After having yesterday’s game rained out, the Cleveland Indians took on the San Diego Padres on a sunny but cool night at Progressive Field. While the Tribe won by a final score of 8-6, it wasn’t without some anxiety in the ninth.
The Indians struck first thanks so some help from the Padres in the bottom of the third. Yan Gomes and David Murphy walked, then Nyjer Morgan grounded to second, but a throwing error allowed Gomes to score while Morgan and Murphy advanced to second and third. Nick Swisher then grounded out, scoring Murphy, and a Jason Kipnis sacrifice fly scored Morgan. The Padres were able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but the Indians had already scored three runs despite not having any hits in the inning.
The Padres then closed the gap in the top of the fourth on Jed Gyorko’s two run double, but the Indians came right back in the bottom of the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera reached base on an error, Lonnie Chisenhall singled, and Murphy cleared the bases with a three run home run to extend the Tribe’s lead to 6-2. Gyorko would single home another run in the top of the sixth to make it 6-3, but once again, the Indians came back to extend the lead in the bottom of the inning. Gomes and Murphy had back-to-back doubles to score another run. Morgan then singled home Murphy to give Cleveland an 8-3 lead. David Murphy is absolutely red hot right now. He followed a four-hit game on Sunday with a four-RBI game today and currently is hitting .364/.375/.636. Right now those worries about his spring training struggles seem pretty foolish.
Corey Kluber battled through six innings while giving up three runs. While Kluber wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing nine hits in those innings, he battled throughout and gave his team what they needed to win the game. Marc Rzepczynski then pitched a scoreless seventh. Josh Outman recorded one out in the eighth, but also put runners on first and second. Cody Allen relieved him and then struck out the next two batters to end the Padres threat. Vinnie Pestano then came on to pitch the ninth. Much has been made of the decline in Pestano’s velocity and command of his pitches, and this inning didn’t help much. Xavier Nady led off the inning with a home run, and Chris Denorfia then had a one out triple. Pestano then struck out Chase Headley, but Yonder Alonso reached base on an error by Nick Swisher which also scored Denorfia, advanced on a wild pitch, and Yasmani Grandal singled him home to make it an 8-6 game. John Axford then came into the game with the tying run at the plate in the form of Will Venable. Axford was able to get Venable to fly out to Morgan on his second pitch of the game and the Indians held on to improve to 4-3 on the season.