Tribe Hits Four Homers and Clings to Win in Cincy; Indians 8, Reds 7
Bob Toth | On 23, May 2017
While Cleveland sports fans were riding a roller coaster of a game between the NBA’s Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Indians were playing out an up and down game against the Reds, one in which came down to an 8-7 finale in favor of the Tribe in the final contest of the Cincinnati portion of the home-and-home series.
The Indians hit four home runs off of rookie left-hander Amir Garrett, but the game still came down to the wire in the bottom of the ninth, when closer Cody Allen put the tying and winning runs on base but escaped the threat to save his franchise-record 13th straight game to start the season.
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead with one out in the first inning against Garrett as Francisco Lindor would hit his team-leading tenth home run of the season. The solo shot to left put the Indians on top, 1-0, but the lead would be just temporary.
Carlos Carrasco took the mound for the Indians, making his first start since exiting a rough outing with left pectoral discomfort. With an extra two days off, he was well rested but got into trouble with two outs in the home half of the first inning as the Reds tied the game. Joey Votto doubled to center and Adam Duvall followed with a ground rule double to right to even the score at one. Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch, but Carrasco bounced back and struck out Devin Mesoraco to end the inning.
The Reds got to Carrasco again in the second to take the lead as the Tribe right-hander became his own worst enemy. He fell behind Scooter Gennett early and, after several foul balls, walked him. Jose Peraza was plunked by a pitch and Garrett helped his cause with a double to right, driving in Gennett and giving Cincinnati a 2-1 lead. Billy Hamilton added to the scoring with a single to shallow left-center, pushing Peraza across to give their rookie lefty a two-run lead.
The Tribe would strike through for a big inning in the third to reclaim the lead. After a groundout by Jason Kipnis to lead off the inning, Lindor worked a walk after falling behind two strikes. Michael Brantley delivered a big double to right, scoring Lindor from first and advancing himself to third on the throw in. Carlos Santana’s second at bat worked Garrett deep as he fouled off five two-strike pitches before singling to left to score Brantley to tie the game at three. The former Red Edwin Encarnacion then delivered his first big blow of the night as his two-run blast to left gave the Indians a 5-3 lead. Jose Ramirez flied to right for the second out, but Yan Gomes got in on the fun and continued his big May with a big fly to center to push the Indians’ lead to 6-3.
Encarnacion came through again with another shot against Garrett in the fifth, extending the Cleveland lead to four at 7-3.
After a walk of Schebler to start the third, Carrasco retired ten straight batters before Gennett doubled with one out in the sixth. The right-hander struck back and, after he had retired the first batter of the inning on strikes, repeated the feat with two more swinging Ks to leave Gennett standing at second.
Things became dicey in the seventh as Carrasco returned to the mound and walked the leadoff man Hamilton to start the frame. After striking out Zack Cozart swinging, manager Terry Francona called upon left-hander Boone Logan, but the reliever was not able to retire the only batter that he was scheduled to face as he allowed a single to center by Votto to put runners on the corners. In came Bryan Shaw, but he threw gas on the fire as Duvall singled to drive in Hamilton and pinch-hitter Eugenio Suarez blasted a three-run shot to right to tie the game at seven in the blink of an eye.
Drew Storen entered the game for Reds manager Bryan Price in the eighth, looking to keep the game tied, but that plan would falter. Bradley Zimmer drew a five-pitch walk and reached second safely on a fielder’s choice by Encarnacion as Gennett made an error on the play. Ramirez bunted but Mesoraco picked off the lead runner Zimmer as he tried to advance to third. A fly to right by Gomes moved Encarnacion to third and brought Daniel Robertson to the plate. A 1-1 pitch from Storen went wild and skipped over to the first base dugout, allowing Encarnacion to scamper home with the go-ahead run and Ramirez to move into scoring position. After Robertson was intentionally walked to set up force plays, Andrew Miller, making his first trip to the plate since 2011, struck out swinging to end the inning.
Miller, who had entered the previous inning after Shaw’s four-run oops, gave up a leadoff single to Peraza before striking out Arismendy Alcantara for the first out. A fly to center by Hamilton was caught for the second out. Peraza stole second before a single to right by Cozart. The throw from right by Robertson was a perfect one-hopper to Gomes, who fielded and tagged Peraza before he could score the tying run.
Allen came on to close out the game in the ninth, but walked the leadoff man Votto. He struck out Duvall swinging before the pinch-hitter Tucker Barnhart singled to center to move Votto into scoring position. Allen settled back in, getting Mesoraco to pop to second before Gennett struck out swinging to end the ball game.
Miller improved to 3-0 with a scoreless inning and one-third on the night. Storen took his first loss of the season and is now 1-1. Allen’s save was his 13th in as many opportunities.
The win by Cleveland evened the series up at 1-1. The Indians are now 24-20 on the season and 16-10 on the road. The loss for Cincinnati dropped them to 21-24 on the year and just 14-13 at home.
CARRASCO QUALITY THROUGH SIX
Carrasco took the no-decision as the bullpen faltered behind him. He had given the Indians a quality effort through the first six innings, allowing just three runs in that span, but the first of four runs allowed by Shaw in the seventh was charged to Carrasco after walking the leadoff man in the inning, negating his quality outing.
His final line was six and one-third innings worked with four runs allowed on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts. He fired 104 pitches in his first game back from his pectoral injury and was 0-for-3 at the plate.
GARRETT GIVES UP FOUR
The home run ball would be a big concern for the rookie Garrett, who got off the hook for the loss as his team rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Indians’ usually solid bullpen. He worked five innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
The rookie notched his first Major League hit with his RBI-double in the second to give the Reds their lone lead of the night.
With four homers on the night, the Indians extended their consecutive games streak with a home run to nine, a season-high.
Encarnacion called Cincinnati home for his first five big league seasons before being dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.
Francona nearly gave Encarnacion the night off, but the slugger wanted the chance to hit in a ball park that he is extremely familiar with. The move paid off as Encarnacion notched the 26th multi-homer game of his career (h/t ESPN). He became the fifth different player to hit a pair of homers in a game against the Reds pitching staff this season.
Lindor and Brantley each extended their hitting streaks in the win, while Kipnis saw his come to an end on Tuesday.
Lindor’s streak grew to nine consecutive games with his 1-for-4 day at the plate. He has three doubles, two homers, two RBI, and three walks and has scored six runs since May 14. Brantley has now hit in eight straight. In that stretch, he has five doubles, six walks, and two RBI. Kipnis’ 0-for-5 day at the plate with two strikeouts ended his eight-game hitting streak, one dating back to when he was inserted into the top spot in the batting order. He had 13 hits in 35 at bats over his streak.
LOUGH COMES HOME
Outfielder David Lough signed a minor league deal with the Indians on Tuesday, one week after being released by the Detroit Tigers from their Triple-A affiliate in Toledo. He will report to Triple-A Columbus.
The 31-year-old is a native of Akron. He spent a portion of last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has spent time in the Majors in each of the last five seasons.
PROGRESSING TOWARDS PROGRESSIVE FIELD
The two teams will continue their series from a new location on Wednesday as the final two games will be played at Progressive Field.
The Indians will send right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-4, 6.65 ERA) to the mound in the 6:10 PM ET start. He has won each of his last two starts, allowing three runs in each appearance. He worked five and two-thirds innings against Houston last Friday in the win.
The Reds will counter with right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla (0-2, 6.38). He has yet to win a decision in three outings (two starts) this season. He allowed six runs on eight hits in his last start on May 19 against Colorado.
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images