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The Pittsburgh Pirates are 35-37 after winning two bullpen games in the last week, while getting reliable starts from their rotation. This week's Statcast Heroes dives into those bullpen games, while looking at the depth out...
The Pittsburgh Pirates called up right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies prior to Monday's game. With the bullpen depleted after two bullpen games over the last week, Jefferies joined Dennis Santana as the middle relief options available for...

All-Star Hague Delivers Win For Indians

Indianapolis Indians  3,  Syracuse Chiefs  0
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IMG_5294Thursday was a very good day for Indianapolis Indians' 1B Matt Hague (photo).   He was named to the International League's All-Star Team in the morning, then led his team to a victory over the Chiefs at Alliance Bank Park in Syracuse, NY in the evening.  

This won't be Hague's first All-Star Game -- he participated in the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game.  He is the Indians' only player on this year's IL All-Star Team, though Tribe manager Dean Treanor will be serving the IL as a bench coach.  The Louisville Bats have 3 position players in the IL's starting line-up, plus one reserve player.  The Durham Bulls have 2 position players among the starters, plus one reserve player.  Lehigh Valley and Columbus both have 2 pitchers named to the team.  Former Indy Indian C Erik Kratz, now with Lehigh Valley, has been named to the IL All-Star team for the third season in a row.  In his first AAA All-Star Game, Kratz was named the most valuable player, and in last season's game, he was notified of his major league call-up in the middle of the game and his astonished response was on national television.  There will be a familiar face on the Pacific Coast League's All-Star Team -- LHP Dana Eveland, who pitched for the Indians and the Pirates will be represeting the Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers).  

Hague continued his day with a 3-for-3 night at the plate, including a double, and he was responsible for driving in 2 of the Indians' 3 runs.  C Kris Watts also had a fine night, with a pair of doubles.  Pitchers Garrett Olson and Steven Jackson combined for a 2-hit shutout.  

Tribe Rox PawSox With Wild Bottom Of The 9th

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Josh Harrison's throw to Brian Friday at second base was not in time to beat Pawtucket base runner Ryan Lavarnway.






Indianapolis Indians 6,  Pawtucket Red Sox  5
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The Indianapolis Indians took advantage of a wild Pawtucket pitcher to score the winning run in the bottom of the 9th for a walk-off win at Victory Field tonight.  The Indians were sporting camouflage jerseys tonight in honor of the Indianapolis National Guard.  The jerseys were auctioned off during the game with the proceeds going toward the National Guard's fund that assists families of soldiers serving overseas.  

IMG_6140The game began ominously for starter Garrett Olson (photo) and the Indians.  Since coming off the Disabled List earlier this month, Olson had made 3 other starts and had pitched brilliantly.  He had allowed one run on 3 hits over 14.1 innings, and on June 14th, he pitched 5 hitless and scoreless innings, allowing just one walk.  But tonight, the first 5 batters Olson faced reached base safely, and the PawSox scored 3 runs in the top of the 1st.  Lead-off batter 2B Yamaico Navarro slapped Olson's first pitch into left field for a line drive.  3B Brent Dlugach followed with an instant replay -- another line drive to the same place in left field.  Olson got a full count on LF Daniel Nava, then lost him to a walk, loading the bases with no outs.  1B Hector Luna slipped a grounder through the left side of the infield for an RBI single, bringing in Navarro from third.  C Ryan Lavarnway took a slow grounder to short, where Tribe SS Brian Friday made the scoop and threw to 2B Josh Harrison for the force out on Luna, but Harrison's relay throw to first was not in time to get the double play -- the grounder had been too slow.  That allowed Dlugach to score from third, an since it was not a double play, Lavarnway was credited with the RBI.  RF Nate Spears also picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Nava.  But the equally important part of Spears' at-bat was that Spears ran the count full, and continued to foul off more pitches.  It took Olson 10 pitches to retire Spears, and by this point in the inning, Olson's pitch count was climbing at an alarming rate.  Following Spears' sacrifice fly, Olson gave up another infield single to DH Luis Esposito.   Harrison raced to make the stop deep behind the second base bag and tried to flip it to Friday covering second, but was not in time (photo above).  SS Jose Iglesias also worked a full count and fouled off another four pitches before finally swinging at strike three to end the inning.  The PawSox had scored 3 runs before the Indians had even picked up a bat, and Olson had thrown 39 pitches in the first inning.  

Pigs Slop Tribe With Late Inning Rally

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs  4,  Indianapolis Indians  3
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The Indianapolis Indians were in the lead for most of the game tonight at Coca-Cola park in Allentown, PA, but the Iron Pigs staged a 8th inning rally to take the win.  

SS Chase d'Arnaud began the game with a double into right field, skipping between the Iron Pigs' 1B Cody Overbeck and the first base bag.  2B Brian Friday singled into left field, and d'Arnaud rounded third and headed for the plate as former Indy Indian (2010) LF Brandon Moss made the throw in from left field.  Moss' throw was on time, and another former Indian (2009-10) C Erik Kratz made the catch and tried for the tag.  But d'Arnaud was faster, and Kratz lost the ball when he went for the tag, and the Tribe had a 1-0 lead.  LF Alex Presley flied out to left field, and again Moss' throw to the infield was not in time, so that Friday was safe when he tagged up and raced for third.  But Moss got it right on his third try -- RF John Bowker also flied out to left, and Moss turned it into a double play when this throw to the plate was on target and on time, allowing Kratz to tag out Friday as he tried to tag up and score from third.  

Back-to-back singles by 3B Andy Marte and 1B Matt Hague led off the 2nd inning for the Indians.  C Wyatt Toregas bounced into an around-the-horn double play, eliminating Hague at second, but allowing Marte to reach third base.  CF Gorkys Hernandez grounded to short, but he was fast enough to beat out the throw to first, earning an infield single and an RBI, as Marte scrambled home from third to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.  

Garrett Olson began his night on the mound with 4 perfect innings.  Moss broke up the (brief) no-hitter with a double to lead off the 5th inning, then was out in a double play.  RF Delwyn Young flied out to center, then Hernandez's throw in to third base allowed Marte to tag out Moss as he tried to advance to third.  

Tribe And Braves Take Duel To The 9th

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Corey Wimberly got back to first base safely this time... but was picked off moments later.








Gwinnett Braves  4,  Indianapolis Indians  0
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Another pitching duel erupted at Victory Field tonight, as the Indianapolis Indians and the Gwinnett Braves battled it out over a scoreless tie for 8 innings.  The loss dropped the Indians to below the .500 mark as they finish this home stand.  The Indians and the Braves split this 4 game series, two games each.

IMG_6063Tribe starter Garrett Olson pitched 5 hitless and scoreless innings but did not figure into the decision.  He allowed one base runner over those innings.  Braves SS Julio Lugo worked the count full then took a walk in the top of the 1st.  After Olson struck out rehabbing Atlanta Brave outfielder Jason Heyward (photo, not looking too pleased), he got 1B Mauro Gomez to ground to short to force out Julio at second base.  Olson retired the next 12 batters in order, including 4 more strikeouts.  He got some help from his fielders.  In the 5th inning, 3B Dan Nelson took a long fly ball into deep right field.  Alex Presley, playing right field for the second day in a row, headed back for the wall.  He turned one way, then the other, and finally made the over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track for the second out of the inning.  That play was followed by a nice play by SS Brian Friday on a sharp grounder off the bat of 2B Ed Lucas.  Friday went to his right for a back-hand catch, then fired over to 1B Matt Hague to end the inning.  

Olson was relieved by Chris Leroux after 5 innings.  Olson was on a 50 pitch count for his last start on June 8th -- due to working in relief in the earlier part of the season, and also having been on the Disabled List.  So, even though he was pitching a no-hitter, Olson's outing was cut short after 66 pitches (44 strikes).  Leroux continued the no-hitter with a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th.  

Indians’ Pitchers First Shut-Out Of The Season

Indianapolis Indians  1,  Buffalo Bison  0
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IMG_5539Four Indians pitchers combined to shut out the Bison at Coca Cola Park in Buffalo, NY -- the first time this season the Tribe has shut out their opponents.  The four horsemen held the Bison to just 5 hits, and that was one more hit than the Tribe batters managed.  After 7 scoreless innings, the Indians scored the only run of the game in the 8th.

The pitching duel began with Garrett Olson (photo) on the mound.  Brad Lincoln had been scheduled to make the start today, but muscle strain in his neck, present for a couple of days now, forced him to miss his start.  The possibility that today's game might have to be a bullpen game was part of the reason that manager Dean Treanor had Chris Leroux make another long (4 inning) relief appearance yesterday.  Olson, just off the Disabled List, was able to step in for the emergency start, though it was stated in advance that he would be on a limit of about 50 pitches.  Former Pirate DJ Carrasco made the start for Buffalo.  

Olson gave up just two hits, both doubles to Bison 1B Lucas Duda.  One double came in the 1st, with the line drive off the right field wall.  The second double, in the 4th, slipped past the diving 1B John Bowker.  The throw back in from RF Andrew Lambo nearly got Duda out at second, but it came in a little too far to the infield side of the second base bag.  Both times Duda was left standing on second.  Olson also walked 3B Michael Fisher in the 2nd inning, but erased him with a 6-4-3 (SS Chase d'Arnaud to 2B Shelby Ford to 1B Bowker) double play.  He struck out 3 Buffalo batters, and threw 45 pitches (29 strikes).  

The Indians also had three base runners in the early part of the game -- one in each of the first three innings -- but no hits.  LF Alex Presley was hit on the right foot by a pitch in the 1st inning.  C Eric Fryer walked with two outs in the 2nd and stole second base.  Ford reached on a fielding error by Buffalo 2B Luis Hernandez in the 3rd inning.  They too were all left on base.  

Indians Stampede Bison

Indianapolis Indians 13,  Buffalo Bison  4
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The Indianapolis Indians exploded for two big innings, as they stampeded the Buffalo Bison at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo, NY tonight.  The Tribe took advantage of 3 physical errors, plus several mental errors by the Bison, and scored their 13 runs on only 10 hits, leaving only 2 runners on base.  

IMG_5854Buffalo starter Josh Stinson faced the Indians on May 17th here in Indianapolis, and he did not have a good outing.  He allowed 4 runs in the 1st inning, one in the 3rd, and 3 more in the 5th inning, as the Indians won the game 10-1, posting 16 hits.  In that game, Stinson lasted 4.2 innings before being relieved.  

Tonight, the Indians were even less kind to Stinson.  He got through the 1st inning unscathed, allowing a single up the middle by SS Chase d'Arnaud, then removed d'Arnaud from the bases with a double play.  It was in the 2nd inning that the wheels fell off for Stinson.  1B John Bowker began the fun with a double through into right field.  3B Matt Hague reached base safely when 1B Valentino Pascucci could not handle a low throw to first base, and Bowker moved to third base.  RF Andrew Lambo bounced to Pascucci, who wanted to throw to the plate, but Pascucci hesitated and got himself set before making the throw.  The hesitation was just enough to let Bowker slide into the plate ahead of the throw, for the Indians' first run.  That left Hague and Lambo on base, and brought up C Eric Fryer.  Fryer (photo) made it a 4-0 game when he took the first pitch he saw over the left field wall on a no-doubt-about-it 3-run homer.  

CF Gorkys Hernandez followed the homer with a smash off the wall in the right-center gap, and raced all the way to third base, credited with a triple, when the Bison CF Fernando Martinez had trouble hitting his cut-off man on the throw in.  Tribe starter Justin Wilson hit his second RBI double of the season into left field, scoring Hernandez easily.  A wild pitch put Wilson on third base, and a walk to d'Arnaud gave the Indians runners on the corners.  D'Arnaud stole second base on strike three when 2B Brian Friday struck out.  LF Alex Presley walked to load the bases.  That brought up Bowker again, and Bowker's second double of the inning, going into the left-center field gap, cleared the bases to give the Indians an 8-0 lead.  That sent Stinson to the showers.  Reliever Brian Sweeney got Hague to pop out, then former Indy Indian C Raul Chavez picked Bowker off second base to end the inning.  

Indians Can’t Sweep Out Clippers

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Chase d'Arnaud slid in safely at third with a stolen base.
















Columbus Clippers  5,  Indianapolis Indians  2 
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The Indians and Clippers finally got some sunshine to play under, but the change in weather also brought a change in fortune.  The Indians' 4-game winning streak and the Clippers 4-game losing streak both came to an end, as the Clippers avoided being swept in this 4-game series at Victory Field.  

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The Indians were held to just 4 hits, and half of them came off the bat of SS Chase d'Arnaud.  The Tribe batters were not able to take advantage of 3 walks either.  D'Arnaud opened the bottom of the 1st with his first hit, a cracked-bat bloop that fell in behind second base where none of the Clippers' fielders could get to it.  D'Arnaud stole second, coming in easily under a very high throw from former Indy Indian, C Luke Carlin (photo).  2B Brian Friday popped up to second base, then LF Alex Presley walked.  With RF John Bowker at the plate, d'Arnaud and Presley pulled off a double steal, to put both runners into scoring position.  Bowker hit a dribbly little "oops" ball to the left and in front of the mound, but with d'Arnaud off and running on the pitch, by the time Columbus starter Corey Kluber got to the ball, he had no play on d'Arnaud at the plate.  Bowker was out at first, but with an RBI, and the Indians had a 1-0 lead.  1B Matt Hague walked, and the Indians again had runners on the corners, but 3B Josh Harrison struck out to end the inning.  





IMG_5588Tribe starter Brian Burres (photo) retired the Clippers in order in the top of the 1st, but got into a little jam in the 2nd.  With one out, Burres gave up a single to DH Jason Kipnis.  Kipnis's grounder glanced off the end of d'Arnaud's glove as he stretched to make the play, and the ball ended up in center field.  Burres struck out LF Jerad Head next.  Kipnis stole second base, then 1B Wes Hodges worked a walk, to put runners on first and second base.  C Jason Jaramillo ended the inning for Burres with a throw down to first base.  Hodges was so far off the base, that the throw from Jaramillo beat him by a mile (ok, by 6 feet), and Hodges didn't even bother to slide.  

The Clippers tied the score in the top of the 3rd.  Burres got one out, then worked the count full on SS Luis Valbuena before walking him.  CF Ezequiel Carrera grounded slowly to first base, where Hague was able to make the scoop and step on the bag, but Valbuena was already sliding in to second base.  Valbuena came around to score from second base on 2B Cord Phelps' grounder down the first base line, just out of reach of Hague, who tried a dive to his left but could only tick the ball as it zipped past.  




Meek’s Perfect Inning, Ciriaco’s Big Homer

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The throw from first bounced off the runner Ezequiel Carrera and skipped past 2B Pedro Ciriaco.













Indianapolis Indians  7,  Columbus Clippers  3

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Another rainy day, an another win for the Indians.

IMG_5558The Tribe waited out a 95 minute delay before the game even started, then hung on through a drizzly rainy game, to win their fourth game in a row -- their longest winning streak of the season.  They also handed the first-place Columbus Clippers their fourth loss in a row.  Justin Thomas earned his second win of the season, and 2B Pedro Ciriaco blasted a huge 3-run homer, while 3B Brian Friday went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Rudy Owens (photo) made the start for the Tribe, but ended up not being involved in the decision.  Owens pitched 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs, which came in the top of the 1st and involved a strange play.  Clippers' CF Ezequiel Carrera led off with a bunt single, which Owens could not get into his glove.   Owens made a pick-off throw to first as Carrera took off for second.  1B Matt Hague relayed the throw to second, but the ball bounced off the sliding Carrera and eluded 2B Ciriaco.  The ball skipped into left field, and Carrera advanced to third base, as Ciriaco was charged with a missed catch error.  RF Jerad Head tapped back to the mound.  Owens scooped up the ball, glared Carrera into staying put on third base, then threw to first for the out.  3B Lonnie Chisenhall was hit on the hip by a pitch to give the Clippers runners on the corners.  DH Chad Huffman slipped a grounder past a diving Hague, and Carrera scored from third base.  2B Jason Kipnis followed with a long fly ball to center field for a sacrifice fly, which scored Chisenhall for a 2-0 lead.  

The Indians came right back to score one run in the bottom of the 1st off Columbus starter Zach McAllister.  With one out, Ciriaco reached base when 3B Chisenhall made the scoop but dropped the ball on the transfer.  CF Alex Presley blooped a single into short left field, which fell in between two Columbus fielders.  Ciriaco rounded second base and got partway to third, then got hung up as the Columbus LF Josh Rodriguez had the ball and was about to throw it in.  Ciriaco got out of his poor base-running when he made a dash for third, and Rodriguez made a poor throw to third base, as Ciriaco slid in safely.  Presley moved up to second base on the throw to third.  LF John Bowker grounded to short, collecting an RBI as Ciriaco scored from third to cut the Clippers' lead to 2-1.

Indians Win Third In A Row

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Two critters on the field appreciated the weather tonight  (look above the umpire's head).







Indianapolis Indians  4,  Columbus Clippers  2
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The Indianapolis Indians won their third game in a row for the first time in the 2011 season as they beat the Clippers at Victory Field tonight.  Tonight's win was also the second in a row at home and the second in a row over the Clippers (the first win in the string was against the Durham Bulls in Durham).  It was also the third night in a row that the Indians allowed their losing opponent to rally and score in the last inning of the game, making things a little more excited than they ought to be.   

IMG_5533The weather was fit only for ducks (!), raining on and off the whole game, with the heaviest rain in the middle innings.  The game was not delayed or halted at any point, though.  

Garrett Olson (photo) made the start for the Indians.  He has been pitching in relief so far this season, and though he made a start in a "bullpen" game for the second game of a double header on April 25th, this was his first start since being officially moved to the starting rotation.  The Indians had stated that Olson would be on a pitch count of about 60, but he had thrown only 26 pitches (14 strikes) when he was lifted after 2 innings.  No word from the clubhouse as to why he left at that point.  Olson struck out the first two batters of the game, then ended the first inning with a fly out (14 pitches).  After a pop out to begin the top of the 2nd, Olson walked Columbus RF Jerad Head, but got 2B Jason Kipnis to bounce to first base, where 1B Matt Hague took one step to touch the first base bag for the out on Kipnis, then fired to second base, where SS Chase d'Arnaud tagged out Head for the reverse-force double play.  

D'Arnaud got the Indians going with a double down to the left field corner and off the wall to open the bottom of the 1st.  2B Pedro Ciriaco grounded through the hole and into left field for a single, moving d'Arnaud to third base.  CF Alex Presley grounded to second base, where Kipnis got the force out on Ciriaco and then threw to first for the double play.  D'Arnaud still scored from third on the play, but Presley did not get credit for an RBI.  The Indians didn't care about that, though -- they had a 1-0 lead.

Lambo And Bowker Help Tribe Corral Bulls

Indianapolis Indians  7,  Durham Bulls  5
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IMG_5504Home runs by RF John Bowker and DH Andrew Lambo and a triple by LF Corey Wimberly gave the Indians the offense they needed to power past the Bulls tonight.  The game was played at the old Durham Athletic Park, which is the original stadium in Durham -- the one where the old A-level team played, and where the movie "Bull Durham" was filmed.  Last season, the Bulls played one game at the old stadium, which sits about 5 blocks from their "new" stadium, Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  Everyone must have had fun, because they decided to do it again this year, and this time the Indians were the visitors who got to participate.  It was a bit awkward for the players -- they had to change clothes and do batting practice at the new stadium, then take a bus to the old stadium for the game.  After the game, they rode back to the new facility to shower up and change clothes again.  Lambo said that the players had fun at the old park, even though the dugout was a little cramped.  The teams wore "retro" uniforms for the game.

Jose Ascanio (photo) made a one-inning start for the Indians, throwing 31 pitches (20 strikes) and giving up 2 runs.  Ascanio began the inning by allowing a single to SS Ray Olmedo.  CF Justin Ruggiano reached base on a fielding error by 3B Josh Harrison.  A wild pitch by Ascanio let both runners move up a base, then a walk to LF Brandon Guyer loaded the bases with no outs.  Ascanio got a strikeout, but then RF Chris Carter lined a double into right field, bringing in both Olmedo and Ruggiano to score.  Another strikeout and a ground out got Ascanio out of the inning, though with the Indians trailing 2-0.   

Rough First Inning Sinks Wilson and Tribe

Norfolk Tides  5,  Indianapolis Indians  2
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IMG_5330Justin Wilson (photo) pitched 4 strong innings, allowing just 2 hits and a walk tonight at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia.  Unfortunately for Wilson and the Indians, those 4 innings followed a rough 1st inning, in which he gave up 3 runs on two singles and two doubles, causing Wilson to be charged with the loss.  

The Tides began the bottom of the 1st with three consecutive hits -- singles by CF Tyler Henson and former Indy Indian SS JJ Hardy.  LF Nolan Reimold doubled down the left field line and into the corner, driving in Henson and putting Hardy on third base.  After a strikeout, a passed ball skipped off C Dusty Brown's glove and all the way back to the backstop (passed ball), allowing Hardy to score.  3B Josh Bell bounced a grounder down the left field line for an RBI double, bringing in Reimold for a 3-0 lead.   

The first six Indians' batters went down in order, before RF Andrew Lambo led off the 3rd inning with a grounder that bounced right onto the first base bag, over a Tides' infielder, and down the right field line into the corner.  That put Lambo onto second base, and he moved up to third on a grounder by CF Gorkys Hernandez.  He got no further, though, as DH Corey Wimberly flied out.  

Indians Begin Road Trip With A Power Show

Indianapolis Indians  9,  Norfolk Tides   1
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IMG_5397The Indians blasted 3 home runs and 7 of their 12 hits were for extra-bases, as they blew the Tides out of the water at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia.  Starter Brian Burres (photo) on his first game of the season, allowing one run on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts, in 6.2 innings.  LF Alex Presley raised his average to .366 by going 3-for-5, and both 2B Chase d'Arnaud and 1B Matt Hague contributed 3 RBI each.  

The Tribe got the run-scoring started in the top of the 1st.  With two outs, LF Alex Presley lined a double into right field.  1B Matt Hague followed that with a 2-run homer over the left field wall, for a 2-0 lead.  

The fun continued in the 2nd inning, when C Dusty Brown led off with a walk.  After two strikeouts, a wild pitch by Norfolk starter and former Indy Indian Chris Jakubauskas moved Brown to second base.  CF Gorkys Hernandez took a walk, then d'Arnaud blasted a 3-run homer, also to left field, and the Indians were up 5-0.  

The Tribe made it 6-0 in the 3rd, on a single and a stolen base by Presley, a fly out by Hague to move him to third, and an RBI ground out by DH Jason Jaramillo.  



Brian Burres was in control for 6+ innings.  He gave up two singles in the bottom of the 1st, but a double play ended that inning without a run scoring.  Burres worked around a double in the 2nd and a walk in the 3rd.  He also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 6th, but still did not let a run score.  The only hit that Burres gave up which made a difference was a solo home run to another former Indian, SS Nick Green, in the 7th inning.

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