Indians Lose Finale, Look Forward to 2012; Tigers 5, Indians 4
By Matt Van Wormer
The greatest moment on the final night of the season had nothing to do with what took place between the lines. Manny Acta was ejected in the middle of the first inning for “arguing balls and strikes.” In reality, what he did was make sure that his Bench Coach, Tim Tolman, got a chance to manage a big league game.
Tolman suffers from Parkinson’s disease and will take a front office job with the Tribe in 2012. The rigors of the road have become too much for him. It was a class act by the man who is the best man for the job as Indians skipper. Acta and Home Plate ump, Dan Bellino, were all smiles during their “confrontation” that ended Acta’s night early.
Once the game got going, the Indians took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning on an Ezequial Carrera RBI triple, a Jack Hannahan single and an error by the Tigers that let a run score. The first Tigers run was also scored on an error when Carrera misplayed a ball hit to him which added two bases to a single by Delmon Young. He would score on a Victor Martinez single.
Zach McAllister pitched five strong innings, giving up just the single, unearned run but the bullpen was not able to hold the lead for him for the second straight start. Joe Smith had an uncharacteristic outing which saw the first three Tigers hitters single which brought in the second Detroit run. The tying run would also come off of Smith in the form of a sacrifice fly by Jhonny Peralta. It wasn’t the last time Peralta would hurt his former club.
After wasting a leadoff double in the seventh inning, and letting the Tigers take the lead in the bottom half, Travis Hafner laced a one out double followed by walks to Carlos Santana and Shelley Duncan. Hannahan then delivered again with a sacrifice fly, scoring Cord Phelps who pinch ran for Hafner.
Vinnie Pestano came in to work the eighth and Peralta was the leadoff hitter. On the very first pitch Pestano threw, Peralta hit a home run that just got over the top of the wall in left field to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Jose Valverde struck out Jim Thome and Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth as part of his 49th save on the year in as many chances.
While the Indians didn’t hit the .500 mark, they did back into second place in the Central Division when the White Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the day. In just 189 days, the Indians will start the 2012 campaign which they hope will be another step towards the championship that has eluded the team since 1948. Stick with DTTWLN? all off-season long as we will keep up with all the news that takes place with the Tribe in the off season.
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images