Angels Ruin Roberto’s Return; Angels 8, Indians 4
By Christian Petrila
Roberto Hernandez made his 2012 debut for the Indians on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Unfortunately for him and the Indians, the Angels didn’t welcome him as kindly, and took the series finale, 8-4.
After Hernandez encouraged fans with a 1-2-3 first inning, the optimism went down the drain in the second. The frame began with back-to-back singles from Kendry Morales and Mark Trumbo. They each advanced 90 feet after a wild pitch from Hernandez. Alberto Callaspo singled to left to drive in Morales. The next batter, Vernon Wells, was safe when a potential double-play ball was booted by Brent Lillibridge. Trumbo scored and it was 2-0 Angels.
The comedy of errors continued on the next play when Maicer Izturis dropped a bunt down the first base line. Hernandez and Carlos Santana couldn’t get on the same page and let the bunt go for an infield single. Chris Iannetta then hit a sacrifice fly to center. Mike Trout was next, and he grounded into a fielder’s choice to short, beating out the return throw to first. The inning hit rock bottom when Trout went to steal second. Santana’s throw was nowhere close and Wells scored. On the throw home (which went to the backstop), Trout was able to advance to third. Erick Aybar tripled into the right field corner to score Trout, The nightmare inning finally ended when Torii Hunter popped out to second.
The third inning wasn’t a whole lot better for Hernandez. Kendrys Morales led off with an infield single to third. Trumbo flew out, but then Callaspo singled to move Morales to third. Wells grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice, and was then thrown out trying to steal second. After three, the Angels led 6-0.
It was 7-0 after the fourth, when Trout socked a home run into the Indians bullpen in left field.
Any hopes Ervin Santana had of shutting out the Indians were dashed in the sixth. After a leadoff single from Ezequiel Carrera, Jason Kipnis moved him to second with a groundout. Asdrubal Cabrera drove him in with a double down the right field line. Cabrera wouldn’t score, as Shin Soo Choo and Santana each grounded out to retire the side.
The Angels got another solo shot in the sixth when Chris Iannetta – hitting below .220 on the season – hit his sixth homer on the season. Score after six: 8-1 Angels.
Hernandez got out of the sixth, but the damage was done. His final line: six innings, eight runs (five earned), 10 hits, no walks and no strikeouts.
Santana’s night was over after seven innings. He allowed one run on four hits while walking one and striking out four.
With Jason Isringhausen pitching in the eighth, the Indians got two runners on with two outs. Choo then got the fans thinking “comeback” as he smashed a three-run home run to dead center field. Although Santana flew out to left to retire the side, there was optimism aplenty once again. The Indians were showing life, they just needed to have a four-run ninth to complete the improbable comeback.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cody Allen kept his ERA spotless, despite loading the bases with no outs.
The Indians went 1-2-3 in the ninth, effectively ending all hopes of a comeback.
Hernandez was the losing pitcher, dropping his first decision of the year. Santana got the win – only the second of his career against the Indians – to improve to 6-10. The loss drops the Tribe to 54-64, while the Angels improve to 62-56.
The Indians have Thursday off, but their next game takes them to Oakland for a three-game series against the A’s. Zach McAllister is slated to start the first game for the Indians against Oakland’s Tom Milone. First pitch is at 10:05 p.m. on Friday.
Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Blumefield