Tribe Survives Late to Win Series; Indians 5, Astros 4
Dave Roberts | On 21, Apr 2013
The Indians climbed a little closer to .500 with a white-knuckler of a game that the Indians emerged victorious 5-4, thanks to a plethora of long balls and a nerve wracking ninth inning.
For the Indians, Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound in perhaps his most important start in recent memory with his job in the balance. He was be opposed by lefty, Erik Bedard for the Astros. The Indians put in an early threat against Bedard with runners on first and third with two outs in the first inning after Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher singled but Bedard was able to strike out Mark Reynolds to end the threat.
For Jimenez, he wasn’t so lucky. After a leadoff walk to Jose Altuve, Jimenez gave up a two-run bomb to Fernando Martinez putting the Astros up 2-0. Things looked to worsen as Jason Castro followed up with a single, which set up Brandon Laird to launch a rocket to center. Luckily, Drew Stubbs made a highlight reel catch and threw it to first where they doubled up Castro. Jimenez then managed to get Carlos Pena to ground out to the end the inning.
Jimenez had a successful one-two-three second, which was encouraging for the Indians. With that encouraging second from Jimenez, the Indians’ bats got into the act. With two outs in the second, rookie catcher Yan Gomes got into one and blasted a solo home run, his second of the season, to left field reducing the Astros lead to 2-1.
The Indians got at it again in the second when Carlos Santana laced a one out double. After a Swisher strike out, Mark Reynolds drew a walk and set the table for a Ryan Raburn RBI single, tying the game at two. Bedard managed to strike out Aviles to end the inning but the damage was done.
Gomes got into the action again with a leadoff triple in the fourth inning, but Bedard managed to retire the next three Indians in a row to avoid any damage. That was all for Bedard as the Astros pulled him after four innings.
In the fifth inning Santana greeted Astros reliever Brett Oberholtzer to the big leagues with a leadoff solo homer, his fourth of the season, putting the Tribe up 3-2. Raburn followed that up with a two out double before Oberholtzer got Aviles to fly out for the final out.
Once again, the Indians would show more fireworks in the sixth inning. With one out Drew Stubbs hit a laser shot off Oberholtzer to right field that found its way into a fan’s bucket of popcorn putting the Tribe up 4-2.
Unfortunately, the lead didn’t hold as Jimenez ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a leadoff single by Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve tripled to center driving in one making it a 4-3 game. Without taking a chance, Francona pulled Jimenez in favor of lefty Nick Hagadone. Hagadone’s first batter was pinch-hitter Chris Carter who socked a sack fly tying the game at four. After getting a second out on a groundout, Hagadone walked back-to-back hitters before being pulled in favor of Cody Allen. Allen managed to get Justin Maxwell to fly out and keep the game at 4-4.
The heroics weren’t over yet for the Tribe though. Former Indian, Hector Ambriz, came on in relief for the Astros in the seventh inning and after getting two quick outs delivered a pitch on a platter for Mark Reynolds who crushed a solo shot to left, tying him with Chris Davis for the most home runs in the American League at seven. The solo shot put the Indians back on top 5-4 and set things up for trio of Smith-Pestano-Perez to close out the game.
Joe Smith came on in the seventh and allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning putting the lead in serious jeopardy. Luckily, the Astros helped Smith a bit and he retired the next three hitters, striking out two, preserving the Indians 5-4 lead. Pestano came on in the eighth and allowed a leadoff single before retiring the next three batters in a row.
The Indians made one last attempt at scoring when Michael Brantley singled in the ninth. He managed to make his way to third after a Kipnis sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, but with two outs, Nick Swisher flew out to right to end the chance of gaining an insurance run.
Chris Perez came in the ninth inning for the save and it was anything but routine. Rick Ankiel led off the innings with a double and then Perez beaned Matt Dominguez to put two on and no one out. Gonzalez then proceeded to lay down a sacrifice bunt putting runners at second and third with one out.
The Indians decided to intentionally walk Altuve to load the bases and then Perez got Carter to strike out. With two outs and the bases loaded, Castro hit a shot to the hot corner, which Reynolds turned around to make a great play throwing him out at first and helping Perez nail the save, his second, and bring home a 5-4 Indians victory.
Jimenez gave the Tribe a chance to win logging five innings giving up four runs on four hits. He struck out four and walked one on his way to a no decision. The victory goes to Allen earning his first major league win (1-0, 3.00 ERA) while the loss is tagged on Ambriz (0-1, 3.97 ERA).
The Indians (7-10) continue on the road, traveling to Chicago to take on the Chicago White Sox (7-11). The three game series kicks off tomorrow night at 8:10 pm with Justin Masterson (3-1, 1.67 ERA) taking the mound for Cleveland against Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.70 ERA) for the South Siders.
Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images