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Bullpen comes through for Indians in victory over Rangers

Six and 2/3 innings of scoreless work from the much maligned bullpen . . .

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 8, Rangers 3

box score

Indians improve to 13-21

Bruce Chen was likely pitching for his job in Friday's game against the Texas Rangers.  Fighting to keep a hold of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Chen needed a solid outing or else a ticket out of town was likely in his future.  Well, my crystal ball has a message coming in that seems relevant here.  It reads: Book that ticket Mr. Chen.

With an opening like that, and considering the horrible start Chen gave the Indians, one could safely assume the Indians had another long, painful night that ended in a loss.  Thankfully, the Tribe flipped that script, using a fantastic effort from the bullpen to secure an 8-3 victory over the Rangers.

Chen lasted a measly two and 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.  A quick hook from Terry Francona (justifiably) meant we got to see Ryan Webb in just the bottom of the third inning.  Webb battled some command issues, but was just what the doctor ordered, escaping a huge bases loaded jam in the third and pitching a clean fourth.  Webb was followed by Zach McAllister, Scott Atchison, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen.  When the dust settled, the bullpen went six and 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits, one walk, and an amazing zero runs.  Simply put, it was a fantastic performance from the pen.

While the bullpen was saving the Tribe's cookies, the offense was battling away against veteran Wandy Rodriguez.  Rodriguez entered with good numbers, compiling a 2.70 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 23 and 1/3 innings this season.  The Tribe started strong, scoring two in the first thanks to doubles from Michael Brantley and Nick Swisher.  Another Swisher double in the fourth paid off when Zach Walters brought him home with an RBI single to left.

The Indians knocked out Rodriguez in the fifth after Swisher drove in two with a single to right.  The final blow for the Rangers came in the sixth, as the Tribe would add three more runs.  Brett Hayes' home run (his third!) started the inning off, followed by Jose Ramirez reaching base after being hit by a pitch and a Jason Kipnis single.  Michael Brantley's double to right scored Ramirez and a Lonnie Chisenhall sacrifice fly plated Kipnis.

Swisher finished with three hits and his first three RBIs of the season, while Kipnis stayed hot, extending his hitting streak to nine games with a 4-for-5 night.  Brantley added three hits and two walks, reaching base in all five of his plate appearances.

Webb earned the win, his first of the season.  Defensively, Mr. Versatility, Zach Walters, struggled with two errors, but the Tribe did get a web gem nominee from Ryan Raburn (who else!).  Raburn raced back in left field and snagged a fly ball from Shin-Soo Choo on the warning track, right before crashing into the wall hard.  Raburn did leave the game for precautionary reasons three innings later.

Game two of the series is scheduled for 8:05 ET Saturday and will showcase Danny Salazar and Colby Lewis.  Salazar is coming off a strong start last Sunday, allowing just one hit over seven innings, while Lewis has a 2.40 ERA in seven starts this year.

Win Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Game Thread

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