2019: Game Recaps
The woes continued for Indians closer Brad Hand on Wednesday night as the New York Mets scored twice in the bottom of the tenth inning to stun the Cleveland Indians, 4-3.
For the third time in his last four appearances, Hand suffered a blown save. This one was a bit different than the others, however, as the Indians had just silenced the hometown crowd in the top half of the inning on a solo homer by Carlos Santana off of reliever Luis Avilan to take a 3-2 lead. The box score will show a Mets victory, but it was one key play and several questionable mental errors around the infield that led to a walk-off celebration for the home team.
Jason Kipnis enjoyed his return to Citi Field, but the rest of the Clevelanders in town could not say the same as the New York Mets spoiled the Indians’ first trip to the ten-year old ball park with a 9-2 win on Tuesday.
A day off did little for the Tribe after splitting a tough four-game series against the crosstown Yankees over the weekend. A 15-minute hop across the city brought the Tribe to Queens as Cleveland knocked off one of two remaining ball parks across the 30-team league that it had yet to play in (Atlanta’s SunTrust Park is the last active stadium remaining that the Indians have yet to play at). Kipnis, who represented the American League there in the 2013 All-Star Game, had two of the Indians’ six hits and scored both runs in his first game there since that Midsummer Classic, but the rest of the offense was held in check despite plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position against Mets pitching.
Big days at the plate from Mike Freeman and Oscar Mercado and ten strikeouts from Mike Clevinger over five innings helped pace the Cleveland Indians to an 8-4 win on Sunday to split their four-game set with the New York Yankees.
The Indians got big numbers from some unusual contributors in Freeman and Mercado, who each went yard on three-hit days while driving in six of the eight Indians runs on the afternoon. Clevinger had some command issues throughout a short five-inning effort, pitching into full count scenarios frequently, but all in all, the Tribe spoiled the final regular season start against them by long-time friend of the feather and likely future Hall of Famer CC Sabathia.
In a game marred by ejections of three members of the Yankees, New York used four long balls off of Cleveland’s Zach Plesac and the Indians bullpen to claim a 6-5 lead on Saturday afternoon.
In a trend of late, the disgruntled Yankees dugout got chippy once again in the sixth inning when minor league call-up umpire Ben May called outfielder Cameron Maybin out on strikes. Maybin, who played several months with Cleveland’s Triple-A Columbus affiliate this season, spoke briefly with May after a pitch that appeared to be off the plate before walking back to the dugout. Yankees manager Aaron Boone burst from the same place and got into a heated discussion with May, but ultimately returned to the dugout for a moment before coming back out. Crew chief Tom Hallion attempted to intervene, but more Yankees players were barking from the dugout towards first base umpire Phil Cuzzi. Boone was tossed, as was anger monster Brett Gardner, who slammed his bat against the roof of the dugout in yet another childish display from the veteran outfielder. He was eventually held back by several Yankees coaches after climbing over the railing to argue with Cuzzi.
Sunday’s starter CC Sabathia was also ejected before things returned to some sense of normalcy.
Masahiro Tanaka pitched into the seventh inning and the Yankees bullpen fired two and two-thirds innings of hitless relief as New York held off the visiting Cleveland Indians by a 3-2 final.
The Yankees used a big first inning to back Tanaka’s strong quality start and take an early lead. Back-to-back singles by Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela put a pair on before a fielder’s choice force at second by Didi Gregorius put runners on the corners against Indians rookie starter Aaron Civale. Gary Sanchez jumped on the first pitch that he saw and singled to right, scoring Judge to make it a 1-0 game. Gleyber Torres battled the count full before singling Civale’s seventh offering into right for another RBI, making it a 2-0 game.
The Cleveland Indians’ offense took advantage of a bullpen day by the New York Yankees, scattering 19 runs on 24 hits (including seven home runs) in a series opening 19-5 rout on Thursday night.
Four of five New York relievers to toe the rubber in the series opener of four from Yankee Stadium were tagged for at least four runs as the Indians put on a hitting display from the moment of first pitch. Cleveland had ten different players who recorded at least one hit, with all nine starters providing two hits or more. The offensive eruption backed a quality start by Adam Plutko, who surrendered two solo homers and three runs in total in six innings of work.
While the pressure may have been on the Cleveland Indians to hold down their brief spot atop the American League Central Division during their series with the Boston Red Sox this week, any hopes for a World Series repeat from the pride of New England may have rested on having a playoff-caliber series in Cleveland. The Sox kept those fading hopes alive on Wednesday, taking their series at Progressive Field against the Indians by riding two long balls from All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts to oust Shane Bieber by a 5-1 final.
The slumping Red Sox claimed a second game in a tightly fought series between the two clubs. The first two games were decided by late inning rallies – the Red Sox rallied back on Monday, only to be defeated on a walk-off home run from Carlos Santana, while Boston held off a five-run rally by Cleveland to win in extras on Tuesday night on a Jackie Bradley Jr. homer in the top of the tenth.
The Indians rallied back from a 6-1 deficit, but fell in extras as the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the go-ahead run with a solo homer in the top of the tenth inning against Cleveland’s Nick Wittgren as Boston pulled out a 7-6 victory.
It was a tough way for things to end for the Tribe after crawling all the way back out of a five-run hole felt more than midway through the contest in a matchup against the struggling Chris Sale. He was backed by some early run support against Mike Clevinger, who was unable to make it through five innings.
While things have not been going so great for All-Star closer Brad Hand the last couple of days, the same cannot be said about his Midsummer Classic and Cleveland teammate Carlos Santana, as the Indians first baseman just cleared the 19-foot wall in left-center field to start the bottom of the ninth to give the Tribe a 6-5 walk-off win over the Boston Red Sox.
The Indians held a 5-1 lead after three innings against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, but Boston chipped into that advantage with a pair of runs in the fourth, one in the seventh, and a painful fifth run in the top of the ninth as Hand blew a save for the second straight day. As was the case on Sunday afternoon in the Indians’ 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins, Santana picked up his AL and Indians roster member by hitting a timely home run as Cleveland celebrated his milestone blast with a well-deserved on-field gathering at home plate.
Tribe closer Brad Hand gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Twins to tie the game at three, but Carlos Santana sent the Indians to a victory as he hit a grand slam in the top of the tenth to give Cleveland a 7-3 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
In the biggest series of the year for the Indians to date, the club showed up big in the Twin Cities and stole three wins in a four-game series to tie the Twins for the top spot in the American League Central for the second time in the last three days. They needed some late inning heroics, capped by a dynamite defensive play to avoid a dramatic loss in the bottom of the ninth before Santana crushed the backbreaker in the next half inning to send Cleveland home with an impressive series win from Minnesota.
Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and brief return to the top spot in the American League Central came to an end on Saturday as Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota bullpen pitched around consistent base traffic in a 4-1 Twins win.
The Minnesota All-Star Odorizzi played the stopper again after four subpar starting pitching performances from the men around him in the Twins starting rotation this week. He was hardly at his sharpest, allowing five hits and four walks in five and two-thirds innings, but he did the most important aspect of his job, keeping the Indians from crossing home plate safely.
Shane Bieber pitched another gem for the Indians in a playoff atmosphere and the Cleveland bats beat up on Minnesota starting pitching again as the Tribe rolled to a 6-2 win on Friday night.
A big needed victory for the Indians moved the club to 70-46, matching the Twins for the top record in the American League Central for the first time since April 26. In doing so, they officially trimmed the deficit in the division that once sat at 11.5 games all the way to zero, with two games remaining in the four-game set from Target Field this weekend. The Indians have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games, while the Twins have dropped four straight. The Tribe is now 40-16 since sitting at the .500 mark on June 4, when they started their first home series of the season against the Twins.