Bullpen Falters But Tribe Claims Rare Win in Extras; Indians 9, Rangers 8
Bob Toth | On 21, Jul 2018
A back-and-forth game needed eleven innings for an outcome to be decided on Friday night as the Cleveland Indians captured a 9-8 win in extra innings over the Texas Rangers.
The second half of the schedule started out with some dramatics for the Indians and Rangers in a slugfest on the hottest night of the season for both teams. The two clubs combined for 17 runs on 34 hits while stranding 24 runners on base. Home runs factored in the early scoring for Cleveland, but late blasts by the Rangers forced bonus baseball in the first game after the All-Star break.
Martin Perez and Trevor Bauer drew the starting nods on Friday and there was plenty of early traffic and scoring to contend with on each side of the slate. Perez retired the Tribe in order in the first, but in the home half, the Rangers took the first lead of the game. Shin-Soo Choo extended his on-base streak to 52 straight games with a leadoff single. He advanced to second on a one-out wild pitch and after Bauer struck out Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre delivered an RBI-double to left to make it a 1-0 game.
The Indians responded with a big inning in the second. With one out, Brandon Guyer got the first hit of the game for Cleveland with a double to center. Yandy Diaz, fresh up from Triple-A Columbus, used his first at bat of the season the right way by driving a single through the right side to score Guyer, tying the game at one. Jason Kipnis made it a 3-1 game three pitches later as he caught a low changeup over the plate and drove it over the wall in right-center.
The lead would not last for Bauer and the Tribe as the Rangers rallied right back in the bottom half of the second. This time, it would be free base runners that would hurt as Bauer put the first two men on via walk. Delino DeShields ended a lengthy slump at the plate with an infield dribbler to third to load the bases. Choo stepped in and notched his second hit in as many innings, sending a single to right to knock in Robinson Chirinos to make it a 3-2 game. Willie Calhoun followed with a single to right in his second plate appearance of the year, pushing Joey Gallo across to tie the game at three. With runners on the corners, Bauer bounced back to strike out Andrus and Beltre to get out of the jam.
Both teams stranded base runners in the third and, in the fourth, the Indians wasted a leadoff single from Guyer while the Rangers got two two-out runners on walks by Calhoun and Andrus, but Beltre lined out to short.
The Indians ran themselves out of a threat in the fifth. Rajai Davis singled and Francisco Lindor walked to put two on, but Davis was picked off of second. Michael Brantley grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers moved back out in front. Rougned Odor singled and stole second. An infield single by Ronald Guzman put runners on the corners and Chirinos singled to center to drive in the go-ahead run from third. That would be all for Bauer, who exited for Oliver Perez. He retired the next three in order to strand a pair.
Cleveland would tip the scales back in its favor with another big inning to start the sixth. On the first pitch of the inning from Perez, Ramirez put a charge into a two-seamer and drove it to straightaway center field for his Major League-leading 30th home run of the year, tying the game 4-4. Edwin Encarnacion walked and after a strikeout by Guyer, Diaz got his second hit of the day. Kipnis followed with his second hit, a single to center that scored Encarnacion to make it a 5-4 Indians lead. Perez would get the hook for reliever Cory Gearrin, who walked pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso to load the bases. Tyler Naquin made it 6-4 with a slow roller to short that scored Diaz on the force at second. Lindor would strand a pair with a fly out to center to end the inning.
The Indians added another run in the seventh against Ricardo Rodriguez. With two outs, Encarnacion singled to right, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on another Guyer hit to make it 7-4.
The Rangers cut into the lead after the stretch. Guzman walked off of Neil Ramirez to start his second inning of work. After Chirinos was retired on a fly to left, new Tribe reliever Brad Hand came on, but he was met by resistance from Gallo, who launched a two-run home run to right-center to make it a 7-6 game. He got the next two outs to end the inning, then paired with his San Diego Padres teammate Adam Cimber to put together a perfect eighth.
Cleveland tacked on what would prove to be a big insurance run in the ninth. Encarnacion singled off of Jake Diekman with one out and Diaz came through with his fourth hit of the game, a triple to center on a ball misplayed by DeShields to give the Indians an 8-6 lead.
Cody Allen took the mound in need of three outs, but he could not get the job done properly. After retiring the first two outs, Chirinos launched a fastball down the middle deep to left to cut the Tribe lead to 8-7. Allen’s next pitch to Gallo was driven 472 feet with an exit velocity of more than 114 MPH for a game-tying solo homer. The next two reached before Allen finally retired the third out on a swinging strikeout of Calhoun to send the game to extras.
The Indians got a runner to second with two outs in the tenth after Lindor walked and stole second. The Rangers had a chance to win it in the home half, but Zach McAllister pitched into and out of a jam. Andrus, Beltre, and Odor all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Guzman shot a seed towards Ramirez at third and he snagged the hot shot and fired to Yan Gomes at the plate for the force for the first out. McAllister struck out Chirinos on four pitches for the second out, then survived a battle with Gallo and left the mound with a yell and a fist pump as he struck out the dangerous slugger on the seventh pitch, a running two-seamer up and on the edge of the zone for the third out.
The Indians capitalized on the Rangers’ inability to move a runner 90 feet with three chances the previous frame with two big hits in the eleventh. With Matt Moore on the mound in relief, Ramirez sent a drive to the wall in right-center for a leadoff double. Encarnacion slapped a high single just in front of Choo in right. His throw to the plate was late, allowing Ramirez to score, but Encarnacion was gunned down trying to move to second on the play. Moore retired both Guyer and Diaz on grounders to get out of the inning.
Dan Otero, the last reliever left in the Indians bullpen, came on in search of his first save since 2016 and got the job done with the first perfect inning for Cleveland pitching on the night. He struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Rua before getting a pair of grounders from Choo and Calhoun to wrap up the Tribe’s second extra inning win of the season in eight tries.
The Indians (53-43) moved back to ten games over the .500 mark with the victory and inched back closer to the even mark on the road at 22-24. Their lead grew to eight and a half games over the second place Minnesota Twins. The rough season for the Rangers (41-57) continued as they dropped to 3-11 in the month of July. They are now 23 games in back of the front running Houston Astros.
ROUGH RETURN FOR BAUER
Early on, Bauer was struggling with command of select pitches. It would lead to an early elevated pitch count (102 pitches) and an unusually short start. He lasted four-plus innings, but allowed nine hits and walked five. He was charged with four runs on the night and took the no-decision while striking out seven.
Perez made his second start since returning from the disabled list, but did not have the strong results he had in that start last Saturday against Baltimore when he allowed just one run over seven innings in a loss.
The left-hander lasted five and one-third innings, allowing six runs on ten hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. He was hurt by a pair of long balls off of the bats of Kipnis and Ramirez, accounting for half of his run damage.
BIG LIFT FROM THE MIDDLE
The Indians’ offense got a big lift from the middle of the lineup.
Encarnacion had three singles, walked once, drove in a run, and scored three different times for the Tribe. Guyer had a three-hit game with a pair of singles and a double. In his first game since being recalled from the minors, Diaz went 4-for-6 from the designated hitter position with three singles, a triple, two runs scored, and two runs batted in.
Brantley was the only player on either side who played the whole game and went without a hit. He went 0-for-6 at the plate with a strikeout. Roberto Perez was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. His replacement Alonso drew a walk, and Gomes went 0-for-2 replacing Alonso.
Prior to the game, both clubs made roster moves.
The Indians added both Hand and Cimber to the roster on Friday. Diaz was recalled, and the contract of Melky Cabrera was purchased from Columbus. To make room on the roster for all of the new arrivals, outfielder Greg Allen and pitchers Tyler Olson and Adam Plutko were optioned to Triple-A. Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.
Texas added Calhoun from Triple-A Round Rock to take the roster spot of Nomar Mazara, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Globe Life Park temperatures at first pitch were recorded at 107 degrees, marking the hottest first pitch temp in the history of the park. Only one game (Angels at Dodgers, 7/7 – 108 degrees) has had a hotter start this season.
It will be another 8:05 PM ET start on Saturday night as the Indians and Rangers meet for game two of the three-game series between the two clubs.
Right-handers Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 4.12 ERA) and Bartolo Colon (5-7, 4.64) will square off in the middle game of the set. The 45-year-old Colon will make his 15th career start against the team that drafted him, while Carrasco will look to overcome rough lifetime numbers against the Rangers.
Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images