(Andy Marte fields a grounder, with Brian Friday backing him up.)
Mitchell gave up 5 hits and one walk in his 7 innings of work. While the Yankees never had more than one base runner on at a time, and never reached as far as third base while Burres was pitching, the Tribe had two innings in which they threatened and put runners on third, but could not score. In the 2nd inning, 3B Andy Marte and 1B Matt Hague led off with back to back singles into left field — a line drive for Marte and a grounder through the hole for Hague. RF Miles Durham dropped down a very nice sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. DH Andrew Lambo worked a 3-0 count, then the Yankees decided to just go ahead and intentionally walk him, loading the bases for C Wyatt Toregas. Toregas has played only sparingly thus far in the season, and had not yet had a hit in his 23 at-bats. Unfortunately for the Tribe, Toregas did not get a hit in that at-bat either. Instead he left the bases loaded as he bounced to short, where SS Ramiro Pena stepped on second base to force out Lambo, then fired on to first for the inning-ending double play.
Two innings later, the Tribe tried to rally again. LF Alex Presley lined his 71st single of the season (leading the International League) into right field, extended his hitting streak to 7 games. Marte was robbed of a hit when he shot a line drive toward short, and Pena made a diving catch. Hague singled up through the middle, moving Presley to second base. A wild pitch by Mitchell let both runners advance into scoring position with two outs. But Lambo could only pop up high into foul territory, and Yankees C Montero made the catch on the top step of the Indians’ dugout to end the threat.
Marte also reached base in the 6th, when he was hit by a pitch (or at least his jersey was). Then in the 7th, Wyatt Toregas (photo) finally found an open hole, driving a low liner just inside the third base line and into the left field corner for a double — his first hit of the season.
Unfortunately for the Indians, Brian Burres could not pitch all afternoon. He was relieved by Tony Watson, who began the top of the 8th by giving up back-to-back hits — a double to the left field wall by Brewer, and a single that slipped under SS Friday’s dive by DH Luis Nunez, moving Brewer to third. CF Austin Krum tapped back to the mound, where Burres dropped the ball, recovered, and threw to first for the out. Brewer held up at third base, but Nunez advanced to second on the play. That was all Manager Dean Treanor wanted Watson to do (photo below). The southpaw Watson was relieved by the right-hander Tim Wood to face the lefty batter Ramiro Pena. The strategy didn’t matter, though, as Pena sent a slow roller to Hague, who took two steps to touch first and force out Pena. But between the slow-moving grounder and Pena partially blocking Hague’s line of sight to the plate, Hague had no time to throw to the plate. Brewer scored easily from third with what turned out to be the only run of the game. Another ground out ended the inning.
Wood came back out to pitch the top of the 9th. He gave up a single to Vazquez, and Vazquez reached second base on a wild pitch. Wood struck out 3B Brandon Laird, then got RF Jordan Parraz to ground to third. Marte made the scoop and was about to throw across the diamond to first, when he looked up — and found Vazquez just two steps away from him. It was poor baserunning on Vazquez’s part, because he was not being forced to run, and the play was taking place right in front of him. Marte took those two steps for the easy tag out, and instead of having a Yankees’ insurance run on third base, it was moved back to first. Wood got Russo to fly out to left, ending the inning.
(Tim Wood pitched 1.2 innings.)
The Indians had two opportunities to tie the game after the Yankees scored. But they went down in order in the bottom of the 8th. Yankees’ reliever Randy Flores needed only 9 pitches to make that happen. Kevin Whelan, the Yankees’ closer came on for the bottom of the 9th. Marte lifted a long fly ball down the left field line, which at first looked like it might clear the wall… but it bounced off the left field wall, and Marte rounded first and headed for second as LF Brewer chased down the carom and threw in to second base. Marte might have been out at second, but the throw skittered past second base and Marte slid in safely. Hague also smacked a hard line drive — but right at 1B Vazquez for the first out of the inning. John Bowker came on to pinch-hit for Durham, and a wild pitch let Marte advance to third base. But Bowker struck out and Lambo flied out, ending the game with Marte still on third.
The Indians and the Yankees finish their season series on Thursday. The Indians will continue their homestand with 4 games against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Wyatt Toregas’ long-awaited first hit of the season, a double into left field. He got a nice round of applause from the crowd.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 7th, with two outs, Kevin Russo smacked a sharp grounder to third base. Andy Marte went to his left to make a great back-handed stop just inside the third base line. Then Marte hopped up, turned, and made a very nice throw to first base in time to make the out on Russo.
Wyatt Toregas in unfamiliar territory: on second base, and then on third
Brian Friday, in a photo that caught the ball in a funny spot; Miles Durham’s sacrifice bunt in the 2nd.
Reliever Anthony Claggett returned to the Indians from the Altoona Curve this morning. He will take the roster spot vacated when reliever Blaine Boyer went onto the Disabled List. Boyer’s right forearm
still has a lot of swelling. He’ll be reevaluated in a few days.
Yankees’ LF Justin Maxwell, who was injured when he collided with the left field wall yesterday, has some swelling in his shoulder. He will also be reevaluated in a few days.
(photos by Nancy)