2019: Game Recaps
A little time away can do people some good. That seems to be the trick for Carlos Santana, whose strong start in his return to Cleveland continued on Friday night as he deposited a game-winning solo homer into the bleachers in left field with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Indians fans were treated to a very familiar sight on Friday as Santana provided the Indians with his fifth career walk-off home run, lifting up another light-hitting performance from the offense. He stepped into the batter’s box for the fourth time on the night with one down in the bottom of the ninth, set to match up with Jays’ reliever Joe Biagini. He found an 1-0 two-seamer to his liking, lofting a high drive the opposite way into the tunnel of the bleachers in left to cap off a comeback for the Tribe and a celebration at home plate.
The Indians flirted with history on Thursday night but fell just short as Trevor Bauer threw seven no-hit innings and the offense added some rare support, but Toronto ended Cleveland’s no-hit bid in the ninth inning as the Tribe defeated the visiting Blue Jays by a 4-1 final from Progressive Field.
Bauer’s brilliant start to the 2019 season continued as he has already made an early case for his name to be mentioned amongst the best in baseball this year. After allowing just a run on a hit with one walk and nine strikeouts in a no-decision on March 30 against the Minnesota Twins, he followed it up with a hitless outing in which the only blemish was his six walks that drove up his pitch count and prevented him from completing his attempt at the first Indians no-hitter since 1981 (a drought of nearly 38 years and the second-longest active to only the San Diego Padres, which have never recorded one).
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber was unable to finish the fourth inning and was tagged for six runs (four earned) as the Indians fell on Wednesday to the Chicago White Sox by an 8-3 final.
It was one of those rare off days for the Tribe right-hander, who was hit often and issued an uncharacteristic three walks in just three and one-third innings of work in Cleveland’s second home game of the season. He was paced with little support from the scuffling Indians offense, which got just two hits and an unearned run off of White Sox starter Carlos Rodon in a quality six innings on the mound.
The Cleveland bullpen allowed three runs after seven shutout innings of one-hit baseball from Mike Clevinger, but a similar disastrous effort from the Chicago White Sox allowed the Indians to rally with four runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 5-3 win in Monday’s Home Opener from Progressive Field.
Three different Tribe relievers combined for two extra base hits, a walk, a costly error, and three poorly timed runs in the top of the eighth as the dormant White Sox lineup woke up to claim a 3-1 lead. Chicago manager Rick Renteria responded with a trip to his own bullpen after seven one-run innings from Ivan Nova, but it proved to be costly.
Cold weather did not slow or stop the Minnesota Twins in game three of the season, as they tallied nine runs off of Cleveland Indians pitching to earn a series victory with a 9-3 win on Sunday.
The rubber match of the season opening series in Target Field did not favor the Indians, as they fell behind early as the Twins tallied a run in the second and two more in the fourth, but it was a disastrous fifth inning that broke the game wide open. Paced to an 8-0 lead at the time, the Twins breezed to an easy win from there, especially facing an anemic Indians offense that racked up 13 strikeouts for the third straight game.
Hanley Ramirez hit a monster home run, Trevor Bauer pitched seven innings of one-run, one-hit baseball, and Greg Allen hit the game-deciding pinch-hit sacrifice fly with one down in the ninth inning as the Cleveland Indians got in the win column with a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Both offenses were silenced on a cold and windy day in Minnesota, as the logic of the Twins hosting a season opening series in their dome-less stadium in the Land of 10,000 Lakes was questioned once again with near record setting temperatures and wind gusts coming in from left field at more than 30 MPH. While most players were bundled up as those they were about to hit the ski slopes, Bauer took the mound in short sleeves and showed again why he is one of the top pitchers in baseball today.
No Wahoo, no runs, and no fun for the Tribe on Thursday as Minnesota’s Jose Berrios won an intense battle against Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, combining with reliever Taylor Rogers on a two-hit 2-0 Opening Day shutout from Target Field.
In a well-pitched game for both starters through six innings, the Twins capitalized on rare base runners in the seventh to take the lead and hold on for good. Kluber took a perfect game into the fifth and a no-hitter into the sixth. Three different relievers combined to throw a perfect eighth inning to keep the score at two runs, but it was too much for the Tribe to overcome in a tough day at the plate. While the Twins managed only four hits on the day, their pitching limited the Indians to just three batters over the minimum while striking out 13 in an Opening Day gem.