The Indians upped their Cactus League record to 12-2-1 (#championship) by defeating the Royals 12-6 at Goodyear Ballpark Thursday afternoon. For the second day in a row, a close contest was blown open late, as the Tribe bats scored 4 runs in the 7th and 5 runs in the 8th. Doubles from David Cooper and Matt Carson did most of the damage in the 7th, while Elliot Johnson and Carson each homered in the 8th. Carson's was a towering shot that just cleared the left-field wall (and then took a big bounce and was chased half way to Yuma by a young fan):
Carson is a longshot to make the roster, but there is now an extra spot available for at least the start of the season, since presumtive 25th man Jason Giambi is out for a few weeks with a fractured. More likely to win that spot is Johnson, who's hit the ball really well this spring (a small sample, I know), and spent time at second base, third base, shortstop, and the outfield last year (versatility!).
Not to be overlooked in the excitement of scoring a bunch more runs and winning a game is Zach McAllister struggling through his start. He gave up a double and two walks in the 1st, then back-to-back singles to start the 2nd, then an opposite-field home run and another walk in the 3rd, and then left after recording only one out in the 4th because of where his pitch count was (he was scheduled to complete 4 innings). The 2 runs he allowed were his first of the spring, and there's no sense in getting too worked up about one bad outing, but today was a bad outing.
Vinnie Pestano allowed his first run of the spring, on a walk, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and a single. Blake Wood looked the best of any of the 6 Tribe pitchers who worked, as he delivered a scoreless 7th inning on the strength of 2 strikeouts. Carlos Santana played third base for the second day in a row, the first time he's done that this spring. He fielded two balls in his 6 innings, both of them cleanly.
The Indians hit the road to face the White Sox Friday afternoon, with Josh Tomlin scheduled to start. First pitch is set for 4:05 ET.