(Photo: Lincoln in an unusual place — on third base, and still breathing heavily from his long run. “I was waiting for someone to come out of the dugout with some oxygen,” he said after the game. )
The Chiefs scored their only run in the 5th inning. Lincoln began that frame with back-to-back singles by 1B Chris Marrero and C Jesus Flores. CF Corey Brown dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. LF Jeff Frazier grounded deep to short, where SS Brian Friday had to battle a tough set of hops. Friday got the out on Frazier at first base, but Frazier got credit for an RBI as Marrero came in to score. Another grounder to short ended the inning.
Lincoln also gave up two hits in the 6th. With one out, Antonelli slipped a grounder through the hole and into left field for a single, and Valdez lined another single into right field, moving Antonelli to third base. With 3B Tug Hulett at the plate, Lincoln’s second pitch got past C Eric Fryer, and Antonelli raced for the plate. The ball had not gone far, though, and Fryer got to it quickly, firing to Lincoln, who had come to the plate to cover. Lincoln had the ball in plenty of time, with Antonelli still a few feet from the plate. Lincoln tagged him easily for the out. A fly out ended the inning.
Two more Syracuse batters reached base in the 7th. Lincoln plunked Marrero, then gave up a single off the diving Marte’s glove to Flores. Marrero tagged up and advanced to third base on the second of two fly outs to center field, and Lincoln struck out SS Chris McConnell looking, leaving both Syracuse runners on base. Lincoln finished his evening’s work having thrown 91 pitches (64 strikes).
The Indians had one more hit in the game, and it was the only Tribe hit that was not for extra bases. With one out in the 7th, Hague singled through the left side of the infield, off reliever Jeff Mandel. He was forced out at second on a grounder by CF Gorkys Hernandez. The Indians went down in order in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Cesar Valdez pitched the 8th inning, and Tim Wood pitched the 9th. Both of them pitched a perfect inning, with two strikeouts apiece. Wood earned his 12th Save of the season.
(Photo: Brad Lincoln congratulates Shelby Ford on his home run.)
The Indians are in third place in the International League Western Division, a full game ahead of the fourth-place Toledo Mud Hens. The Hens lost to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tonight. The Tribe is 10.5 games behind the first-place Columbus Clippers, and 6.5 games behind the second-place Louisville Bats.
Indians’ Hitting Gems of the Game: Brad Lincoln’s triple and double, which were his first hits of the season. The Indians had only 5 hits in the game, but they made them count.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Matt Hague’s unassisted double play at first base in the 4th inning. He made a quick catch of a short line drive off the bat of Jesus Valdez, then got back to first base in time to tag Matt Antonelli before he could return safely.
The pitchers were moving so quickly tonight, that the game took only 2 hours and one minute. They were almost done too early for the post-game fireworks… it was not quite dark yet.
During the post-game interview with Brad Lincoln, broadcaster Scott McCauley again (like last night) tried to keep Lincoln facing toward the dugout, just in case one of his teammates tried to plaster Lincoln with a shaving cream pie to the face. It backfired, though. Mischief-maker Corey Wimberly did come out of the dugout with a shaving cream pie, but instead of Lincoln, he smashed it into McCauley’s face.
(photos by Nancy)