Sarfate retired three other batters, to secure the win for Norfolk.� Mata earned the win, and Sarfate earned his 15th save of the season.� Tribe starter Brad Lincoln, who had battled his evil twin, did not get a decision.� Jean Machi was charged with the loss.

Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:� Kevin Melillo’s RBI single in the 3rd inning, which drove in the Indians’ only run of the game.

Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game:� Two spectacular catches in the outfield — Kevin Melillo’s leaping catch at the left field wall to end the 1st inning and prevent at least one run from scoring; and Alex Presley’s diving catch in center field in the 3rd inning, which kept at least two runs from scoring.


Left:� Brad Lincoln;�� Right:� Mitch Jones





Kevin Melillo is obviously back from being temporarily inactive.� His wife gave birth to a daughter on Monday night, and both are doing fine.

RHP Chris Jakubauskas has joined the Indians on a rehab assignment.� He had worked his way back from a concussion he’d suffered after being hit in the head by a line drive, then had a groin injury.

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

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