(Photo: d’Arnaud on third with a lead-off triple)
Then Milone settled down. With Friday standing on second base, Milone struck out 3B Matt Hague and LF John Bowker, then got Durham to ground out, ending the inning. Milone struck out the side in the 2nd (Lambo, Fryer, and CF Gorkys Hernandez). He retired the Tribe in order in the 3rd and 4th innings too, with three more strikeouts. By the end of 4 innings, Milone had struck out 8 Indians’ batters, and he added one last strikeout in the 6th.
Milone had retired 13 Indians in a row, when he gave up a single grounded up the middle to Fryer with one out in the 5th. Hernandez bounced into a force out at second base, eliminating Fryer. It was an awkwardly bounced ball in front of first base, which 1B Marrero was able to get over to SS Chris McConnell who was covering second base, but there was no chance of getting Hernandez out at first. That brought up Burres who picked up his first hit of the season, with a bloop single into left field, moving Hernandez to second base. But a pop up by d’Arnaud ended the inning with both runners still on base.
(Photo: d’Arnaud makes the first out in the top of the 2nd)
While Burres was not striking out nearly as many batters as Milone was, he was certainly holding his own in what became a pitching duel. Burres retired 11 straight batters, putting the Chiefs down in order in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings. Lambo made another nice catch in right field to end the 2nd inning. He raced in for McConnell’s short fly ball, as Friday and Durham both raced back. When Lambo called for the ball, Friday ducked down to get out of his way, and Durham pulled up, as Lambo made the catch (photo below).
Two errors ruined Burres’ streak in the 5th. He struck out LF Jeff Frazier for the first out of the inning. 3B Adam Fox took a short liner over Burres’ head and into the base-path in front of 2B Friday. Friday charged in, but the ball short-hopped and glanced off the heel of Friday’s glove. The ball spun up and over toward shortstop, and for a moment it looked like it was going to go right to d’Arnaud at short. Instead, the ball spun away from d’Arnaud also, and Fox was at first on an error charged to Friday. McConnell dropped down a bunt, but Burres himself fumbled the pick-up, for the second straight error, and Syracuse had runners on first and second. Milone also put down a bunt, this one fielded cleanly by Fryer, to move both runners into scoring position. Antonelli capitalized on the errors, with a double lined into left and off the scoreboard, driving in both Fox and McConnell to give Syracuse a 2-1 lead. Both of the runs were unearned.
(Photo: Lambo (on the right) makes the catch while Friday ducks out of the way and Durham pulls up, ending the 2nd inning)
The Chiefs came right back out in the top of the 6th to collect two more runs. Valdez led off with a bouncer that hit the third base bag and caromed into short left field. Marrero, who hit a grand slam yesterday, came through for the Chiefs with a 2-run homer that got out of the park fast, for a 4-1 lead. Burres gave up a walk to Flores following the homer, but a grounder force out, a pick-off/caught stealing on Frazier, and a strikeout of Fox ended the inning without further damage.
The Tribe got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 6th. Friday led off with his second double of the game (photo), going deep into left field and cruising into second base standing up. Hague extended his hitting streak to 8 games with a liner just inside the third base bag, landing in the same place as Friday’s double in the first inning, right under the Tribe bullpen bench. That let Friday score easily from second base, to cut Syracuse’s lead to 4-2. Milone got back on track and retired the next three batters, leaving Hague stranded on second base.
Fryer began the 7th inning rally with a double off the left field wall. Hernandez flied out, then Alex Presley came on to pinch-hit. He was not in the line-up tonight because of the bruise on his right arm, sustained when he was hit by a pitch on Saturday, but he was listed as available to pinch-hit today. The arm must be doing better, because after Presley ran the count full, he rocketed a line drive into the left field corner, which bounced around for awhile, avoiding LF Frazier, who had to scramble around to chase it down. The speedy Presley never hesitated as he approached second base, and he slid into third well ahead of the throw back from left field (photo below). Fryer scored, to bring the Tribe within one run of Syracuse, at 4-3.
(Photo: Presley on third)
That chased Milone from the mound. Hassan Pena came on in relief for the Chiefs. D’Arnaud greeted Pena by taking his first pitch into left field for a bloopy hit, scoring Presley with the tying run. Friday was next, and he lined his third double of the night down the left field line and into that ball-magnet under the bullpen bench, as d’Arnaud raced around from first base to score the go-ahead run. After a line-out by Hague, Bowker drove in Friday with a grounder between second base and the 2B Antonelli for an RBI single. A strikeout ended the inning, with the Indians ahead, 6-4.
Syracuse’s Josh Wilkie retired the Indians in order in the 8th inning, but the Tribe bullpen held on to the lead. Justin Thomas pitched the 7th inning, going 3-up-and-3-down. He was the pitcher of record when the Tribe broke out in the bottom of the inning, and so he was credited with his 4th win of the season. Tim Wood came into the game an inning earlier than usual, pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning. Wood came back out for the 9th inning. He got two quick outs, then made things “a little too interesting” according to Friday in the post-game interview. Wood gave up a single to Fox, then worked the count full and walked both pinch-hittr Tug Hulett and CF Gregor Blanco, who had entered the game in a double-switch. With two outs and the bases loaded, Wood also ran the count full on Antonelli, who then fouled off a couple more pitches. Finally, Antonelli lifted a long fly ball to center field, which Hernandez chased back, and made the game-ending catch, as the crowd let out a gasp of relief.
The Toledo Mud Hens also won tonight, so the Indians maintain a 1-game lead over the Mud Hens in the International League West standings — Indians in 3rd place and Mud Hens in 4th place. Louisville and Columbus split a double-header, so Columbus maintains their 2-game lead over Louisville. Seven games separate Louisville and Indianapolis.
tting Gem of the Game: Alex Presley’s clutch pinch-hit triple. He drove in the first run of the 7th-inning rally and got the Tribe fired up.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: Andrew Lambo’s running diving catch of a line drive off the bat of Jesus Flores to end the first inning (photo). With Syracuse runners on first and second, if that ball had gotten past Lambo, both runners would have scored, and the inning would have extended.
Dean Treanor and Alex Presley
The Pirates have chosen RHP Gerrit Cole with the first pick in the 2011 draft. Cole has just finished the college season with UCLA, where he had a 6-8 record and a 3.31 ERA. Last year at UCLA, he won 11 games and struck out 153 batters (123 innings). Cole was drafted in 2008, when he graduated from high school, by the Yankees, but he chose to go to UCLA instead. Cole, who is advised by agent Scott Boras, has a hard slider, a change-up, a fastball in the mid- to high- 90’s, and a 2-seam fastball in the lower 90’s.
3B Anthony Rendon, who had been discussed as another possible first-round choice for the Pirates, was taken by the Nationals, who had the 6th pick. Rendon has been plagued by ankle and shoulder injuries at Rice U this season.
Andy Marte was not in the line-up tonight, due to some hamstring tightness. He is not expected to miss many games.
(photos by Nancy)