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Cleveland Indians

Tribe falls to Angels in 11 innings

By Sheldon Published: May 7, 2011

ANAHEIM, CALIF.: How many good pitchers make their living on the West Coast? [ep

Too many, as far as the Indians are concerned. The Tribe ran into three inscrutable starters in a three-day visit to Oakland, and the pressure didn't lessen when the team showed up in Anaheim for the first of three games against the Angels Friday night. [ep

As in each game against the Athletics, this was a grind-it-out slog through the mud with the triumphant team playing the survivor as much as the winner. [ep

In this case, the starters were long gone by the time the Angels eked out a 2-1 win in 11 innings at Angels Stadium. [ep

Justin Germano, who hadn't pitched in a week, started the 11th and gave up a leadoff bloop single to Erick Aybar. In quick successon, Bobby Abreu and Maicer Izturis singled to load the bases for Torii Hunter, who delivered the game-winning hit. [ep

""You can't expect Germano to blow away everybody,'' said manager Manny Acta, referring to Germano's long layoff. ""It's tough to ask him to go through the heart of their lineup.'' [ep

But Germano refused to use rustiness as an excuse. [ep

""I guess it could (make a difference),'' he said. ""But I don't think that came into play tonight. I threw off the mound yesterday, so I don't think that had anything to do with it.'' [ep

The featured pitching matchup pitted Justin Masterson against Tyler Chatwood. [ep

Chatwood's numbers -- a 2-1 record and 4.94 earned-run average coming in -- are less impressive than watching him throw 94 mile-per-hour fastball. But the reason his ERA went into balloon mode was because of one poor outing, his last, against the Rays, to whom he yielded five runs in four innings. [ep

The Indians could do little with Chatwood, and if he hadn't hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch leading off the fourth inning, he would have yielded no runs. [ep

But after Cabrera took his base and Shin-Soo Choo struck out, Carlos Santana skidded a grounds ball just out of the reach of second baseman Izturis and into center field to put runners on first and third. [ep

Travis Hafner followed with a high bouncer that finally landed in the glove of first baseman Howie Kendrick, who ran to the bag for the out. He knew by the time the ball landed in his glove he would have no chance to cut down Cabrera at the plate. [ep

""Chatwood was very aggressive,'' Acta said. ""He went after our guys, and when he didn't walk them, he got them out.'' [ep

One run was the extent of the damage done to Chatwood, who gave up only one other hit in eight innings, a ringing double by Santana with two outs in the sixth. He walked five, one intentionally, but that was no consolation to the Tribe, which failed to produce a timely hit. [ep
""I know this might sound funny,'' Acta said, """but we swung the bats pretty well tonight. We squared up some balls, especially to center.'' [ep

Three drives to center -- definitely the wrong place to hit the ball -- were caught, and Alexi Amarista made a super catch of Choo's line drive to left in the eighth. Angels infielders also robbed the Tribe of two hits. [ep

""Our guys were crushing balls,'' Masterson said. ""If the game was based on hard-hit balls, we're winning. We couldn't hit a bloop. We couldn't get one to fall in.'' [ep

In the past four games, the starters who facing the Indians have compiled a 1.48 ERA yet the Tribe has managed a split. Over that span, Cleveland has delivered only two extra-base hits and no home runs (against the starters and relievers). [ep

""If your expectation is to win, you have to do it,'' said Acta, referring to the challenge of facing superior starters. ""Our kids are up to the challenge We went to Oakland and won the series.'' [ep

How have the Indians won two on the West Coast? They've sent to the mound some lethal starters of their own. Friday night it was Masterson, who pitched seven strong inings, allowing one run, nine hits but no walks. [ep

An explanation is in order on those nine hits. Five never left the infield. One was a bunt single and another was a ground ball that struck a baserunner, which by rule must be scored a single. Had Kendrick's bouncer not hit Alberto Callaspo, trying to advance to second, it probably would have been turned into a double play. [ep

But the Angels did get to Masterson for one run in the sixth, when Abreu led off with a single and scored on Izturis' double to the gap in right. Choo made certain the rally would go no further, when he threw out Izturis trying to advance to third on Hunter's fly to right. It was Choo's fifth assist of the season, and he went into the game tied for second in the league. [ep

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