Chris Leroux (photo) came on for Wilson to begin the 3rd inning. Leroux pitched 4 scoreless innings, for his longest outing since the 2006 season. He loaded the bases in the 3rd with a double by Thomas, a walk by Sheely, and Lin being hit by a pitch, but a strikeout by Nava left all three on base. Leroux scattered 2 more walks over the next three innings, and struck out the side all swinging, in the 5th.
Meanwhile, the Indians put 4 runners on base in the first two innings, but couldn’t bring any of them around to score. RF Gorkys Hernandez walked in the top of the 1st, but was picked off base when he was caught leaning too far towards second. CF Alex Presley singled up the middle in the 1st, and was left stranded. Harrison had his first hit, a single, in the 2nd, and C Dusty Brown walked, but both were left on base. Three Indians went down swinging at strike three in the 3rd.
But the Indians did not give up. “We knew we could make a come back,” said Harrison after the game. “We just wanted to stay in it… we wanted to chip away, chip away.” Harrison began the chipping in the 4th inning, when he doubled for the first time. Brown followed the double with a 2-run homer over the left-center field wall, to cut the PawSox lead to 7-2.
3B Andy Marte (photo), who had 3 hits in the game, led off the 6th inning with one of those singles. Harrison added a single, and Brown walked to load the bases with one out. 2B Brian Friday lifted a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice, and Marte scored easily, as the throw in from right field to the plate was not even close. Harrison tagged up and advanced to third base on the throw. A wild pitch by reliever Jason Rice skipped into the dirt and bounced way over toward the first base dugout, allowing Harrison to race home. That chipped the Indians closer: 7-4.
The Indians went down in order in the 7th, but bounced right back to chip some more in the 8th. Marte led off with his second single of the game, and Hague worked a walk. Harrison doubled again, with a line drive into right-center field. Marte scored easily from second base. The throw in by CF Lin was aimed at third base, in hopes of nailing Hague, but the ball sailed well over 3B Dlugach’s head for an error, allowing Hague to scramble home and Harrison to reach third. Harrison had to hold at third base when Brown grounded out to short, but he didn’t stay there long. He was off and running as Friday took his swing for a grounder to third. Dlugach fired to the plate, and the throw was on target, and would have had Harrison out by two steps, but C McKenry either dropped the ball or had it pop out of his glove when Harrison ran into him. The ball ricocheted down the first base line, and Harrison was in safely with the tying run.
Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Tribe, allowing just a walk to Thomas. Tony Watson took over for the bottom of the 8th, with the score tied at 7-7. Watson gave up a single to Sheely, then picked him off first, but Sheely took off for second base, and 1B Hague could not pull the ball out of his glove fast enough to throw down to second base in time. Sheely was credited with a stolen base. With two outs, Thomas intentionally walked Luna, then got Anderson to ground out, leaving the two runners stranded and preserving the tie.
Presley began the Tribe rally in the top of the 9th. With one out, Presley singled on a low liner back up the middle. Marte singled for the third time, slipping it through the hole and into left field. Hague grounded to third for what should have been an inning-ending double play, but Dlugach bobbled the ball momentarily. He still had time to get the force out on Marte at second base, but there was no throw to first, and the Tribe had runners on the corners. A pitch in the dirt got away from C McKenry, allowing Presley to score from third on the passed ball, giving the Indians an 8-7 lead. Then Harrison doubled for the third time in the game, lining into the right-center field gap, to bring in Hague with an insurance run. Harrison also stole third base, but was left there when a ground out ended the inning.
Cesar Valdez came on to pitch the bottom of the 9th. He gave up a one-out walk to Thomas, then struck out Dlugach. Thomas moved up to second base on defensive indifference, and then went on to third when Iglesias grounded deep into the hole at short. Harrison tried to make a back-handed catch, but couldn’t hold on to the ball. It was initially ruled an error, but later changed to a single for Iglesias. With runners on the corners, the PawSox thought they might have a chance, but Valdez got Sheely to fly out to Presley in center field, ending the threat and the game.
The win gives the Indians a 3-game lead in this 4-game series. The Tribe began the day tied with the Toledo Mud Hens for third place in the International League West Division. The Mud Hens were rained out tonight, so the Indians move into sole possession of third place, a half game ahead of the Mud Hens. The Indians are 12 games behind the division-leading Columbus Clippers, and 4.5 games behind the second-place Louisville Bats.
Indians Hitting Gem of the Game: A 5-for-5 night for Josh Harrison. It’s the first 5-hit game of his career, and it led the offense in the come-from-behind win. The 5 hits raised Harrison’s average to .331. His teammates tried to “help” Harrison celebrate with some shaving cream in his face during the post-game interview, but Harrison jumped away: “He wasn’t light on his feet — I heard him coming!”
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Four scoreless innings by Chris Leroux, which shut down the Pawtucket offense and stopped them in their tracks. Aided by three more scoreless innings by Blaine Boyer, Tony Watson, and Cesar Valdez, the bullpen did not let the PawSox score after the 2nd inning, giving the Tribe the space to catch up and take the win.
This was the Indians’ 50th game of the season. (There are a total of 144 games scheduled.)
The Indians began the game tied for third place with the Mud Hens…
Reliever Danny Moskos was recalled to the Pirates today, to take the roster spot vacated by Joe Beimel. Beimel was placed on the 15-day Disabled List due to elbow inflammation. Dan Meyer was activated off the Indians’ DL, taking Moskos’ roster spot.
Corey Wimberly was reactivated from the Tribe’s DL today. Infielder Greg Picart was removed from the roster, and returned to extended spring training.