The Cleveland Indians hit three home runs, including a pair of grand slams, but needed eleven innings to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 11-7, on Tuesday night after surrendering a seven-run second inning lead.
The game certainly served as a bit of an emotional roller coaster. The Indians provided quite the high by putting up seven early runs, powered by the second inning grand slam by Bradley Zimmer, only to turn around and steadily give every run back over the course of the next few innings.
The ride ended, however, with fireworks and a celebration for the ages at home plate as Edwin Encarnacion blasted the team’s second slam of the night in the bottom of the eleventh to send the Indians (53-45) home with a fifth straight win.
After the Indians took what would have normally been a safe and insurmountable 7-0 lead with a monstrous second inning, the Angels gradually chipped away with several big innings before tying the game in the sixth, with momentum appearing to have completely changed course. Both offenses, however, went silent and it took eleven innings to crown a victor.
After a quick and quiet first inning from both clubs, the Angels threatened in the second against their former fourth round draft pick, Mike Clevinger, who entered the game riding a four-game quality start streak. He dodged a big blow in the second, when Ben Revere doubled with two outs to move Andrelton Simmons, who had reached on a one-out single, to third base. With two in scoring position but two down, Clevinger got the strikeout he needed, retiring Martin Maldonado.
The Indians then appeared to take full control of the game. After needing just nine pitches to get out of the first, Angels starter Jesse Chavez was greeted quickly by Encarnacion in the home half of the second with a double to left. Jose Ramirez saw two strikes before his own double plated Encarnacion and the Indians claimed a 1-0 lead. After a three-pitch strikeout of Carlos Santana for the first out, Chavez lost the strike zone. He fell behind Austin Jackson and ultimately walked him with the count full. Four straight balls to Yan Gomes loaded the bases and four more to Giovanny Urshela forced in the second run of the inning. After throwing his eleventh straight pitch for a ball to Zimmer, Chavez returned to the strike zone but may have regretted it as the Tribe outfielder sent the ball over the wall in right-center for a game-changing grand slam. Two batters later, Michael Brantley made it a 7-0 lead with a solo homer of his own to center before the tenth and eleventh batters of the inning were retired by Chavez.
Clevinger could not protect the big lead. Kaleb Cowart doubled to start the inning and Mike Trout walked with one out. After a line out by Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun homered to right, cutting the Los Angeles deficit to 7-3. Simmons reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error before scoring on a single by former Indian Luis Valbuena. Revere grounded out to end the inning, but Cleveland’s seven-run lead had already shrunk down to three.
Chavez was lifted after giving up a one-out single to Jackson, but after a second straight single from Gomes, Urshela grounded into a double play.
Clevinger allowed two more to reach in the fourth with two down, but escaped without further harm after a single from Yunel Escobar and a double by Trout. The Indians would miss another big scoring opportunity in their half of the frame, getting two singles and two walks in the inning and loading the bases with two outs, but a groundout from Santana left three.
The Angels pulled even closer in the fifth and knocked Clevinger out of the game. Simmons walked with one out and after two more balls out of the zone by the Tribe starter, his third pitch to Valbuena was turned into a souvenir. The two-run home run made it a 7-6 game and forced manager Terry Francona to summon Nick Goody from the bullpen. He struck out the next two, keeping it a one-run game.
That changed in the sixth. A leadoff single by Cowart off of Goody was followed by an ill-advised diving catch attempt in center by Zimmer. The ball rolled towards the wall, allowing Cowart to score all the way from first on Escobar’s double. He was tagged out trying to stretch it to three bases, but Goody was done and the game was tied at seven.
Neither offense could do much against the opposing bullpen. Yusmeiro Petit threw three innings of scoreless relief over the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, giving up two hits and striking out three of the ten batters that he faced. Blake Parker gave up a walk and a single in the eighth, but got a caught stealing to minimize the threat. David Hernandez allowed just a one-out single to Jackson in his second inning of relief in the tenth, but kept him standing at first.
Bryan Shaw took over for Goody in the sixth, getting the final two outs. He allowed a one-out single to Simmons in the seventh, but the next pitch was grounded by Valbuena into a double play. Andrew Miller retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out the last man that he faced. Cody Allen took care of the ninth with ease, striking out Pujols to end the frame. Zach McAllister walked Simmons with one out in the tenth, but struck out Valbuena before a threatening drive to center by Revere that was caught by Zimmer before slamming violently into the wall with the final out still in his possession.
Things got a bit scary for the Tribe in the eleventh after a leadoff single by Maldonado off of McAllister. His pinch-runner, Shane Robinson, was sacrificed into scoring position, sending Francona back to the mound for Dan Otero. A grounder by Escobar moved the go-ahead runner to third with two outs and the veteran right-hander was able to get out of the jam, after intentionally walking Trout, by getting a comebacker from Pujols to end the inning.
Bud Norris took over on the mound in the bottom of the eleventh, but would not retire a batter. Zimmer worked a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch as Lindor walked. Brantley was intentionally walked and Encarnacion stepped to the plate, wasting no time with five players in the infield in redirecting Norris’ first offering over everyone into the bleachers for the walk-off grand slam.
Norris dropped to 1-3 on the season and the Angels fell to 49-52 on the year.
Clevinger lasted just four and one-third innings for the Indians in a no-decision. He allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and two homers allowed while striking out five. Otero would get the win, his second of the season, with two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief.
Encarnacion played the hero in the end. He was 2-for-4 at the plate with two extra base hits, two walks, two runs scored, and four driven in on one swing. The home run was the 21st of the year for the slugger, who now has 59 RBI. It was his tenth career walk-off hit and his sixth career walk-off home run.
Zimmer was 3-for-5 at the plate with a walk, a pair of runs scored, and four RBI. He made a costly base running mistake when picked off of first and erred by attempting to make a diving catch on a ball, but he did notch his first career grand slam and stole two more bases to give him 12 on the season. Jackson, activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to the game, hit the ground running with three singles and a walk in five plate appearances.
Simmons reached base all five times for the Angels with three singles and two walks with two runs scored.
The two teams will look to pick up the excitement on Wednesday night in a 7:10 PM ET start from Progressive Field. Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.62 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-11, 5.13). The Indians have lost each of Carrasco’s last two starts after winning the previous six in a row. Nolasco has allowed 15 runs in his last three starts (12 2/3 innings).
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