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Phelps’ first career homer made a winner of Tony Sipp (3-0), who recorded the final two outs in the top of the frame. Tribe starter Justin Masterson left after five innings and didn’t factor into the decision to extend his winless streak to 10 starts.
Tim Wood (0-1) suffered the loss by serving up Phelps’ winning blast.
It capped a game that featured a rain delay of nearly two hours and a duration of nearly 3 1/2 hours thanks to the two extra innings.
The two teams came out of the lengthy rain delay knotted at two apiece and it would stay that way for a while after a couple defensive gems.
Asdrubal Cabrera made a spectacular barehanded grab and throw on Brandon Woods’ chopper just at the outside edge of the infield for the second out of the 10th. Cabrera was then robbed of a possible extra-base hit in the bottom half when he blasted a shot to deep left, but Jose Tabata made a leaping catch against the wall to end the 10th.
Shin-Soo Choo had a one out single and stole second before Carlos Santana was intentionally walked. Wood then elevated a four-seam fastball to Phelps, who belted it into the seats in right-center to end the game and give the Indians their seventh win in nine games.
Meanwhile, the Pirates came into the series two games over .500 and left Cleveland with a losing record. But it wasn’t because of starting pitcher Jeff Karstens. Before the rain delay, he allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits over seven innings.
The Pirates gave him a two-run lead in the first. Xavier Paul had a one-out triple and scored on Walker’s liner to center field. Walker rounded to third on Jones’ base hit and touched home when Matt Diaz grounded into a force out.
However, The Indians squared it in the second. Santana led off with a home run to snap Karstens’ career-high 15 2/3 shutout innings streak.
The Pirates have lost 13 straight road games against the American League…The Indians improved to 6-0 in interleague play this season. It was Cleveland’s first sweep of Pittsburgh since July 2000…Cleveland fired hitting coach Jon Nunnally, replacing him with Bruce Fields on Sunday.
The Indians, who entered this weekend series in second place in the Central Division, now find themselves on Sunday morning a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers as they try to complete a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates and to move to 6-0 in interleague play.
The task won’t be easy on Sunday, as Pittsburgh will go with Jeff Karstens, who has been terrific as a starter for the Pirates. Karstens (4-4, 2.66 ERA) has not given up more than two earned runs in a game since May 3, although he has suffered what Justin Masterson — Sunday’s opponent for Karstens — has: lack of run-support.
As an example: on June 9 Karstens went seven innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up only four hits and no runs…and received no decision in a game the Pirates eventually lost, 2-0.
In his last start, on Tuesday against the Houston Astros, Karstens once again allowed no runs, but this time got the victory with 6.2 innings of three-hit ball.
Karstens has faced the Indians twice in his career, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in a span covering one start, two appearances and only 6.2 innings pitched.
Karstens began his career with the New York Yankees, but has been with Pittsburgh since the 2008 season.
Masterson (5-5, 3.16 ERA) has not won since April 26. Obviously, with the low ERA, a lot of that can not be blamed on him, but rather on pitching in bad timing and with little support.
This will be Masterson’s second appearance vs. Pittsburgh. In six previous innings, Masterson is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA against the Pirates.
After today’s game the Indians will welcome the Colorado Rockies to Cleveland on Monday night for the opener of a three-game set before embarking on the crucible of a nine-game interleague road trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Cincinnati.
It was announced today that the Indians have let hitting coach Jon Nunnally go and replaced him with minor-league hitting instructor Bruce Fields. Fields will join the team on Monday, before the Tribe takes on the Colorado Rockies.
Nunnally came to the Tribe along with manager Manny Acta before the 2010 season.
Here is the complete story, via Cleveland.com and Paul Hoynes and Dennis Manoloff.
Carlos Carrasco carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning tonight before giving up a lead-off infield single to Michael McKenry, and took a shutout into the seventh before finally giving up his first run in three starts, but improved to 7-3 on the season and won his third straight start, as the Indians, for the second night in a row, defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1.
With the win, Cleveland was assured of staying in first place, and that lead could extend to a full game, as the Colorado Rockies were ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the fifth inning at the time of writing.
The Indians wasted little time jumping ahead of Pirates’ starter Paul Maholm in this one. In the Tribe first, Grady Sizemore was hit by a pitch leading off, moved to second when Michael Brantley was retired on a tapper back to the mound, moved to third on a single to right from Asdrubal Cabrera, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left from Carlos Santana. making it 1-0 Cleveland. Shin-Soo Choo walked, moving Cabrera to second, but Orlando Cabrera lined out to end the inning.
In the second the Tribe doubled their lead. Austin Kearns singled leading off, and moved to second on a ground out. Another ground out moved Kearns to third, and Sizemore delivered in the clutch with a double to shallow right field.
Orlando Cabrera gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth after Carrasco worked out of his first trouble in the top half, when Cabrera hit his third homer of the season, on a drive to left field.
That was all for Carrasco, who gave way to Joe Smith with a man on and one out. Smith did a great job, getting out of the inning on a pair of grounders and closing the book on Carrasco, who went 6.1 innings, allowing the one run on four hits, and dropping his ERA to 3.87. Carrasco walked one and fanned four on 102 pitches.
Sizemore tripled leading off the bottom of the seventh for the Indians, and Brantley came through with a sac fly to restore the Tribe’s three-run lead at 4-1.
That was all for Maholm, who was relieved by Tony Watson. Watson gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera, who scored second. Santana struck out but Cabrera stole second and scored on a single by Choo, making it 5-1 Cleveland. Choo took second on the throw to the plate but was stranded there when Orlando Cabrera was retired for the third out.
Maholm (3-8, 3.29 ERA) gave up seven hits and four runs, walking two and striking out three.
Smith stayed on for the eighth and struck out two while retiring the side in order, as this game more and more resembled Friday’s game, when Vinnie Pestano emulated Smith’s 1.2 perfect frames tonight with 1.1 perfect innings.
Jose Veras came on for Pittsburgh in the Tribe eighth and retired the side in order.
For the second night in a row, Tony Sipp came on to finish things up. Sipp battled for two K’s and retired the side in order, and the Indians had improved to 38-31.
The Indians managed nine hits tonight, including two each from Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Kearns. It was encouraging that the Tribe managed to equal last night’s offensive output without the benefit of having Travis Hafner in the lineup.
Matt LaPorta, who injured his right ankle on Friday night in a rundown during the Indians’ game with the Pirates, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list and Travis Buck, who was just sent down on Friday when Travis Hafner was activated, is right back with the big club.
This will be Buck’s third stint of the year already with the Tribe. Thus far he is hitting .226 with two homers and eight RBI’s.
LaPorta was hitting .242 with eight long-balls and 31 RBI. His injury is being called an ankle sprain.
Carlos Carrasco, who has not been scored upon in his last two starts — both of which were 1-0 Indians’ wins — will go for three wins in a row on Saturday night at Progressive Field when he takes on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle game of a three-game interleague series.
Carrasco (6-3, 4.09 ERA) has worked 15.1 innings in his last two outings, surrendering a total of eight hits and four walks to the Twins and the Yankees while striking out 13, and has dropped his ERA over a run per game in the process.
This will be Carrasco’s first-ever appearance against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh will send Paul Maholm to the hill. Maholm (3-7, but with a nice 3.12 ERA) has faced the Tribe twice in his career. In two starts, covering 12 innings, Maholm has given up eleven hits and five walks to go with five runs and 12 K’s, and has a 3.75 ERA against Cleveland.
Maholm shut out the New York Mets through seven innings in his last start and got the win in a 3-1 Pirates’ win. In the game before that Maholm allowed only one hit in six innings against the Diamondbacks but received no decision in a 3-2 Pittsburgh triumph.
As of this writing there is no update on the status of the Indians’ Matt LaPorta, who injured his ankle on Friday night in a rundown between second and third base. When an update becomes available, we will let you know.
The Indians climbed back into first place with their 5-1 win on Friday and Detroit’s loss to the Colorado Rockies. The Tigers will be in action in Denver about an hour after the Tribe and Pirates get underway at 7:05.
The third and final game of this series will be on Sunday at 1:05, before the Rockies come to Cleveland for three games, starting Monday.
The Indians welcomed back Travis Hafner in a big way tonight, and Travis got in on the action himself, as Josh Tomlin bounced back with a strong start, the bullpen did its job, Carlos Santana homered, and it all added up to a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, which improved Cleveland to 4-0 in interleague play this year.
Tomlin (8-4, 3.93 ERA) lasted 6.2 innings and gave up only one run on six hits, walking none and fanning five. Then, in the seventh, Vinnie Pestano came on in a tight spot and got the third out, then pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two in his inning and a third, before Tony Sipp ended the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Tribe got on the board first in the third. Matt LaPorta reached on an error by second-baseman Neil Walker, with LaPorta taking second on the play. Then Orlando Cabrera grounded into a fielder’s choice, with LaPorta being caught in a rundown and retired, but not before injuring his lower right leg on the play when the spikes on his right shoe seemed to catch between second and third. and not returning to the game after being helped off the field.
With one out, Jack Hannahan sent Cabrera to third with a single, and Grady Sizemore loaded the bases by drawing a walk off of Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia. Correia (8-6, 3.60 ERA) retired Michael Brantley on a good play by third baseman Josh Harrison on a line drive, but then balked in Cabrera for the first run of the game.
The Indians added a run in the bottom of the fourth when Carlos Santana blasted his eighth homer of the season to right center, making it 2-0. Santana went on to go 3-for-4 and drive in two in a very promising game.
Pittsburgh got on the board in the sixth on an RBI single by Xavier Paul, and it stayed at 2-1 Tribe until the bottom of the eighth, when Cleveland basically put the game away.
But first the Indians squandered a chance in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two outs, chasing Correia in the process, before Adam Everett was retired to leave it at a one-run game.
The Pirates bunched two singles in the seventh to end the night for Tomlin with two outs, before Pestano came on and struck out Michael McKenry.
Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera singled before Hafner hit a blast to right that deflected off the glove of Paul and hit the yellow line at the top of the wall for a double — which was reviewed and stood. Brantley scored and Cabrera stopped at third after seeming to think that the drive was a homer.
Cord Phelps ran for Hafner and Tim Wood came on for Pittsburgh. After intentionally walking Shin-Soo Choo, Wood gave up a single to Santana for Carlos’s second RBI of the night. Wood retired the next three, but not without Orlando Cabrera plating the third run of the inning and the final run of the night with a sacrifice fly to score Phelps.
At the time of this writing, the Colorado Rockies lead the Detroit Tigers 13-5 in the sixth inning in Denver, so unless something drastic happens and Detroit rallies mightily, the Indians will once again find themselves ahead of the Tigers by a percentage point and back in first place in the AL Central.
Travis Hafner has been activated from the disabled list and will be in the lineup on Friday night when the Indians take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field.
The story via Cleveland.com's Dennis Manoloff says that Travis Buck has been demoted to Columbus.
Hafner, who will bat cleanup on Friday, is hitting .345 with eight doubles, five homers and 22 RBI so far in 2011. He went on the DL on May 20.
Buck has hit .226 for the Tribe during his two different times with the Tribe this season.
The Pirates are enjoying what is, for them, a successful season so far. At 35-33 the Pirates are only fourth in the NL Central, but Pittsburgh trails the first-place Milwaukee Brewers by only three games, and have won seven of their last ten games, including four in a row.
Cleveland, meanwhile, comes in at 36-31, a game behind the Detroit Tigers and in second place in the AL Central.
Pittsburgh -- which is 20-15 on the road so far in 2011 -- will send Kevin Correia (8-5, 3.73 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. Correia lost his last start, against the New York Mets on Sunday. In 89.1 innings, Correia has allowed 90 hits and 19 walks, while striking out 41 and giving up nine home runs. On the road Correia is 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA -- sounds like a tough customer for the Tribe to face on Friday.
This will be Correia's first-ever outing against Cleveland.
The Indians will send Josh Tomlin, who will be trying to break a personal two-game slide and a four-game stretch of shaky starts. Tomlin (7-4, 4.14 ERA) was 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA after beating Cincinnati on May 21, but since then has gone 1-3, and has been touched for 22 runs in 23 innings over that four-start span since beating the Reds. In his last outing, Tomlin lost to the Yankees in New York on Sunday, lasting only five innings and allowing six runs on ten hits to the Bronx Bombers.
This will be Tomlin's first appearance vs. Pittsburgh.
The Pirates are only 26th in the Majors in hitting, at .240. Pittsburgh is led offensively by Andrew McCutchen at .290. McCutchen also leads in homers with ten, while Neil Walker is the team leader with 45 RBI.
It is the pitching which has contributed to the Pirates' good beginning to the 2011 season. Pittsburgh comes in with a team ERA of 3.48, good for fourth in the bigs, although of course that number is skewed a bit by playing in the National League, where pitchers also bat.
Even so, Pittsburgh will be a formidable opponent and the Tribe needs to find their "A" game to make a good weekend of it.
Cleveland has dropped to 19th offensively in the Majors with a .250 team batting average. Asdrubal Cabrera leads in average among players expected to play this weekend at .295. Asdrubal also leads in homers with 12, and with RBI with 43.
Pitching-wise, the Indians are 20th in the bigs with an ERA of 4.03.
The Indians are only 12-15 all-time against Pittsburgh, which has not had a winning season since 1992. The Pirates have not been as close as three games from first-place this late in a campaign since 1997.
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