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Strange 9th pushes game into extras, Indians prevail

Luckily for the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball game is a 9 inning affair.

If I just believe it...
If I just believe it...
Scott Halleran

Game 152: Indians 2, Astros 1

Box Score

Tribe improves to 79-73

For 8 innings, this was a pitchers duel. And the Indians were on the wrong side of it. Danny Salazar, though paling in comparison to the last two starting pitching performances, was excellent. He went 7 and 1/3, struck out 9 and only allowed one run. That lone run by the Astros would come in the 4th after Dexter Fowler led off with a single. A throwing miscue by Yan Gomes put him in scoring position for Jake Marisnick to drive him in.

The Indians offense couldn't solve Scott Feldman. In innings 1-8 he gave up 3 hits while only striking out two batters. Two! Things would change in the 9th, however, in the strangest of ways.

Michael Bourn led off the 9th with a drive to the gap in left center. It was a sure-fire double, possibly a triple, but it hit and disappeared behind a padded outcropping in the wall. At that point, the Houston outfielders threw their hands up to signal the ball getting stuck behind the wall. But Michael Bourn kept on running. Then, without reason, the ball reappeared on the warning track. But, still, Bourn kept running, until he reached home. The esteemed and revered Angel Herenandez ran out to see the ball for himself and concluded that it was in play and, initially, ruled an inside the park home run. The play would be reviewed and, rightly, found to be a ground-rule double (Yes, that's right, a ground-rule double. Not an automatic double, incorrectly classified.).

Some hemming and hawing ensued but the New York umpires ultimately were right. It seemed like bad news for the anemic offense that the Indians are sporting these days, but they soldiered on with Bourn standing at 2nd. You know what happens next - Jose Ramirez laid down a bunt. But wait! He was initially called out by Larry Vanover but a challenge found him to be safe, the second time a review took place for a Jose Ramirez hit in the game. Larry Vanover owes Jose Ramirez an apology.

The Indians then had runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs. Things looked good with Michael Brantley at the plate, but Dr. Smooth hit a ball sharply to 1st and Jon Singleton caught Bourn too far off third base. He threw behind him and Bourn took off for home where he was tagged out. Now we had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. How very typical. Carlos Santana would not let us despair for long, however, lining a 3-1 pitch to right for a single, tying the game. The rest of the side would go quietly.

Innings 9-12 were largely uneventful for both sides. After a smattering of hits and several bullpen changes we found our way to the 13th, two rally beers deep. With one out, Jose Ramirez slapped a ball to the left field corner for a double. Walks to Brantley (intentional) and Santana brought Mike Aviles to the plate, replacing Jason Kipnis who left the game early. But, since this game was anything other than typical, Mike Aviles tried his hand at playing the hero, slapping a fly ball to right field that was caught. Ramirez took the risk and took off for home after Marisnick caught it. Luckily, he unleashed a terrible throw to the first base side of the plate and the Indians took the lead.

Cody Allen would come on to close out the game, picking up two strikeouts in the process. All told, the game went 13 innings, saw 14 pitchers, 5 pinch-hitters, 2 pinch-runners and 1 defensive replacement. But, most importantly, the Indians won. And they're still alive.

Win Expectancy Chart:

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call:

Game Thread 1
Game Thread 2

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