Good Guy Murphy Steals Win from Former Mates; Indians 4, Rangers 3
Mike B. | On 03, Aug 2014
The Texas Rangers could use a guy like David Murphy.
Down to their final two outs, the Cleveland Indians looked destined for defeat at the hands of the Texas Rangers and Yu Darvish. Darvish held the Indians to just four hits over seven innings—out-pitching young, Trevor Bauer—but the Tribe was able to score just their third victory of the season when trailing after eight innings. Cleveland used a two-run, home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by Murphy to tie the game and a solo homer in the 12th inning from Michael Brantley to give Cleveland a 4-3 victory.
The win gives Cleveland a three-game sweep over Texas on the weekend and highlighted a fine game by Murphy. Murphy was 2-for-3, with three runs batted in and a pair of walks Sunday afternoon, including several diving plays to take hits away from his former ball club.
Texas made the most of the little things in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Elvis Andrus dropped a flare over third base, where no one could get to, for a one-out hustle double before Alex Rios dropped a single over the infield to center field to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The two well-placed hits were enough to give Texas a lead they would not relinquish.
In the second inning, the Rangers just had to take what Bauer was giving them. Bauer lacked command and control, loading the bases with no one out when he hit J.P. Arencibia with a pitch and then walked Leonys Martin and Chris Gimenez to set the table. Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back sacrifice flies and Texas tallied a pair of runs to put them up 3-0 in the middle of the second inning. Bauer’s rocky second inning cost him on the scoreboard and the pitch count, tossing 26 pitches to complete the inning.
The Tribe tried to battle back in the bottom half of the second inning. Lonnie Chisenhall doubled to deep center field with one out to start the rally and after Nick Swisher struck out, Murphy doubled off the right field wall to cut Cleveland’s deficit to 3-1.
But then Darvish proved the top-notch ace that he is and took control of the game. After Cleveland’s run in the second inning, Darvish allowed only a walk to Jason Kipnis in the next three innings. Not until the Indians had two outs in the sixth inning did they register another hit when Carlos Santana singled to center field. It looked like the Indians could steal a run when Chisenhall reached on error, courtesy of Andrus. With two on and two out, Swisher left them stranded when he struck out for the third time in the game.
Darvish mixed pitches all afternoon to keep the Indians hitters off balance. He pitched seven innings, allowing one run on just four hits and two walks while striking out eight. With the exception of the two doubles in the second inning, Darvish had the Tribe lineup baffled all afternoon. No hitter had more than a hit in the Indians lineup against Texas’ ace and Swisher struck out three times.
Bauer did his best to match Darvish, but his slow start was enough to do him in. The Tribe’s whirling right-hander tossed seven and one-third innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks, while walking four. The second inning where Bauer loaded the bases with his lack of control was the difference between he and Darvish on the afternoon.
Neal Cotts relieved Darvish and worked a spotless, three-up, three-down eighth inning before Neftali Feliz came on for the save in the ninth inning, however, the Indians had different plans. After Chisenhall flew out for the first out, pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson drew a walk. Dickerson pinch-hit for the struggling Swisher. With a runner on base, Murphy connected for his second extra base hit of the game, a two-run homer to right field to tie the game at three.
Cleveland nearly walked off with the victory in the 10th inning against Roman Mendez. Brantley hit a ground rule double with one out in the frame. After Santana was intentionally walked, Chisenhall grounded into an inning-ending double play to keep the game knotted.
In the 11th inning, Cleveland’s opportunity was even more golden when Dickerson started the inning with a double down the right field line off Rangers’ Shawn Tolleson. After Murphy was intentionally walked, Jose Ramirez bunted both runners to scoring position. Gomes was then intentionally walked, loading the bases before Kipnis flew out to shallow left field and Mike Aviles grounded out to shortstop to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded and winning run just 90-feet away.
But in the 12th inning, Brantley tagged his 16th home run of the season into the Rangers’ bullpen in right field. The solo home run off Rangers Phil Klein was Brantley’s second walkoff homer of the season, completing the Tribe’s three-game sweep. Klein (0-1) suffers the defeat for Texas, while Scott Atchison (5-0) pitches two-thirds of an inning in the 12th to earn the victory. Cleveland rapped out five hits against the Rangers bullpen after getting just four against Darvish.
The win moves Cleveland to 56-55 on the season and just three games back of the second Wild Card spot, currently held by Toronto. While just three games back of the final playoff spot, the Tribe still has Kansas City, New York and Seattle in front of them in pursuit of the postseason.
Monday, the Indians will begin a two-game home series with the Cincinnati Reds. It’s the first of a home-and-home, four-game series this week. Cleveland will send Corey Kluber (11-6, 2.61) to the mound against Cincinnati’s Alfredo Simon (12-6, 2.84) in a match-up of breakout seasons among starting pitchers.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images