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Game 133: Indians 4, Athletics 3 (16 Innings)

It took a very long time, but the Indians managed to stay 5.5 games back.
It took a very long time, but the Indians managed to stay 5.5 games back.

The Indians kept their dim playoff hopes alive thanks to another amazing effort from the bullpen.

Ubaldo Jimenez had a strange outing. He started very poorly, and had he been facing a better lineup, he might have been chased in the second or third inning. He gave up a lot of line drives that fortunately were hit right at a defender. But after he gave up a solo home run to Kurt Suzuki, he retired seven out of the last eight batters he faced, six of them via strikeout. His final line looks rather decent, though it's more an average of two wildly different stretches of pitching.

As in recent games, the offense was driven by Jack Hannahan and Kosuke Fukudome, though Ezequiel Carrera helped out at the beginning. Carrera tripled over Ryan Sweeney's head to begin the bottom of the first, and Fukudome drove him home to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Jack Hannahan gave the Indians the lead again when he hit a solo home run in the second. Oakland tied the game at 2 in the third inning on Brandon Allen's single, and took the lead on Suzuki's homer. But Hannahan hit a second home in the sixth that hit the foul pole in right, and tied the game once again.

That's where the score would stay for a long time. Oakland would use seven relievers, and the Indians would use five. Chad Durbin and Frank Herrmann combined to throw 6 shutout innings, reminiscent of they did in the 15-inning game in Chicago.

Finally, the Indians would break through in the 16th inning. With one out, Jim Thome singled to left. Cord Phelps pinch ran for him, and Phelps would go to second on Carlos Santana's single. Then Jack Hannahan singled through the left side, and Phelps was sent home despite right fielder David DeJesus having the ball before he had touched third base. But the throw was high, and Phelps was able to slide just under the tag to score the winning run.

The midges, famous for unraveling Joba Chamberlain in the 2007 ALDS, made their return, bothering everyone on the field, though in this case, there were no wild pitches thrown.