The Indians beat the odds by winning this one. If you told me going into the game that Frank Herrmann and Chad Durbin would combine for 3.2 innings pitched, I would have assumed the Indians were either winning by a lot or losing by a lot. If you told me that Durbin's outing came in the eighth inning in relief of Tony Sipp, I would have assumed that Sipp was just getting some work in. If you told me that Durbin came in for Tony Sipp in the eighth inning with the game on the line, I wouldn't have believed you. An if you finally convinced me that Durbin actually did pitch the eighth with the game on the line, I would have assumed that the Indians lost the game.
The fun started when Fausto Carmona flew head over heels running down the line after laying down a bunt in the top of the third inning. Carmona would be safe, as the play went to second base, but he would leave the game due to a strained right quadriceps. For now he's not going to be put on the Disabled List, but that could change after he's evaluated again on Sunday. But regardless of Carmona's future, the Indians had to deal with his absence so early from today's game. The Indians had a well-rested bullpen thanks to an off-day on Thursday and Justin Masterson's eight-inning outing on Friday, but Chris Perez was away from the team, meaning that the back end of the bullpen would have to play a large part in holding a 3-0 lead. For after Carmona left, Michael Brantley hit a three-run home run to give the Indians their only offense of the game.
Frank Herrmann was first into the game. Herrmann hadn't pitched in a game since June 20th, and Manny Acta was hoping to get at least two innings from him. Herrmann rose to the challenge, and threw three scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing just one hit. Herrmann used his slider in tandem with his mid-90s fastball to go the Cincinnati lineup; if he can control that pitch, that makes him a much more valuable reliever.
After Herrmann got the Indians through five innings, Acta went with his regulars, starting with Rafael Perez. The plan was to use Raffy for the sixth, Joe Smith for the seventh, Sipp for the eighth, and Pestano to pitch the ninth. And for the most part, things went according to that plan. Except for the eighth. Sipp gave up a home run to Joey Votto, then allowed a doubleto Scott Rolen. After he walked Johnny Gomes to put the tying run on base, Acta had no choice but to bring in Durbin to end the threat. Well, Josh Judy and Pestano were still out there, but this would have been Judy's MLB debut, and Pestano hadn't gotten five outs in a game all season. So Durbin it was. Yesterday Chad pitched for the first time in ten days, and allowed a home run in one of work. But today, he foiled the threat, retiring Ryan Hanigan and striking out Chris Heisey.
The Reds would get the tying run on base in the ninth inning as well. Joey Votto singled with two outs in the inning, bringing up Scott Rolen with runners on first and third. But Pestano, who had been wild to begin the inning, struck out Rolen to end the game and complete an improbable run of relief pitching.