Tribe Remains Alive in Late Inning Rally; Indians 2, Astros 1

Danny Salazar and Scott Feldman each deserved something better than a no-decision

Salazar and Feldman each battled deep into the game, but a strange ninth inning erased the chance for a decision for each. Salazar pitched into the eighth inning, allowing just one run, while Feldman pitched into the ninth. The difference in the game was likely a wild pitch in the fourth inning that gave the Astros their lone run, and a bounce of the ball off padding in the ninth. As crisp as the game was played for eight innings, the final three outs were full of drama, close plays and replay reviews. The two quirky plays helped result in a 2-1 victory for the Indians.

Houston tallied the lone run of the game when Dexter Fowler singled to start the bottom of the fourth. After Salazar retired the next two hitters, Fowler was able to advance to second base on a wild pitch. Jake Marisnick then made Salazar pay for his mistake with a single to center field that scored Fowler, giving Houston the only run of the game.

Otherwise, Salazar pitched a gem, allowing five hits and a run in seven and one-third innings. He did walked just one batter, while striking out nine. Had Salazar struck out one more hitter, he would have joined Corey Kluber and Carrasco as the only trio of Indians pitchers to strike out double-digit opponents in three straight games. According to Indians research, the team has never completed the feat.

Salazar was matched by Feldman, if not even outshined. The large, right-hander pitch into the ninth inning, allowing just four hits over nine innings, while walking one and just striking out two. The Indians only had two base runners in the third inning when David Murphy doubled and Michael Bourn walked, but Jose Ramirez could not drive home the run. Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall were the only other Tribesmen able to register a hit.

Feldman’s fourth and final hit allowed in the game was a bizarre one. Bourn laced a double to the left center field wall, hitting the wall and padding. The ball was lodged between the padding and fence for a brief second, but Bourn circled the bases for what appeared the tying run. After the ball fell behind the padding, it dropped to the ground in play. The ball was ruled a ground rule double, negating the inside-the-park homer. The double ended Feldman’s evening in favor of left-hander Tony Sipp.

Ramirez, looking to sacrifice, dropped a bunt down that ended up being a single when his hustle narrowly beat the throw. Ramirez’s second infield hit of the night put runners on the corners with no one out. Brantley grounded to first and Astros’ first baseman Jon Singleton was able to throw to the plate to cut down Bourn.

Chad Qualls came on looking for the save, but Carlos Santana ripped a single to right field, bringing Ramirez around from second base to tie the game at one. Mike Aviles flew out to right field for the second out and Yan Gomes struck out to strand a pair of Tribe base runners.

Scott Atchison earned the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning before giving way to Marc Rzepczynski and sending the game to extra innings.

The game carried on until the 13th inning when Ramirez helped spark the Indians win. He doubled with one out, forcing the Astros Jose Veras to walk Brantley and Santana to load the bases. Mike Aviles came through with a sacrifice fly to right field, giving the Indians a 2-1 lead. Cody Allen worked the bottom of the 13th inning without incident to earn his 22nd save of the season.

The win keeps Cleveland alive in their playoff push. The Tribe is still five games back in the Central Division and four back in the Wild Card race. The Feisty Featherheads likely need to win out during their remaining 10 games.

Friday, the Indians will venture to Minnesota to open a three game series with the Twins at Target Field. Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.04) will take the mound for Cleveland. He’ll be opposed by Phil Hughes (15-10, 3.56).

Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP Photo

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