It’s about time.
It had been over three weeks since the last time the Indians won a series on the road. On Wednesday afternoon, the Wahoos took care of ending that drought against an impressive foe, as the Tribe took the rubber match against baseball’s highest payroll and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 5-4.
The hero of the day was left fielder Mike Aviles, whose two run single in the eighth inning off of Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson proved to be the difference in the ballgame. At the time, the clutch hit broke a 3-3 tie and proved to be enough insurance as the Dodgers climbed a run closer in the bottom half of the inning.
The Indians got a solid start from home-comer Trevor Bauer, who was pitching back in his home state of California for the first time in his career. Bauer, an alumnus of UCLA, worked 5.2 innings and allowed three of the Dodgers four runs. Like his counterpart, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Bauer did not factor in the game’s final decision.
Bauer and Ryu were locked in a scoreless battle until the top of the fourth inning, when Ryan Raburn took the South Korea native deep into the left field seats for a two-run homerun and a 2-0 lead. Prior to Raburn’s second blast of the season, catcher Yan Gomes had started the Cleveland rally with a single to right.
Bauer held the lead until the bottom of the fifth, when Miguel Rojas singled to center with one out to start the LA comeback. After Carlos Triunfel flew out to right, Ryu helped his own cause by driving home Rojas with a double to left. Two consecutive walks followed and then the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead when Andre Ethier singled to center, scoring both Ryu and then Dee Gordon.
Ryu held the advantage for the Dodgers until being pulled in the bottom of the seventh inning in favor of a pinch hitter. Although his immediate replacement in Yasiel Puig contributed by reaching on an infield single, his long-term replacement, Wilson, was not nearly as effective.
Pitching in the top of the eighth, Wilson retired just one of six batters that he faced by allowing three walks—one of which was intentional—and two singles that eventually gave the Indians a 5-3 lead. The RBI base knocks came off of the bats of pinch hitter David Murphy and then the deciding blow from Aviles after an intentional pass to Lonnie Chisenhall had loaded the bases.
The Dodgers were able to creep a run closer in the bottom of the eighth when Scott Van Slyke took Scott Atchison over the wall in left field, but Cody Allen worked 1.1 nerve wracking innings to lock down his eighth save of the season.
The Indians (41-43) will take Thursday off before heading back to Cleveland to take on the Kansas City Royals at 7:05 PM Friday at Progressive Field. Fans in attendance will be treated to a Sugardale Dollar Dog Night, as well as an extended fireworks show that is a patriotic tribute for Independence Day. The Indians will send right hander Josh Tomlin (5-5, 3.78) to the mound—fresh off of his one hit shutout of the Mariners—to match up against Yordano Ventura (5-7, 3.26).
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