After playing their third extra inning contest in four days, I’m starting to believe the Indians are a bunch of adrenaline junkies who enjoy their backs against the wall on a regular basis. That said, before I dive into today’s extra inning affair, I want to quickly introduce myself. My name is Alex and I am interning with It’s Pronounced Lajaway for the summer. I recently finished my first year at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where I am majoring in Spanish and minoring in vocal performance. At Denison, I am the tech director of the student radio station, 91.1 FM WDUB, where I also host a weekly sports talk show on Saturday nights. I have also broadcasted and statted a lot of Big Red sporting events and written for denisonbigred.com. For three years, I have written for my own website, neuroticsportsfan.com, though hacks and server issues have temporarily shuttered the site. You can follow me on twitter @NSF_Alex. Regardless of how the Indians fare this summer, I know I will have a lot of fun writing for It’s Pronounced Lajaway.
The Tribe scored first courtesy of a solo shot from Ryan Raburn in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning as Michael Bourn hit a check swing single down the third base line that barely stayed fair. Michael Brantley scored Bourn on a triple just two batters later. Dr. Smooth touched home on a wild pitch by Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen.
Indians starter Justin Masterson benefitted from some double plays early on, holding the Orioles scoreless for 5 1/3 innings. Then the typical Indians fielding miscues reappeared, allowing the O’s to post a five spot in the sixth. Masty was relieved by new call-up Mark Lowe after allowing five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched.
In the top of the seventh, the Indians tagged Chen for two more runs on a David Murphy groundout and Mike Aviles single, tying the score at 5 going into the seventh inning stretch. The left side of the Indians infield stretched out their right arms too much as both Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana made errant throws in the bottom of the inning. These two Tribe errors allowed the Orioles to take a 6-5 lead.
Lonnie Chisenhall continued to do the impossible, this time hitting a pinch hit solo shot off of Darren O’Day. It continues to amaze me that he is still hitting .376 almost two months into the season, and that he’s doing so in Cleveland and not Columbus. Lonnie’s homer tied the score at six, a mark that would stand for a few more innings.
After combining for nine runs between the bottom of the sixth and top of the eighth, both teams forgot how to string hits together. After winning in 13 innings yesterday, the Tribe decided to make 13 their lucky number once again, breaking the 6-6 tie with 2 outs in the 13th inning. The Tribe loaded the bases on a Brantley single followed by a Chisenhall “bunt” single and a Nick Swisher walk. Lonnie’s bunt single needs to be noted because the ball almost made it to the outfield, stretching the use of the term bunt because the ball was hit so hard! After Yan Gomes flew out, Carlos Santana made up for his earlier throwing error with a 2-run double down the third base line off of Troy Patton. Santana’s late inning heroics gave the Indians an 8-6 lead.
Scott Atchison played closer tonight, picking up his first save of the season in the bottom of the 13th. Atchison channeled former Tribe closers Chris Perez and Joe Borowski when he allowed a solo home run to Nick Markakis. That was his only miscue in the inning, as the righty got Jonathan Schoop to fly out to center and Adam Jones to fly out to left, officially closing the door on another lengthy contest. Josh Outman improved to 4-0 with the win tonight while Troy Patton fell to 0-1.
Tonight’s win marks four in a row for the fighting Franconas, tying their longest streak of the season. Tonight was also the first time the Indians played back-to-back 13-plus inning affairs since June 20-21, 2003, when the Tribe fell to the Pirates in two 15 inning games. Over the last two days, the bullpen has pitched 18 1/3 innings and thrown a total of 321 pitches, allowing just five earned runs. That is good for a 2.45 ERA, but also a lot of tired arms. Tomorrow’s starter, TJ House, is going to have to pitch until his arm falls off. With so few bullpen arms left, it wouldn’t shock me if Ryan Raburn has to dust off his pitching arm and provide some relief tomorrow night. After seeing the postgame handshake line and the energy level of all the players out there, I feel bad for Nick Swisher’s roommate tonight.