I have a new favorite shortstop: top of the 9th, 2 out and us down by two Aaron Hill hits a ground ball at Indian shortstop Luis Valbuena and he booted it. Literally. Extending the game so that Adam Lind could hit a game winning, opposite field homer.
It was great for Lind to be the hero. He came out of a short slump in a big way. In the fourth Adam got his first hit of the month, just after hitting a ball that had the length to be a homer, but was just foul. It would be nice if he got hot and carried the team for a bit.
We had 11 hits on the day and a number of chances to score, but we hit into 3 double plays, two by Overbay. Fred Lewis (who fits in great as a lead off hitter) had 3 hits, Lind 2 and every other starter had one except for Aaron Hill. Hill didn't look good at the plate, striking out twice. Travis Snider got his batting average above .200 with a single his first time up, but went 0 for 3 after that to drop back to .195. One of those 3 outs was what looked like a sure home run that Shin-Soo Choo pulled back into the park. A great catch. Just about the only decent defensive play the Indians made all day.
Brandon Morrow started off the game throwing smoke. He struck out 5 in the first 2 innings. But his pitch count went up fast. He ended up giving up 6 hits, 4 walks, 3 earned while striking out 9 in 5.1 inning. It could have been a lot worse. He left the game with 1 out and the bases loaded in the 6th but Shawn Camp got the double play ball to bail him out. Rommie Lewis came in and pitched a perfect 7th. In the 8th he got 2 quick outs, then gave up a single and a double to give the Indians, what was then, a big insurance run.
Jason Frasor came in and got the last out of the inning and pitched a scoreless 9th. Course, being Frasor, he gave up two out an opposite field double high off the wall to Choo that got our heart rates up. Mike McCoy (playing 3rd after coming in as a pinch runner) made a great play on a soft hit grounder to help Jason out.
I have to show the fangraph (even though Johnny put it up in the game thread), it is a thing of beauty:
Jays of the Day are Lind (.650 WPA), Frasor (.216)Fred Lewis (.164), Molina (.154) and Camp (.132). Suckage Jays are Morrow (-.222), Hill (-.176) and Overbay (-.109). Gonzalez (-.096) and Bautista (-.093) are on the borderline.
The game had everything, including a good chance to question Cito. In the 7th with one out and us down a run, Jose Molina walked. A good moment to put in a pinch runner? Maybe. After Fred Lewis doubled, a hit that would have driven in any runner with any speed at all, it looked like a very poor decision. Even worse when Hill struck out and Lind popped out with the tying run at third. I thought, at the time, that Cito may have had a reason not to want Buck to come in to catch. Perhaps soreness or a minor injury.
But then in the 9th, with 1 out, Buck pinch hit for Molina. So I really don't understand why you wouldn't pinch run for Molina. Add in that McCoy pinch ran for Overbay in the 8th (Overbay is slow but not Molina slow) it is a hard one to figure out. I'm not sure why you would pinch hit with Buck and not Ruiz, but that is another discussion.
Update: a Thwip from John Lott explains things a bit:
Gaston says he didn't pinch-run for Molina in 7th b/c team was a man short; Ruiz has been away for 2 days on a personal matter.
Cito also made another interesting move. After putting McCoy in as a pinch runner for Overbay, Cito put McCoy at third base and moved Bautista to first. I expected Ruiz to come in to play first or perhaps McCoy to play first. But the move worked out when McCoy made a great play on the last out of the game. I don't know if Bautista would have had the speed to make that play.
Anyway, we won, so all is forgiven. And it is our second sweep of the season. A great game to watch. We might not win a lot of games this year but we are fun to watch.