The Indians offense teed off on Angels starting pitcher Jesse Chavez in Tuesday’s game at Progressive Field, scoring seven runs in the second inning. Chavez started the inning by giving up back-to-back doubles before striking out Carlos Santana. He then issued three consecutive walks, thus giving up another run while keeping the bases loaded. Enter Indians centerfielder Bradley Zimmer, who worked the count to 3-1. Not wanting to be the guy who walked four consecutive batters, Chavez threw a pitch down the middle of the plate. Zimmer was waiting for such a pitch, and he made the most of it, knocking the ball deep into the seats in right center. It was Zimmer’s first-ever grand slam in the majors, and it put the Indians up by six.
But Chavez wasn’t done giving up runs. Two batters later, Michael Brantley hit a homer to center field, giving the Indians a 7-0 lead. Cruise control time from here on out, no? The way this team has been playing lately, no way could they blow a seven-run lead, right?
Please. If you’ve been a Cleveland sports fan for more than a week and a half, you know that nothing ever comes easy. Indians startaer Mike Clevinger, who made it through the first two innings unscathed, gave four of those runs back in the top of the third. In the top of the fifth, former Indians player Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer to bring the score to 7-6. One inning later, Tribe reliever Nick Goody gave up a single and a double, tying the score at 7-7.
And thus it remained until the bottom of the eleventh inning. With Bud Norris pitching for the Angels, Zimmer led off with a walk and stole second. A wild pitch allowed him to take third, and Norris walked Francisco Lindor. An intentional walk to Brantley loaded the bases, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia motioned for the outfielders to move closer to the plate, as a fly ball would allow the speedy Zimmer to score the winning run anyway. One of the outfielders joined the infield, which was also moved in, hoping that a grounder to any of them would permit a force play at home.
But Edwin Encarnacion wasn’t having any of that. He drove Norris’s first pitch over the heads of the infielders, the outfielders, and the first few rows of spectators in the left center bleachers for another grand slam. Indians 11, Angels 7. It was the first game in Indians history wherein two grand slams were hit, the second of which being the last play of the game.
Indians reliever Dan Otero, who came on to pitch with one out in the top of the eleventh, was credited with the win. He was the sixth member of the six-man bullpen to pitch in the game.
The Indians have now won five games in a row. The teams will play again on Wednesday afternoon. Carlos Carrasco will pitch for the Tribe.