By Brendan Ward
Nine innings were not enough for the Cleveland Indians to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. After a shorter outing from both starters, the bullpens picked up their respective team’s, pitching a stalemate after the Indians and Pirates traded blows through the first five innings on offense.
In the top of the tenth, Carlos Santana hit a shot to left field that sailed just over the foul pole to give the Indians a 6-3 win after Brad Hand got the save to end it later that inning.
The Indians went down in order to start the game, however the Pirates were able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the first.
With nobody on and one out in the inning, shortstop Kevin Newman lined a double off of Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco to left field. After a Josh Bell ground-out advanced Newman to third, Colin Moran was able to bring him home thanks to an RBI single grounded to right field.
Neither team mounted any offense in the second inning, before the Indians put together a three-run top of the third. César Hernández opened the third with a lead-off double to center field that put himself in scoring position and had the Tribe threatening with zero outs.
José Ramírez drew a walk in the next at-bat that also saw a wild pitch by Pirates’ starter JT Brubaker, sending Hernández to third. After a Francisco Lindor walk loaded the bases, Carlos Santana sent a single to center field that scored both Ramírez and Hernández to give the club a one-run lead.
Brubaker was able to get the next three batters out to end the inning, but not before a sacrifice fly off the bat of slugger Franmil Reyes scored Lindor from third.
Both offenses went stagnant in the fourth, before the Pirates brought home two runs in the fifth to tie the game. Starting the inning with a strikeout, Carrasco seemed to be settling in on the mound.
However the next at-bat started a string of offense for the Pirates, an Adam Frazier single followed by a Newman walk and a wild pitch put runners on the corners with only one out in the inning.
With the Pirates threatening, Bell came up to bat, and sent the second pitch he saw to right field for a two RBI double that tied the game at three.
Giving up the lead in the fifth, Carrasco ended his outing only going four full innings and giving up three runs, being replaced by Oliver Perez with only one out in the fifth.
Perez got the final two outs of the fifth on strikeouts before coming out in the sixth for the first out of the inning, a ground out to Gregory Polanco. Skipper Sandy Alomar Jr. then decided to hand the ball off to Cam Hill, who immediately got two fly outs to end the inning and his outing.
The seventh had some noteworthy moments, despite neither team manufacturing any runs. After a Delino Deshields Jr. single, Hernández grounded into a force out that got Deshields Jr. out at two, beating out the throw at first to nullify the double play.
During the next at-bat, a balk sent Hernández to second, and catcher Jacob Stallings incurred an error on a dropped foul ball. To no avail, as Ramírez struck out swinging, followed by a Lindor fly out to end the inning.
After James Karinchak put the Pirates down in order in the eight inning, the Pirates came back in the ninth to threaten his replacement Nick Wittgren in the bottom of the inning.
A Jarrod Dyson single followed by a Stallings sacrifice bunt that put Dyson on second and himself on first after the Indians failed to get any outs trying to turn two after Wittgren went to second with the initial throw.
However, catcher Roberto Pérez, who was in his first game back from injury, was able to pick Dyson off at second thanks to Lindor blocking the bag on the throw. Another Newman single once again had the Pirates in scoring position one batter later, before Bell struck out swinging to send the game to extra innings.
Per the new rule, the Indians started the inning out with Hernández on second base, before Ramírez struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Lindor, the next batter, got to first after being hit by a pitch from Pirates’ reliever Sam Howard.
Carlos Santana, who has been known more for walking than slugging this year, blasted a three-run home run that barely made it inside of the foul pole in left field. The umpires did review the play and confirmed that it was indeed a home run.
Thanks to the three-run shot off the bat of Carlos Santana, the Indians now had a three run lead heading to the bottom of the tenth. Hand came in for Wittgren to close out the game.
Facing four batters in the inning, only allowing a single to Bryan Reynolds that put runners at the corners, before striking out the final two batters of the game to propel the Indians to a win in game one of the series in Pittsburgh.
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