Cabrera's walk-off blast sends Indians over Boston, 7-4
Tribe sweeps series as rain and extras spell for a long, but memorable night
CLEVELAND—Rain couldn’t even cool off the blazing Tribe.
Tied at 4-4 in the 12th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera connected on a game-winning three-run homer to send the Indians over Boston, 7-4, completing the three-game series sweep.
The hit came four hours and 29 minutes after first pitch, and six hours and 57 minutes from Wednesday’s original scheduled start time. A rain delay of over two hours spelled trouble at the outset, especially for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the ballgame.
But just as Manziel waited on draft night, it was worth the wait.
“It was a hard call because we were going back and forth, but I thought the communication was really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The win gives Cleveland (30-30) their sixth straight victory, and ninth consecutive at Progressive Field, boasting the best home record in the American League at 21-11.
For the seventh straight night, the Tribe scored the first run of the game. Left fielder Michael Brantley continued his All-Star first half driving in Cabrera with an RBI single up the middle in the first inning off Red Sox starter Brandon Workman. Indians hitters made Workman do some work, striking him for three runs on four hits over five innings.
Corey Kluber had to do much of the same as well, even after a stellar month of May. Through 6 1/3 innings, the right-hander allowed four runs in a start for the first time since April 19.
“I didn’t think it was his best stuff tonight, but saying that I still think he was pretty good,” Francona said.
“He left a 0-2 pitch to Ortiz that caught way too much of the plate, then gave up two runs late,” Francona said. “I mean if that’s him not at his best, it’s still pretty good.”
Walking the leadoff man proved to be costly for Kluber, as he issued free passes to start both scoring innings for Boston.
Trailing the BoSox 2-1 after the blast by Big Papi, it was the first time Cleveland trailed in a game since May 30.
The Tribe’s big inning came in the sixth. Cabrera led off the frame with a walk before Brantley notched his third hit of the game to put two runners on for Kipnis. The second baseman drove in Cabrera with an RBI base knock up the middle to tie the game up.
Manager John Farrell went to his bullpen shortly after, calling on lefty Chris Capuano. Two batters later, David Murphy greeted the southpaw with a two-run single over the head of shortstop Dustin Pedroia to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Unlike the Boston ‘pen, Tribe relievers couldn’t have done a better job Wednesday night.
Scott Atchison relieved Kluber for a scoreless 2/3 innings, as did Nick Hagadone, John Axford and Josh Outman. Bryan Shaw also added a quiet frame, before right-hander Carlos Carrasco stole the show late. Carrasco (1-3, 4.97 ERA) tossed two innings and struck out four to record his first win of the season.
For Axford and Carrasco, it was the first time either reliever has pitched in over a week.
“They did a really good job,” Francona said. “That’s a tough situation for both of them. Ax comes in, finishes an inning and goes back out there for another one. Then Carlos goes out and he’s our length. I thought both of them were outstanding.”
On the night, the Tribe bullpen combined for 5 2/3 innings, giving up no runs on just one hit while striking out 10.
“It wasn’t ideal at the beginning of the game, but we got the win and that was the goal of the day,” Kluber said.
The Tribe bullpen held the game long enough for former Indians reliever Edward Mujica (2-2, 7.29 ERA) to serve up Cabrera’s winning homer.
“I’m just trying to hit a fly ball,” Cabrera said. “But I know Mujica so I know what kind of pitcher he is. He threw me the one I was looking for and I hit a good one.”
Cleveland improves to 25-6 on the season when scoring four runs or more, helping Francona sweep his former team for the first time in his career.
”That’s what we’re trying to do,” Cabrera said. “We’re playing really good games right now. We started the game today and thought about that.”
Up next for Indians: After an off day Thursday, the Tribe travels to Arlington, Texas to open up a four-game series with the Texas Rangers. Trevor Bauer (1-2, 3.63 ERA) will make his fifth start in the series opener against two-time All-Star Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.08 ERA), Friday at 8:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
We complain about Axford, but during the hot stove season many were taking of potentially getting Mujica as the closer. Glad that we did not.
With all their money you'd think they could do better than the corpse of Grady Sizemore in right field.
This Boegarts guy looks like a 10-year All-Star, though.
What's with the midget playing first base and leading off? I can't remember ever seeing a team with a short first baseman who hit leadoff.