Tony Watson…………. Cesar Valdez
A new member of the Pirates’ organization, Cesar Valdez, (photo above) came on to pitch the 7th inning. With one out, Valdez gave up three consecutive hits: a single through the hole into left field by Carrera, a bloopy single that fell into short left field by Phelps (his third hit of the game), and a sharp smack down the right field line by 3B Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall’s ball went into the right field corner, and both Carrera and Phelps came around to score. Lambo made the throw in from right field, to the cut-off man Ciriaco, who in turn made a near-perfect throw to Harrison at third, who tagged out Chisenhall as he slid in to the bag. With the Clippers ahead 4-0, Valdez gave up a walk, then got out of the inning on an amazing snag of a line drive by Ciriaco.
The Indians answered with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Columbus reliever Jess Todd got as wild as Watson had been. He walked d’Arnaud and Harrison, back-to-back. Dusty Brown (photo) grounded to second, and as Harrison slid into second, he disrupted Clippers’ 2B Jason Kipnis so that Kipnis could not get off the throw to first. But d’Arnaud, who had been on second base, took off as Brown hit the ball, and he didn’t stop. D’Arnaud rounded third and headed for the plate, and by the time Kipnis figured out what was going on, his throw to the plate was too late. D’Arnaud’s had missed the plate, and C Carlin’s swipe tag missed d’Arnaud. As d’Arnaud turned and scrambled to go back and touch the plate, home plate umpire Art Thigpen was giving the ‘safe’ call. What Thigpen saw, and the replay showed, was that d’Arnaud’s foot had touched the plate as he slid by. That put the Indians onto the scoreboard, with the first run of the season. Another walk put DH Brian Friday on base and brought Gorkys Hernandez to the plate. Hernandez ran the count full, then fouled off three more pitches, then smashed a line drive to right center field, for a 2-run triple. Clippers 4, Indians 3
That was all the Indians could muster, though. Presley reached base on a missed-catch error by Columbus reliever Zach Putnam to begin the 8th. He got as far as third base, on 1B Matt Hague’s line drive single and a ground out by d’Arnaud, but that was all. Friday doubled with one out in the 9th, then advanced to third base on a wild pitch. A walk to Hernandez put runners on the corners, but Ciriaco bounced into a double play, which ended the rally before it could really get going.
Cesar Valdez came back out to the mound to start the 8th inning for the Indians. He gave up a 2-out double to Valbuena, then was lifted in favor of last year’s super reliever Justin Thomas. Thomas ended the 8th with a ground out, then returned to pitch the 9th. He gave up a walk to Phelps, which clearly annoyed him — so he promptly picked Phelps off first base, catching him in a run-down. A ground out ended the inning.
The Indians and the Clippers return to action on Friday night, with Sean Gallagher scheduled to pitch for the Tribe.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Gorkys Hernandez’s triple in the 7th inning, which drove in 2 runs. (photo)
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Pedro Ciriaco made an astounding diving catch of a thigh-high line drive to end the 7th inning. He dove to his right, and was horizontal in the air to make the catch.
The Indians had another “60 Degree Weather Guarantee” for Opening Day — if the game-time temperature was not 60 degrees or more, then everyone in attendance would get a free ticket to another April game. What was the temperature? An overcast and very windy 57 degrees.
News about former Indians : 1B Chris Richard (2006), who has been playing for the Durham Bulls (Rays) for the past four years, has retired from baseball. Former Indians’ manager Trent Jewett is now in the major leagues, serving as special assistant to the General Manager and Field Manager Jim Riggleman of the Washington Nationals.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard threw out a first pitch………… manager Dean Treanor has the line-up card
3B Josh Harrison makes the scoop on a bunt
Photos by NancyZ