AZL Indians fight valiantly, but fall 9-8 in extra innings
GOODYEAR – A few pitching hiccups at the beginning and end of the AZL Indians’ game proved to be costly, as the Indians fell to the Brewers 9-8 in extra innings Wednesday night at Goodyear Ballpark, and extended the Indians’ losing streak to three games.
Indians starting pitcher Mitch Brown had a rocky start, allowing the first four batters of the game reach base, allowing a walk, two singles and a two-run triple, before making an out.
The top of the second looked like it could be more of the same, as Brown saw himself in another jam, with runners on second and third with two outs, but got Brewers centerfielder Brandon Diaz to ground out to Indians shortstopIvan Castillo to end the threat.
Brown found himself in another jam in the third, surrendering a double and a walk consecutively to the first two batters of the inning, and throwing a wild pitch to top it all off. Brewers left fielder Eric Williams grounded into a 6-4-3 double play stopped the bleeding, but Williams would be the last batter Brown would face all night.
Extra base hits proved to be a thorn in the side of Brown, as he allowed one in each of the three innings that he pitched. He was touched up by the Brewers for five hits and three runs, all of which were earned. He also allowed three walks and struck out three.
Anderson Polanco, who came on in relief of Brown, was lights out. He struck out the side in his first inning of relief, which added to his total of five K’s in his four innings of relief.
Ramon Rodriguez came in after Polanco, and was the complete opposite of what the Brewers had seen in the previous four innings. He allowed one run in the top of the eighth inning and the ninth was when Rodriguez completely fell apart.
After walking the first two batters, Brewers second baseman Francisco Castillo advanced to second on a throwing error by Rodriguez, while a runner scored from third. The next batter, Brandon Diaz struck out, but the third strike was a wild pitch that got another runner home and put runners at the corners. Jose Zapata came in to pitch, and promptly gave up a single to Tucker Neuhaus that allowed Castillo to score, a run which was charged to Rodriguez. Diaz scored on a sacrifice double play to end the inning.
The Tribe bats got off to a relatively quiet start. Clint Frazier singled home the Indians only run through the first five innings, where Joel Mejia scored all the way from second on the red-headed, $3.5 million dollar man’s single to center field.
The last four innings of regulation were where the Indians bats came alive, scoring two runs in three of the last four innings. Clutch hits and heads-up base running kept the Indians in the game.
Joel Mejia got the four-inning rally started in the sixth with a lead-off double. The next batter, Frazier, grounded out, but advanced Mejia to third. Ivan Castillo hit an RBI single to left field and then got himself into scoring position by stealing second base. He then came home on a very clutch two-out single by catcher Shane Rowland.
Errors were the Indians friend in the bottom of the seventh. They scored two runs off the two errors that were committed in the inning. Grant Fink scored in the eighth by a double to center field by Victor Cabral.
Down by two in the bottom of the ninth, Mejia and Frazier both singled to start off the inning. Mejia scored when Brewers centerfielder Brandon Diaz misplayed Frazier’s single that was hit to him. Frazier scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Hernandez.
The Tribe brought on Jeffry Cleto to try and shut down the Brewers in the top of the 12th. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: walks will come around to haunt a team, especially in the later innings. Cleto ended up walking the bases loaded and walking in a run, which ended up being the winning run.
The Indians tried to match some of their late-inning magic, but couldn’t muster up enough offense to extend the game. They went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 12th to end the game.
The Indians will host the AZL Padres on Thursday at Goodyear Ballpark at 7:00 PM MST.