Wilson (photo) began his start well on the mound as well as at the plate. He retired the first 6 batters he faced. The Bison got to him for 4 runs in the bottom of the 3rd, though. 2B Luis Hernandez led off with a line drive single into center field. After two ground outs, another former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa singled, moving Hernandez to third bse. 3B Michael Fisher also singled, driving in Hernandez. LF Lucas Duda followed with a 3-run homer, cutting the Indians’ lead in half, 8-4.
Wilson went on to allow a single to Luis Hernandez in the 4th. He loaded the bases in the 5th, beginning with a bunt by pinch-hitter Chin-lung Hu which Wilson himself could not get a handle on to pick up. Figueroa walked, and after a pop out and a ground out to first, Pascucci also walked. Wilson got out of the jam by striking out RF Fernando Martinez. When the bottom of the 6th inning began with Wilson walking CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis and giving up another single to Luis Hernandez, that ended his evening’s work. He had thrown 95 pitches (60 strikes) in 5 innings. The 4 runs Wilson allowed were all earned, coming on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 4 strikeouts.
Chris Leroux came on to pitch, and Miles Durham came in to play right field in a double switch. Leroux improved matters immediately by getting pinch-hitter Jesus Feliciano to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play (d’Arnaud to Friday to Bowker). Another pinch hitter, Jason Botts, grounded to second base to end the inning without a run scoring.
Leroux (photo) used a double play to get out of the 7th inning also. Figueroa led off with a walk, then Duda singled, but Pascucci bounced into the second 6-4-3 double play in two innings, and the Bison still had not scored again. Leroux retired the Bison in order in the 8th.
After scoring in the 2nd inning, the Indians looked like they had used up all the hits in their bats. They went down in order in the next 6 innings, with 20 straight Tribe batters retired. Finally in the top of the 9th, the Indians’ bats woke up again. Manager Dean Treanor wanted Leroux to keep pitching (his second time to pitch a 4-inning-long outing), so Leroux took his turn at the plate. It was a night for hitting pitchers — Leroux lined the first pitch he saw into left field for a single. It was only his second professional hit, giving him a 2-for-7 record. (That other hit came in 2009.)
Fryer followed Leroux’s single with a second single into left field. Gorkys Hernandez grounded to short, forcing Fryer out at second, and leaving Tribe runners on the corners. A walk to Durham loaded the bases for d’Arnaud, who singled into right field, near the foul line, bringing in both Leroux and Hernandez. Friday bounced a little to the right of the mound, and reliever Taylor Tankersley came off the mound to snatch up the ball. Friday was a little slow moving out of the batter’s box, so maybe Tankersley thought he’d have time to turn a double play. But when he whirled and fired to second base, it caught his middle infielders completely by surprise. The ball sailed into center field, and CF Nieuwenhuis was also surprised, so he was not there to back up the throw. By the time Nieuwenhuis chased down the ball, Durham had scored and d’Arnaud was rounding third and heading for home. The throw in from center field and relayed by 2B Luis Hernandez to the plate was not on-target, so d’Arnaud also scored easily. Friday alertly raced to third base on that throw. With the score 12-4, Presley walked. Bowker then smacked his third triple of the game down the right field to the wall, plating Friday and moving Presley to third. Presley was left there, though, as Hague grounded out and Leroux could not get two hits in one inning — he ended the inning with a strikeout. Five more runs had scored, giving the Tribe a 13-4 lead.
Leroux followed his big hitting inning with a quick bottom of the 9th — two strikeouts and a game-ending ground out, and he had his first Save of the season. Wilson’s win was his 7th of the year.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: The big home run by Eric Fryer, his second in just a week, which brought in his 3rd, 4th, and 5th RBI in the same week. It got the Tribe fired up and sparked the 8-run 2nd inning.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the 3rd inning, with a runner on first, Raul Chavez smacked a bouncer down the third base line. It might have gone into left field, possibly for a double — but Matt Hague, who has not played much third base this season, made a dive to his left, going toward the foul line, to make the diving stop. Then he hopped up and fired across the diamond to get Chavez out. It saved a hit, and probably saved at least one run, making Duda’s subsequent homer a 3-run blast instead of a grand slam.
Reliever Tony Watson (photo) was promoted to the Pirates after Monday night’s game. Watson has made 22 relief appearances with the Indians this season, allowing 8 earned runs on 19 hits and 11 walks, with 29 walks in 29.1 innings, for a 2.45 ERA.
To make room for Watson on the roster, the Pirates removed Jose Ascanio from the 40-man roster and designated him for assignment. He will need to go through waivers before he can be assigned to Indianapolis. Ascanio made 8 relief appearances for the Pirates in the past 3-4 weeks, after doing rehab up through the minor league organization. In 6.1 innings in Pittsburgh, Ascanio allowed 5 runs on 10 hits, and batters hit .345 off him.
The roster spot vacated when Watson left the Indians will be filled by Garrett Olson, who has come off the Disabled List.
(photos by Nancy)