Indians advance to 4-3
The Indians kept pecking away at Chris Archer, who pitched himself out of jams in each of the first three innings at the expense of building up his pitch count, before finally breaking through in the fifth and sending Archer to the showers in the sixth.
Archer stranded runners at second and third in the first, runners at first and second in the second and a runner at third with one out in the third. Archer was bailed out of the fourth after a one-out Marlon Byrd single when Tyler Naquin smoked a line drive right at first baseman Logan Morrison for an easy double play.
The Tribe finally broke through in the fifth. Leadoff hitter Roberto Perez got aboard on an error by Rays shortstop Brad Miller. Rajai Davis walked. After a Jason Kipnis walk, Francisco Lindor singled, driving Perez home with the game's first run and advancing Davis to third.
Then came some weirdness. Mike Napoli struck out on a wild pitch, which bounced towards first base. Napoli ran to first. Rajai Davis at third base attempted to score with Archer covering the plate. Hank Conger threw to Archer covering home, who clearly blocked the plate, tagging Davis out. Santana grounded into a fielder's choice and the inning ended, Tribe up 1 - 0.
Meanwhile, Danny Salazar, while not exactly cruising, never let himself get into trouble he couldn't get out of. The best Rays early scoring threat came in the fourth when, with one out, Hank Conger lined a double down the right field line, or so everyone thought. However, Conger did a pop up slide with a little hop at the end that took him off the base while Lindor held the tag. After Francona had the folks at the MLB home office take a good look, Conger was removed from the basepaths and the threat was over.
By the beginning of the sixth, Archer's pitch count was well up into the nineties, After a Jose Ramirez single, Marlon Byrd took Archer out of the yard to Ducky's, extending the lead to 3-0. After retiring Tyler Naquin, Archer was replaced by Steve Geltz. The second batter Geltz faced, Rajai Davis, also left the building, making it 4-0.
Salazar breezed through the bottom of the sixth and the Indians added on in the seventh on Tyler Naquin's first MLB RBI to make it 5-0. Jose Ramirez took one to Hamsterville in the 9th, making it 6-0.
The bullpen (McAllister, Shaw and Bauer) finished the last three innings without incident (though Bauer had two on before striking out Souza to end the ballgame)..
- Danny Salazar is holding teams down even when he doesn't have his best stuff
- HOME RUNZ!
- The woes with RISP continued as the Indians went 2 for 19 (.105)
- Tyler Naquin: 3 for 5 with his first MLB RBI. Maybe he ought to be playing more.
- Marlon Byrd arrives: 2 for 3 with a walk and a 2-run homer.
- Bullpen - shut TB down.
- Francona challenged successfully. HUZZAH!
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