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The Pittsburgh Pirates are struggling at the plate at the Major League level. Fortunately for them, a lot of their hitters in Triple-A are performing well. This means they have some internal solutions if they wish...
After losing 6-1 to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped to .500 on the season, finishing their week by getting swept twice. The Pirates have only played 22 games, which is 13.6% of...

Melillo’s Walk Off Homer Gives Indians Sweep

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Doug Bernier, Argenis Diaz, and Jim Negrych

Indianapolis Indians �6, �Toledo Mud Hens �5 (box)

IMG_3247LF Kevin Melillo (photo) launched a pitch into the night in the bottom of the 9th at Victory Field, and when it landed in the grass berm in front of the right field scoreboard, the Indians had a walk-off win over the Toledo Mud Hens. �They also had a sweep of the 4-game series against Toledo, and combined with the Columbus Clippers' loss to the Gwinnett Braves tonight, that puts the Indians 2 games behind the first-place Clippers in the International League Western Division, and drops Toledo to 3 games behind the Indians.

Compared to last night, when the Indians cranked out 19 hits, tonight's game began rather quietly. �Only one Tribe batter reached base in the first three innings, and that was 1B Steve Pearce, who led off the 2nd inning with a line drive just over the head of Toledo SS Brent Dlugach. �Pearce stole second base, but he was left there when a flu out and two strikeouts ended the inning.

Indians' starter Brian Burres also held the Mud Hens scoreless in the early innings. �He worked his way out of a jam in the top of the 1st. �Lead-off batter 2B Will Rhymes singled up the middle, and Brent Dlugach walked. �LF Jeff Frazier made the first out, on a short fly ball to center, with CF Alex Presley making a very nice running catch. �Burres and the Indians caught a break when Rhymes made a base-running mistake: �with Burres looking right at him, Rhymes led off second base, then went a little too far, and was caught in the middle of nowhere when Burres came off the mound. �Rhymes was easily thrown out at third base, with 3B Doug Bernier putting down the tag (photo below).

IMG_3823Brent Dlugach advanced to second base while Burres and Bernier were taking care of Rhymes. � Another walk, to 1B Ryan Strieby, put two runners on base with two outs. �Burress got out of the inning by striking out 3B Jeff Larish.

Bernier allowed just one hit over the next three innings. �He retired the side in order in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. �Jeff Frazier led off the 4th with a double into left-center field, but he was still standing there on second base when Burres struck out Strieby, Larish, and RF Wilkin Ramirez and was out of the inning.

Indians’ Homers Bulldoze Bulls

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Doug Bernier is congratulated on his home run.

Indianapolis Indians �9, �Durham Bulls �1 (box)

IMG_3682The outfield berm was a very good place to be tonight if you were at Victory Field and were looking to catch a souvenir. �The Indians blasted four home runs on their way to 9 runs on 12 hits, as they got revenge for being one-hit by the Bulls last night. �Not to be outdone by the offense, starter Hayden Penn pitched 6 strong innings, as he struck out a season-high 9 batters and allowed only one unearned run.

The Indians' offensive onslaught began in the 2nd inning. �C Erik Kratz led off the inning with a sinking line drive into left field for a hit. �DH Jeff Clement (photo) followed with a long high bomb over the right field wall and onto the grass berm for a 2-run homer. �Moments later, CF Jonathan Van Every got into the act with a long blast of his own, which landed in the right field berm about 75 feet to the left of Clement's. �The Indians had a 3-0 lead.

IMG_3689The Indians kept it going in the 2nd inning. �With one out, 2B Jim Negrych singled, but before another pitch was thrown to the plate, Bulls' starter Heath Phillips turned and threw to first base. �It looked like Negrych's foot slipped a bit as he tried to dive back to the base, and it was enough delay that he was picked off. �1B Steve Pearce walked with two outs, and Erik Kratz brought him in with another home run (photo) -- this one was a drive down the left field line, which stayed just barely inside the foul pole.

The fourth home run belonged to SS Doug Bernier. Bernier had singled to lead off the 1st inning, but had been left on base. �In the 5th, he led off the inning with a home run rocketed over the left field wall and into the grass berm on that side of the field.

The Tribe added two more runs off Indiana native Heath Phillips in the 6th inning -- not by way of home runs. �Jeff Clement led off the inning with a walk, and 3B Brian Myrow lined a single into left field, moving Clement to second base. �Jonathan Van Every drove in Clement with a line drive single into right field. �RF Brandon Jones' sacrifice fly to deep center field allowed Myrow to score, and the Indians had 8 runs of Phillips, on 10 hits.

Indians Take Another Game In Extras

Indianapolis Indians �7, �Buffalo Bison �3 (box)

IMG_3617For the second day in a row, the Indianapolis Indians put up a nice crooked number in the top of an extra inning to break a tie, then won the game when they held off the Bison in their half of the inning. �Today it was 4 runs in the 12th inning that did the trick.

The 12th began with a walk to C Erik Kratz, and a sacrifice bunt by 2B Jim Negrych, to move Kreatz to second base. �Buffalo reliever Adam Pettyjohn intentionally walked the rehabbing RF�Steve Pearce. 1B Jeff Clement (photo) made the Bison regret the walks, as he took a long fly over the head of Bison's RF Valentino Pascucci. �The double drove in both Kratz and Pearce, and gave the Indians a 5-3 lead. �Brandon Jones came on to pinch hit for Tribe reliever Brian Bass, and Jones struck out, but CF Brandon Moss smacked his 16th double of the season to right-center, where it hopped the fence for a ground-rule double, scoring Clement. �SS Argenis Diaz kept things going with a walk. �3B Doug Bernier lined a single up the middle. �The throw to the plate was a few feet up the third base line, but Moss had rounded third and was bearing down on the plate. �Moss crashed C Jason Thole, sending him flying in one direction and the ball flying in another direction, and as he rolled after the collision, Moss's foot rolled over the plate. �Diaz moved to third base and Bernier advanced to second on the throw. �A pop out ended the inning, with the Indians ahead, 7-3.

Steven Jackson came on to pitch the bottom of the frame. �He gave up a one-out single off the glove of SS Argenis Diaz to Bisons' CF Jorge Padilla, but the first pitch Jackson threw to SS Justin Turner was bounced on an easy hop right to Diaz. �Diaz started the 6-4-3 (Diaz to Negrych to Clement) double play to end the game. �Brian Bass earned the win, his second of the season. �The Indians won 3 of the 4 games in this series with Buffalo, and 6 of the 8 games in the season series.

Three Homers By One Bison Down Indians

Buffalo Bison �6, �Indianapolis Indians �4 (box)

IMG_3534Three home runs by Buffalo RF Valentino Pascucci powered the Bison over the Indians at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo tonight. �The Tribe tried for a late-inning come-back, but fell short, despite another strong effort by the bullpen. �Starter Brian Burres (photo)�took the loss, as he allowed two of Pascucci's homers.

Pascucci began his big night in the bottom of the 1st. �SS Andy Green led off the inning with a double into left field. �Brian Burres walked 2B Justin Turner, then gave up the 3-run bomb over the left field wall to Pascucci. �The Bison added another run in each of the next two innings. �In the 2nd, Burres walked the lead-off batter, C Josh Thole, and CF Jonathan Malo followed with a double, moving Thole to third base. �Green's sacrifice fly plated Thole, and the Bison had a 4-0 lead. �They made it 5-0 in the 3rd, on Pascucci's second home run of the game -- at least this was a solo homer, leading off the inning.

Buffalo starter John Maine, on a rehab assignment from the Mets, had the Indians' batters well in hand for the first four innings. �He gave up a walk to RF Brandon Moss in the top of the 1st. �Moss stole second base, then went to third on 2B Jim Negrych's ground out, but Moss got no further. �Maine retired the Tribe batters in order in the 2nd, then walked two more Indians, Brian Burres and LF Kevin Melillo in the 3rd. �They were also left stranded when Maine retired the next two batters to end the inning. �Three Indians sat down in order in the 4th too.

IMG_2602CF Jonathan Van Every (photo) began the top of the 5th with the Indians' first hit of the game, a double into right field. �After a strikeout by SS Argenis Diaz, Brandon Jones came on to pinch hit for Burres. �Jones reached base on a grounder to second base, when Maine, covering first base, dropped the ball on the toss from 2B Justin Turner. �That put runners on the corners for the Indians, and ended Maine's evening. �Reliever Mike O'Connor came on for Buffalo. �He first faced Kevin Melillo and got him to ground out to first, but that allowed Van Every to score from third base. �It was the only run the Indians would get in the inning, as another ground out by Brandon Moss ended the brief rally.

Brian Burres also left the game after just 4 innings. �He had allowed 5 runs on a total of 5 hits -- two home runs plus the sacrifice fly. �Burres had thrown 78 pitches (46 for strikes). �Jeremy Powell took over for Burres, and struck out the side with 15 pitches. �Brian Bass took his turn in the 6th, and he also retired the side in order, on three straight ground outs. �Steven Jackson, recently reactivated from the disabled list, worked around a single for a scoreless 7th inning.

Crotta Ambushed By Yankees

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre �8, � �Indianapolis Indians �6 (box)

IMG_3216Seven runs on 11 hits in the first four innings put the Indians in a big hole tonight at PNC Field in Scranton, PA, and though they tried mightily, they could not climb back out.

Starter Mike Crotta (photo) was hit hard by the Yankees, and did not make it out of the 4th inning. �The Yankees scored in each of the first four innings, as they piled up those 11 hits and took advantage of an Indians' error. �Crotta started the bottom of the 1st with a ground out, then gave up a single to LF Colin Curtis which slipped through the left side of the infield past the shifted-over SS Doug Bernier. Curtis was off and running on the next batter, SS Eduardo Nunez, as he took a double into left field, and Curtis was able to come around to score. �1B Juan Miranda struck out on three pitches, but Nunez stole third base, and then scored on 3B Jorge Vasquez's line drive single into left field. �C Jesus Montero doubled, bringing in Montero, before DH David Winfree struck out to end the rally. �Crotta had thrown 23 pitches to get through the inning, and the Yankees had a 3-0 lead.

They came right back at Crotta in the 2nd inning. �With one out, CF Greg Golson doubled into the left field corner, and moved to third on a ground out by RF Reid Gorecki. �Curtis grounded to 1B Jeff Clement, moving to his right to make the play. �But when Clement flipped the ball to Crotta covering first base, the throw was low and skipped past Crotta. �Instead of the inning being over, Golson scored on the hit and RBI, and Curtis advanced to second base on the throwing error. �A ground out ended the inning, with the Yankees adding the one run, 4-0. �The inning took Crotta another 23 pitches.

IMG_3631It didn't get any better in the 3rd inning. �Miranda began the inning with a double off the center field wall, and Jorge Vasquez followed with a home run over the left field wall. �Montero singled through the hole at short, past Doug Bernier, for a single after the homer. �Then Crotta got some better breaks -- a strikeout by Winfree, a grounder off Crotta's glove that 2B Jim Negrych (photo) saved from going into center field. �Negrych made a dive behind second base, then recovered in time to flip the ball back over his shoulder to Bernier covering second for the force out. �Bernier's throw on to first base was high, but it was not in time to get Reegie Corona. �A ground out ended the inning, and that took Crotta 18 pitches -- the pitch count was climbing quickly, and the Yankees led 6-0.

Morton Takes The Loss But Pitches Better

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees �3, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3555Tribe pitcher Charlie Morton (photo) made his second rehab start with the Indianapolis Indians this afternoon at PNC Field in Scranton, PA, and despite being charged with the loss, Morton had a better outing than he had last week. �Morton pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 batters. �Back on Tuesday, Morton had not made it through the 4th inning and had given up 5 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 3 strikeouts. �Opposing batters hit .353 against Morton last week, but hit .292 against him today. �Not wonderful, not great, but at least better.

What was even more telling, though, was that after Morton allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in the first three innings, Morton settled down. �Over the last three innings he pitched today, Morton gave up just one hit, a single to Yankees' SS Eduardo Nunez in the 5th. �Nunez stole second base, but was left there when Morton finished the inning with a ground out. �Morton retired the Yankees in order in the 4th and the 6th, and he struck out 4 batters in those last three innings.

That does mean that Morton had trouble in the first three innings. �In fact, the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the 1st, all singled, and all made good solid contact with Morton's pitches. �RF Reid Gorecki singled up the middle, and DH Colin Curtis slipped a grounder into right field, moving Gorecki to third base. �Gorecki scored on Nunez's single into left field, and 1B Juan Miranda's single loaded the bases. �After a quick visit by pitching coach Dean Treanor, Morton got 3B Jorge Vasquez to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play, started by SS Argenis Diaz, to 2B Jim Negrych, and on to 1B Jeff Clement, who was pulled a little to the infield side of the bag by Negrych's throw, but still was able to tag Vasquez as he ran past. �Curtis scored from third on the play. �Morton struck out C Jesus Montero to end the inning.

Morton had a little momentum from the double play and the strikeout, and he retired the Yankees in order in the 2nd, aided by an impressive catch by Jim Negrych on a short soft liner by CF Greg Golson. �Negrych had to go behind him and to his right to make the play.

IMG_2336The Indians had managed only one hit over the first two innings. �Jeff Clement smacked a double over the head of LF David Winfree, who did not judge the wind and the ball very well, and then couldn't readjust fast enough. �The top of the 3rd began with a single into center field by RF Brandon Jones. Argenis Diaz (photo) hit a fly ball into right field, which Yankees' RF Reid Gorecki let bounce just in front of him, making the catch on a very short hop, about at the level of his ankles. �Jones had had to hold up because he thought Gorecki might be able to catch the ball, and then when the catch was made after the bounce, Jones had to race to second. �Gorecki was expecting it, and was easily able to fire to second base to force out Jones. �Diaz was safe at first, and he moved to second base on a wild pitch from Yankees' starter Tim Redding. �LF Kevin Melillo first slugged a long ball down the right field line which curved foul at the last moment, missing a home run by only about 10 feet. �Melillo eventually�flied out, and Diaz tagged up and advanced to third base. �Then Jim Negrych collected his first AAA hit and his first AAA RBI with a double off the wall in left field, scoring Diaz, and cutting the Yankees' lead to 2-1.

Indians Survive 9th Inning Scare As McCutchen Wins

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This is the huge shift the Indians use against lefty batters.... that's 3B Pedro Alvarez standing where the shortstop would usually stand, about half a mile from third base. �SS Argenis Diaz is standing almost behind second base.

Indianapolis Indians �4, �Pawtucket Red Sox �2 (box)

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The Indians survived a scare in the 9th inning to win their 4th straight game tonight at Victory Field. �Starter Daniel McCutchen dominated the PawSox for 7 innings to earn his 4th win of the season with the Indians. �McCutchen allowed only one run on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7 batters. �LF Kevin Melillo, 3B Pedro Alvarez, and RF Brandon Moss had 2 hits each in the contest, and one of Melillo's hits was a solo home run. �The Tribe has now won 6 of the 7 games (so far, tomorrow is the last) on this homestand.

The Indians got busy in the 1st inning. �With one out, DH Brandon Jones worked a walk. �Pedro Alvarez sent him to third base with a single lined into right field. �Brandon Moss followed with a double driven down the right field line and into the corner, easily scoring Jones from third base to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.

McCutchen (photo) sailed through most of his ininngs, and only had serious trouble in one inning. �He began his outing by retiring 9 of the 10 batters he faced over the first three innings. �The only Pawtucket batter to reach base in the first third of the game was RF Daniel Nava, who was hit by a pitch (it barely grazed his uniform, but that counts) in the 1st inning.

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(Photo: �Doug Bernier makes a play at second base)

The 4th inning was tougher for McCutchen, as the first three batters who came to the plate reached base safely. �SS Angel Sanchez opened the inning with a liner up the middle for a single, and Nava followed with a double into righ field, moving Sanchez to third base. �1B Lars Anderson walked on four straight pitches, and the bases were loaded. �C Luke Carlin had a brief chat with McCutchen, who then bore down and struck out C Dusty Brown on three pitches for the first out of the inning. �LF Ryan Kalish bounced a slow dribbler over toward first base. �1B Brian Myrow had to charge in onto the grass to field the ball, and by the time he had it in his glove, his only play was at first base. �Kalish was out at first, but he brought in Sanchez from third base to tie the score at 1-1. �McCutchen ended the inning by striking out DH Tug Hulett.

The only other hit McCutchen allowed came in the 5th inning, after two outs had already been recorded. �2B Niuman Romero lined a single into center field, then stole second base without even drawing a throw from Luke Carlin. �Sanchez worked the count full, then on ball four, Romero took off from second base, to steal third base. �This time Carlin made the throw to third. �Pedro Alvarez, who was playing wide of third, had to scramble back to the bag, and wasn't quite there yet as the throw was coming to him. �He made the catch on the run, then reached down to make the tag on Romero as he slid in. �Romero was called out, and Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo argued the call. �Radio broadcasters Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley, who have replay capabilities in their booth, said that they thought the replay showed that Alvarez did not actually get the tag on Romero. �The ball reached the bag before Romero did, and on the replay, Alvarez seemed to tag the dirt next to Romero.

McCutchen pitched two more innings, both 3-up-and-3-down, including one strikeout in each. �He finished his evening with 98 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Alvarez Has Three Big Hits In Tribe Win

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A sight Pirates' fans have longed to see

Indianapolis Indians �5, �Pawtucket Red Sox �3 (box)

IMG_3589Mike Crotta earned his 4th win with the Indians this afternoon at Victory Field, and he was boosted by a 3-hit performance by 3B Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez was a single short of hitting for the cycle, a feat that has never been accomplished by an Indians' player at Victory Field.

Alvarez had the first of the Indians' 6 hits in the game -- in fact, he had half of the team's hits. �In the bottom of the 2nd, Alvarez drove a long fly ball to the deepest part of Victory Field, to the 418' sign in the left-center field alley. �The Pawtucket LF Aaron Bates and CF Ryan Kalish were no where near to that area when the ball fell in, nearly at the warning track. �By the time they got there, Alvarez was easily on his way to third base with a triple. �After a strikeout, Tribe CF Brandon Moss plated Alvarez with an RBI ground out to the right side of the infield, and the Indians had the first run of the game.

1B Brian Myrow led off the Indians' half of the 4th inning with a double, which fell in almost at the feet of LF Aaron Bates (who usually plays first base, not outfield). �Alvarez followed the double by taking a 1-2 pitch just barely over the right field wall (probably by less than 10 inches) and into a crowd of summer-camp kids. �It was his 12th homer of the season.

Alvarez's third hit followed more Tribe scoring in the 5th. �SS Argenis Diaz led off the inning by working a walk. �LF Kevin Melillo, who has 5 hits in his last 3 games, doubled to the wall in the right-center alley. �Diaz was off and running on contact. �Aided a bit when RF Daniel Nava picked up the ball, dropped it, and picked it up again, Diaz raced around to score. �Doug Bernier dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving Melillo to third base. �Myrow brought Melillo in from third with a sacrifice fly to right field. �The throw in to the plate was up the line, and Melillo scored easily. �Alvarez came to the plate with the bases clean, and he kept the rally going with a double to right-center field. �That was as far as he would get, though, as C Erik Kratz struck out to end the inning.

Bixler Comes Back To Haunt The Indians

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Charlie Morton is here (far right)

Columbus Clippers �5, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3495There's a reason that the Columbus Clippers are in first place, and today the Indians saw why. �Stellar pitching by Columbus starter Yohan Pino combined with a 2-hit, 4-RBI day by former Indian SS Brian Bixler (photo) gave the game to the Clippers this afternoon at Victory Field.

Hayden Penn made the start for the Indians, but suffered the loss as he allowed 4 runs on 9 hits in 6.1 innings. �Brian Bixler had a hand in each of those 4 runs, plus the run given up by reliever Jean Machi. Penn began the game well, retiring the first six batters in order, including getting Bixler to pop out to Tribe 2B Doug Bernier in the top of the 1st. �Penn struck out two batters in the 2nd inning. �There was also a moment in the 2nd that made the crowd gasp. �LF Nick Weglarz smacked a sharp one right back to the mound on one bounce. �The ball hit Penn (like yesterday with Powell, it wasn't clear where on his body he'd been hit). �The ricochet off Penn went high into the air, and came back down right at 3B Pedro Alvarez, who was playing over toward the shortstop position. �Alvarez caught the bounce, and threw to first base to make the out on Weglarz. �Manager Frank Kremblas and trainer Thomas Pribyl leapt out of the dugout, but they took only two or three steps onto the field before Penn vigorously waved them off. �He was fine, and he proved it by striking out the next batter to end the inning.

IMG_3497Columbus made their first move in the 3rd inning. �Penn (photo) gave up singles to DH Brian Buscher and 2B Josh Rodriguez to open the inning. �A sacrifice bunt by RF Jose Constanza moved both runners up one base. �Penn struck out CF Michael Brantly for the second out of the inning. �That brought up Brian Bixler, who lifted a bloopy ball into short right field just inside the foul line -- right in no-mans'-land, where neither RF Kevin Melillo, 1B Brian Myrow, nor 2B Doug Bernier could reach it. �That brought in both Buscher and Rodriguez, two RBI for Bixler, to give the Clippers a 2-0 lead.

Penn gave up a ground rule double to 3B Jared Goedert in the 4th inning, but left him on base. �Then he got into trouble with lead-off hits again in the 5th inning. �This time Rodriguez got on with a grounder up the middle, but he was erased when Penn picked him off first. � Constanza beat out what was supposed to be a bunt when, the ball got stuck in Penn's mitt -- by the time he pulled it out and made the throw, Constanza beat the throw easily. �Michael Brantly walked on four pitches, as Constanza stole both second and third bases. �C Luke Carlin double-clutched on his throw to second base for the first steal, and Constanza was in well ahead of the throw. �Carlin made a good throw to third on that steal, but 3B Pedro Alvarez couldn't hold onto the ball, and Constanza was safe. �With runners on the corners, guess who came to the plate again? �Brian Bixler, of course. �Bixler doubled for the second time in the game, taking this ball down into the right field corner for one RBI as Constanza scored easily. �With Brantley at third and Bixler at second, Penn bore down and got a pop out and a fly out to end the inning. �Clippers 3, Indians 0.

Can’t Keep Alvarez Off Base In Indians’ Win

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Help is on the way!

Indianapolis Indians �7, �Columbus Clippers �2 (box)

IMG_3478Solid pitching and enthusiastic offense was just what the Indians needed, as they defeated the Columbus Clippers for the second straight night. �The win assures the Tribe of at least an even split of this critical 4-game series, which means that they can not slip further down in the standings than where they were when the series began -- 6.5 games behind the Clippers. �Currently, the Indians have climbed to 4.5 games behind the first-place Clippers, and one game behind the second-place Toledo Mud Hens (who lost to the Rochester Red Wings tonight, 8-4).

After a quiet first inning for both teams,the Indians got going in the bottom of the 2nd. �3B Pedro Alvarez led off with a line drive into right field, which landed just in front of Clippers' RF Chris Gimenez. �CF Jonathan Van Every slipped a single through the right side of the infield, keeping Gimenez busy in right field. �C Erik Kratz bounced to third base, and it looked like it was going to be a double play, but Van Every slid hard (but clean) into second base, where he threw former Indy Indian 2B Brian Bixler off balance enough so that Bixler could not make the throw to first base. �With Alvarez on third and Kratz on first, DH Brandon Jones blasted a 3-run homer over the fence in right-center, which landed on the grass in front of the scoreboard (photo). �Indians up, 3-0.


IMG_3477The Indians doubled their lead with another 3 runs in the 3rd inning. �The first four batters of the inning pounded Columbus starter Jeanmar Gomez with four straight hits. �LF Brandon Moss began with a double that put a visible pock-mark in the padding on the center field wall. �1B Brian Myrow blooped a single into right field, moving Moss to third. �Pedro Alvarez's hit was a single that squeaked through the right side of the infield just out Bixler's reach, and that brought Moss across the plate. �Jonathan Van Every (photo) lined another single into right field, to load the bases for Erik Kratz. �Kratz could only manage a weak tap towards third base, which was easily turned into a 5-4-3 double play, also erasing Van Every at second base. �Myrow scored from third on the play, though Kratz does not get credit for an RBI. �Brandon Jones drove in Alvarez with a double lined into right-center field, for his 4th RBI of the game.

Powell Dominates Braves But Takes Tough Loss

Gwinnett Braves �2, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_2550Jeremy Powell (photo) took a no-hitter into the 7th inning for the Indians at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Georgia, but ended up with a 2-hitter and a very tough loss. �Opposing pitcher and former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond, who threw a no-hitter in his last start dueled Powell through those 7 innings, giving up 5 hits but only one run, as he took the win.

No surprise -- most of the first half of this game was played in a steady soft rain. �Powell looked strong in the bottom of the 1st, as he gave up a 2-out walk to 2B Joe Thurston, but left him on base when the inning ended with a line out to left field. �Powell went on to retire the next 14 batters, 15 in a row, until the bottom of the 6th, when he gave up another 2-out walk to CF Matt Young. �Only two of those outs were strikeouts, but Powell did not make his teammates have to make wild plays to record the outs.

Powell began the 7th inning by getting Thurston to ground out to short, but the next batter, 1B Barbaro Canizares ruined Powell's no-hit bid with a ball into the right-center field alley for a triple. �RF Mitch Jones further spoiled Powell's night by taking a 1-0 pitch down the left field line and over the wall for a 2-run homer. �There was nothing LF Jose Tabata could do but turn and watch it fly. �Powell got the next two outs easily, and that was the end of his night. �Powell had thrown 88 pitches (55 strikes) and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks, with a total of 3 strikeouts.

IMG_3130Todd Redmond had to do a little more work than Powell did. �He contended with Indians' base runners in each of the first four innings. �RF Brandon Jones (photo), hitting in the 2-spot tonight, walked in the top of the 1st. �C Erik Kratz doubled to the left field wall to begin the 2nd inning, and he got as far as third base, with 2B Brian Friday on first with a walk. �The Braves had a scary moment, when Jeremy Powell grounded sharply back to the mound, where the ball ricocheted off Redmond (not sure what part of him) and to Thurston at second base. �Thurston threw to first to end the inning, and Redmond turned out to be not injured. �Brian Friday also singled in the 4th inning.

The Indians' run came in the 3rd. �With one out, Brandon Jones lashed a triple to right field that missed being a home run by just a few feet. �1B Brian Myrow followed with a double over the head of CF Matt Young and all the way to the wall, easily scoring Jones. �That was all Redmond would allow, though. �After Friday's single, Redmond retired the next 11 Indians' batters in order. �He allowed only 4 hits and struck out 10 Indians' batters.

Once the Braves had broken up the no-hitter, Steven Jackson, who just re-joined the club, relieved Powell. �Jackson worked around a single in the 8th, but did not allow a run.

Michael Dunn came on in relief of Redmond, and he was similarly effective. �He walked�Jose Tabata to begin the top of the 8th, then struck out the next three batters: �Jones, Myrow, and 3B Pedro Alvarez. That was Alvarez's fourth strikeout of the game.

IMG_2584The Indians had one more chance at a rally in the top of the 9th. �With Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Braves, Erik Kratz (photo) led off another inning with a long double to left field. �Strikeouts to CF Brandon Moss and Brian Friday followed, with Indians' manager getting tossed after Friday's strikeout for arguing about strike zone issues. �Doug Bernier came in to pinch-run for Erik Kratz, but Bernier was tagged out for the final out of the game when SS Argenis Diaz grounded to third.

Indians' Hitting Gems of the Game: �The Indians had only 5 hits in the game, but two of them belonged to Erik Kratz -- two doubles to the left field wall. �(Only one of the Tribe's hits was a single -- the one by Brian Friday.)

Indians' Defensive Gem of the Game: �Jeremy Powell taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning. �Wow. �(At least he didn't lose the no-hitter because of poor umpiring!)

NOTES:

Roster moves: �Reliever Steven Jackson, who was optioned from the Pirates is, of course, with the team in Gwinnett. �In order to make room for Jackson on the roster, reliever Corey Hamman was removed from the Indians' roster and moved to the State College roster. �This is probably a paper move, and Hamman may still be with the team, since State College doesn't begin their season for a couple weeks yet.

Starter Jimmy Barthmaier is working his way back after Tommy John surgery. �He has made two rehab appearances in Bradenton (one hit and one run in 3 innings), and has now been moved up to Altoona to do some rehab with the Curve.

Brad Lincoln was originally supposed to make the start tonight, but he swapped days with Jeremy Powell because Powell had so little work lately. �Powell's last start on Saturday was cut short due to a suspended game.

The Indianapolis Star featured an article about Erik Kratz today, by Andrew Astleford. � Check out the table at the bottom of the second page -- there are two other former Indianapolis Indians there: �Chris Coste (2004), and Jason Childers (2002-04).

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

RBIs By Alvarez and Kratz Not Enough In Suspended Game; Friday Hits Big in Second Suspended Game

First, the Indians had to finish up yesterdays' game -- suspended due to rain. �Then they had to play a 7-inning game for today.

Gwinnett Braves �4, �Indianapolis Indians �3 � (suspended, now finished) (box)

IMG_0462Home runs were the key in the first part of this game, which was started on Monday night -- read more about it here. Gwinnett's Barbaro Canizares started the scoring with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. �Indians' LF Brandon Moss knocked a solo homer in the top of the 2nd, and Braves' Alex Romero answered with a solo blast to lead off the bottom of the inning.

The Braves were leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the 4th. �Starter Daniel McCutchen (photo) got into trouble quickly, when LF Matt Young bounced a weird hop off 2B Argenis Diaz's shoulder for an error. �Alex Romero walked, putting runners on first and second, as the rain got serious. �A double steal moved the runners to second and third. �SS Brandon Hicks came to the plate and had a 1-2 count on him when the game was halted.

McCutchen finished with 3 innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks. �Two of those hits and runs came on homers. �McCutchen threw 58 pitches, 30 for strikes.

When the game resumed on Tuesday, Anthony Claggett took over for McCutchen, inheriting two runners on base and a 1-2 count on Hicks at the plate. �Claggett threw two balls, but then got Hicks to ground out easily to Pedro Alvarez at third, with the runners forced to hold their positions. �C Clint Sammons bounced to first base, where 1B Brian Myrow scooped and fired back home, where C Erik Kratz tagged out the lead runner Young at the plate. �Claggett ended the inning with a strikeout, escaping the jam without letting a run score.

IMG_2330The Braves scored again in the 5th inning. �CF Jordan Schafer lined a single into center field, and when Claggett tried to pick him off first base, the throw hit Schafer. �After taking a few minutes to make sure he was ok, Schafer popped up and stole second base on the next pitch. �A sacrifice bunt by 3B Wes Timmons moved Schafer to third base, and a single lined into left field brought him home. �Braves up, 4-1.

The Indians rallied in the top of the 6th. �CF Jon Van Every led off with a walk. �He moved to second base, then on to third, on ground outs by Argenis Diaz and Brian Myrow. �Pedro Alvarez smacked a double to deep center field, to plate Van Every. �Erik Kratz (photo) followed with a single slipped through the hole and into left field, and Alvarez raced around third to score. �That put the Tribe within one run of the Braves, at 4-3. �The rally ended when RF Brandon Jones grounded out.

Anthony Claggett also pitched the 6th inning, allowing only a walk. �He came out to begin the 7th inning, and got a strikeout, before turning the ball over to Justin Thomas. Claggett�finished with 3.1 innings of work, allowing one run on 2 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. �Thomas finished the 7th inning with two quick outs, a strikeout and a fly out. �Brian Bass came on to pitch the 8th, working around a lead-off single to keep the Braves scoreless again.

After their two runs in the 6th, the Indians managed only one base runner for the rest of the game. �Manager Frank Kremblas decide not to use a pinch-hitter for Anthony Claggett. �Batting for himself, Claggett worked the count full then took a walk. �He moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there at the end of the inning. �The Indians went down in order in the 8th and 9th innings, including three strikeouts.

IMG_2328Argenis Diaz was the only Tribe batter to have 2 hits in the game (both singles). �Daniel McCutchen was charged with the loss, his second of the season with the Tribe.

Indians' Hitting Gem of the Game: �Brandon Moss's (photo) solo home run, which put the Indians on the scoreboard in the 2nd inning.

Indians' Defensive Gem of the Game: �In the bottom of the 3rd inning, with one out and Joe Thurston on first base, Barbaro Canizares bounced a slow roller to Pedro Alvarez at third. �Alvarez grabbed it on the second hop, then fired to second base, where 2B Brian Friday made the pivot and threw on to first base for the inning-ending double play, which cut short the Braves' rally.