Indians Fall to Giants on Tenth Inning Walk-off Single; Giants 2, Indians 1
Bob Toth | On 19, Jul 2017
Eduardo Nunez singled through the pulled in Indians infield in the bottom of the tenth inning against Cleveland closer Cody Allen to give the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 walk-off win in extra innings from AT&T Park on Tuesday night.
The Indians’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position was once again an issue as they wasted a quality start from Mike Clevinger, who was stellar on the mound for the Tribe. The Indians blew an early one-run lead with a costly error in the fifth and were unable to mount any support for the pitching staff in the late innings as Giants starter Ty Blach and the San Francisco bullpen kept the Cleveland bats contained for much of the night.
Clevinger worked around a two-out double by Joe Panik in the second, stranding two runners by striking out Blach to end the inning. His offense then struck quickly in the third, as Bradley Zimmer singled to center before being sacrificed to second by Clevinger. Brandon Guyer, who would contribute to both sides of the scoring, aided the Indians’ cause with a triple to left-center, easily driving home Zimmer to put the Tribe up, 1-0.
The Indians offense stared down a big scoring opportunity in the sixth that could have padded their microscopic lead, but a double play ball to short from Edwin Encarnacion wasted a one-out walk from Francisco Lindor and a single on the next pitch from Michael Brantley.
The Indians right-hander looked good against the Giants, striking out at least one batter in each inning worked. The Giants finally got through against him in the sixth, with a little help from the Indians defense. With one down, Nunez reached on a ball misplayed by Guyer in right. Clevinger struck out Brandon Belt for a third straight time for the second out, but Buster Posey reached out and pushed a pitch out of the zone back up the middle into center field for an RBI-single, scoring Nunez from second, despite him slowing down rounding third as if he was not sure of the number of outs in the inning.
Cleveland put two on again in the seventh, but could not respond. Yan Gomes singled to right and Zimmer reached on an infield single to bring Clevinger’s spot to the plate. Carlos Santana pinch-hit, but grounded into a force at second to squander a scoring opportunity.
Hunter Strickland retired the side in order in the eighth and Sam Dyson, who the Indians torched in the season opening series in Texas when he was still with the Rangers, worked around a leadoff walk by Encarnacion to start the ninth to keep the game tied at one.
Andrew Miller returned for the bottom of the ninth after an easy eighth, but lost the strike zone. He uncharacteristically walked the first two batters, putting Belt and Posey on. After getting Brandon Crawford to fly to right for the first out, Tribe manager Terry Francona called upon Allen, who gave up an infield single to Hunter Pence to load the bases. A strikeout by Panik registered the second out and Gorkys Hernandez flied to Guyer in right to send the game to extra innings.
Dyson retired Zimmer, Erik Gonzalez, and Guyer in order in an eight-pitch tenth to bring the Giants back to the plate. Birthday boy Conor Gillaspie stepped to the plate for Dyson against Allen and delivered a double past a diving Encarnacion at first base. Denard Span bunted back towards the mound and Allen pulled up on the ball, possibly thinking that the third baseman Gonzalez would be charging to make a play on a ball that Allen could have fielded and thrown to third and potentially caught Gillaspie. Instead, runners were on the corners for Nunez and, after Span advanced to second on indifference, the veteran utility man singled through the right side of the pulled in Cleveland infield to score the winning run with his first career walk-off hit.
Dyson earned his first win of the season while the Giants improved to 36-59 on the year. Allen took the loss for the Indians, his fifth, while Cleveland fell to 48-44 on the season and 1-4 on their six-game road trip to start the second half.
The Indians were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and the lineup left six men on base. The Giants had far better success despite scoring just two runs, as they were 4-for-9 in those situations despite stranding nine.
Clevinger took a tough no-decision. He worked six innings, allowing just one unearned run on three hits. He walked two, hit a man, and struck out seven while throwing 100 pitches on the night. The outing dropped his season ERA to 2.73. Blach matched him well on the mound. The second-year left-hander worked seven innings, allowing a run on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts on 106 pitches.
The game was a rare one for the Indians this season and marked the end of a surprising streak for the club. It was just the second extra innings affair of the season for the Tribe and their first since winning their home opener in the seventh game of the season. They went 84 games between extra inning contests, the longest streak in club history, exceeding the 81-game span without one split over the 1901 and 1902 seasons.
The Giants and their fans also ensured that a big streak was not ended on a one-game aberration as AT&T Park failed to sell out for a second consecutive day. Monday’s series opener marked the end of a National League record streak of 530 straight sellouts for the Giants.
The rubber match of the three-game set will take place Wednesday afternoon in a 3:45 PM ET getaway day start. Matt Cain (3-8, 5.56 ERA) will return from a brief stint in the bullpen to make the interleague start for the Giants. He owns a 9-15 mark in his career in 31 games against the American League with a 3.62 ERA. The Indians’ road warrior, Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.65) will counter for Cleveland. He is 7-2 on the road this season with a 2.86 ERA in ten starts, but comes in with a 5-4 mark in 15 career interleague starts.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images