Hafner Spoils Tribe’s Home Opener; Yankees 11, Indians 6
Matt Travis | On 08, Apr 2013
The day Tribe fans have been waiting for finally arrived on Monday night with the Indians hosting the New York Yankees for their opening day game. Unfortunately, the game did not go quite the way fans had hoped, with the Tribe falling 11-6. The loss drops the Indians to 3-4 and the win gets the Yankees to the same mark.
Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) pitched his second start of the season and fared far worse than this first outing, going 4.1 innings with seven hits, three walks, two home runs, seven earned runs and four strike outs. He struggled to find the strike zone.
The Yankees started Hiroki Kuroda (1-1), who seemed to struggle early but found himself through the middle innings. He went 5.1 innings giving up five hits, four walks, three earned runs with six strikeouts. Tribe batters made him work through those five innings pushing his pitch count to 111 pitches, but failed to capitalize in big situations.
The biggest story of the game was the return of Travis Hafner, coming back to Cleveland with a bang. In the first inning, Jimenez got Brett Gardner to ground out, walked Robinson Cano, and gave up a single to Kevin Youkilis before Hafner came up to bat. Jimenez left a pitch over the plate and Hafner took advantage, hitting a homerun to deep center field to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
The Indians responded in the bottom half of the first inning thanks to some productive outs and creative bounces. After a leadoff walk from Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a ball up the middle for a sure double play, until it bounced off second base and into the outfield putting him at first and Bourn at third. A Jason Kipnis sacrifice fly drove in the run. Nick Swisher followed with a single and a seeing eye single from Michael Brantley drove in Cabrera. Mark Reynolds tied the game 3-3 with a deep sacrifice fly.
The game would remain tied until the third inning when Hafner drove in his fourth run of the game on a single, scoring Cano.
New York added to their lead in the fourth inning by way of a Gardner single scoring Chris Stewart after stealing second base the pitch before.
After the fourth inning it seemed the flood gates opened for the Indians with a Cano home run in the fifth inning, an Ichiro Suzuki RBI single, then another Cano home run in his next at bat in the sixth. The damage was finally over in the seventh inning as the Yankees extended the lead to 11-3 on a Suzuki RBI single, a run-scoring wild pitch, and an Eduardo Nunez sacrifice fly.
The Tribe had their chances in the middle innings to keep the game from getting out of hand but could not get timely hits. The third inning opened with a double from Kipnis only to have him stranded. Lonnie Chisenhall was also stranded after a leadoff walk in the fourth inning.
The Indians however did not give up, plating three runs in the eighth inning. Two of those runs came on a Mike Aviles home run driving in Reynolds. Bourn followed with a triple and scored on a Shawn Kelley wild pitch.
The ninth inning held no scoring but it is worth noting that a pitch from Chris Perez hit Santana on the wrist causing him to leave the game and receive x-rays. Lou Marson came on to catch the final two outs.
The Indians return to play Tuesday night at Progressive Field for the second of this 10 game home stand with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Carlos Carrasco will make his first start of the year for the Indians against Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.13).
Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press