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Indians beat Diamondbacks on walk-off home run by Zach Walters

Glad to know you, Mr. Walters!

Jason Miller

Game 119: Indians 3, Diamondbacks 2

Box Score

Tribe improves to 60-59

Let's begin with the ending.

With one out in the bottom of the 9th and the game tied, Zach Walters, who was acquired in exchange for Asdrubal Cabrera two weeks ago, came to the plate against Arizona's Randall Delgado. Here's what happened:

Walters can probably stop worrying about how much his tab is, because he's now got thousands of Tribe fans who'd be happy to buy him a drink. That blast bailed out the offense on an afternoon when it seemed set on squandering a great pitching performance by Trevor Bauer. Walters wasn't the only player to pick up his first hit with the Indians today though, as Tyler Holt also joined that club. Michael Brantley was the only other guy in the lineup to do much of anything, driving in a pair of runs with a single (one which only just got through the infield) in the 6th inning. Besides that trio it was nothing but 1 for 4 and oh-fers from the Indians.

As I said, a great performance by Trevor Bauer was almost squandered, so while Walters provided the biggest moment of the day, Bauer is the guy who really deserves the most attention, because he pitched maybe the best game of his professional career.

He took a no-hitter into the 6th inning, and needed only 58 pitches to get through the first five frames, a pleasant departure from the inefficiency which has often plagued him. In the 6th inning he made the cardinal sin of pitching, walking the leadoff man. Sure enough, after a single moved the runner to third base, the Tribe fell behind on a double-play ball.

Brantley's seeing-eye single quickly put them ahead 2-1, but Bauer gave up another un in the 7th. When he finished the 7th, he'd struck out 9 and allowed just the 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. He was at 99 pitches, so I figured his day was over, and called it a great game. Then he came out and pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, making his day even better. It's the first time in his career that he's gone 8 innings.

I imagine he took extra satisfaction from it because it came against the Diamondbacks, who gave up on him so quickly and shipped him out of town, in part because Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said he was difficult to work with, in part because Kirk Gibson has inane ideas of how baseball should and shouldn't be played, and in part because GM Kevin Towers was in the midst of a (still ongoing) effort to make as many terrible moves as possible. I suspect Bauer has rarely enjoyed a strikeout as much as the one he got on Montero in the 2nd inning.

There seems to be little connection between one start and the next for Bauer. I feel like his pitching is trending in the right direction, but it sure isn't a straight line. Who knows what we'll get from him next week, but today he was on point. Today he got some revenge, and we were all able to enjoy it.

Win Expectancy Chart:

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call:

Game Thread

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