In the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against Arizona, the Indians overcame baserunning gaffes and poor situational hitting to still defeat the Diamondbacks by a score of 3-2. The big blow for the Tribe came courtesy of Zach Walters, who blasted a walk-off homerun to right to push the Indians record above .500 at 60-59.
Walters, who was acquired in the Asdrubal Cabrera trade just about two weeks ago, snuck a pitch from reliever Randall Delgado just over right field wall and into the D-Backs bullpen to secure the victory. The blast was Walters’ fourth of the season and his first as a member of the Indians. The walk-off homer was the Indians sixth of the 2014 season and the first walk-off hit of any kind in Walters’ young career.
The Indians got a solid start from right hander Trevor Bauer (4-7 , 4.35) who took the hill against his former team. The Diamondbacks drafted Bauer third overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and the youngster never saw eye-to-eye with his first organization and was dealt to Cleveland prior to the 2013 season in the Shin-Soo Choo trade. The D-Backs countered with lefty Vidal Nuno (2- 8, 3.92), who was recently acquired by Arizona from the Yankees in the trade that sent pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the Bronx.
Nuno rolled through a hitless two innings of work until Tyler Holt came through with a single for his first Big League hit in the bottom of the third. Bauer, on the other hand, did not allow a base knock until the top of the 6th and the game stayed scoreless until then, when Arizona used a leadoff walk by Jake Lamb and the single by Xavier Paul to set up a runners at the corners situation. Bauer was able to limit the damage by getting Jordan Pacheco to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, but the Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead on the twin-killing.
The Indians offense fired right back in the bottom half of the sixth, nearly squandering an opportunity but instead turning it into a 2-1 lead. Walters got the inning going with a single through the left side and moved to third on a one-out single by Jason Kipnis. A throwing error on the right fielder, David Peralta, allowed Kipnis to move to second on the play, but Mike Aviles helped Nuno out by popping a foul out to the catcher for the second out of the inning. The Tribe was still able to capitalize, however, thanks to a clutch, two-RBI single to right by Michael Brantley, who squirted one just under the glove of Aaron Hill at second base. Carlos Santana followed Brantley’s single with a double to set up another second and third situation. Relief pitcher Evan Marshall escaped further damage by getting Yan Gomes to ground out to third, however.
The Tribe’s first lead of the game was short lived, as bad luck plagued Bauer in the top of the seventh. After striking out Peralta to start the inning, Mark Trumbo singled into right-centerfield. Miguel Montero followed with a check-swing double that was gifted due to the Tribe’s infield over-shift, moving Trumbo to third. Hill, the next batter, pushed Trumbo across the plate with a groundout to shortstop to tie the game at 2-2.
The Tribe had a chance to regain the lead in the bottom half, as pinch hitter Chris Dickerson and Lonnie Chisenhall led off the inning with consecutive walks. The biggest blunder of the afternoon then came while Walters was unsuccessfully squaring around to bunt, as Dickerson was picked off of second base by the catcher Montero. A fielder’s choice was followed by another Holt single, but a Kipnis strikeout ended the potential Tribe rally with a thud.
The Tribe’s failed attempt to score in the seventh, coupled with two more stranded runners in the eighth closed the book on Bauer, who took a no decision after eight innings of work—the longest outing of his career. In his eight frames, Bauer allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out nine. Cody Allen worked a scoreless ninth inning to vulture the win from Bauer when Walters blasted his one-out round-tripper to end the ballgame.
The quickest turnaround of the season will occur for the Indians as they will face the D-Backs in the second game of the traditional doubleheader on Wednesday evening. Josh Tomlin (5-8, 4.68) will look to get the sweep for the Indians and will be opposed by local product Andrew Chafin (8-6, 3.96 between AA and AAA), a lefthanded pitcher who was born in Kettering, Ohio and attended Kent State University. Chafin will be making his Major League debut in his home state in front of plenty of friends and family members. The game, which is scheduled to start at 7:35, can be seen on Fox Sports/Sportstime Ohio and can be heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
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