Looking to rebound after a miserable weekend spent in Oakland, the Indians traveled to Anaheim to begin a three game series against the Angels on Monday night. The Indians accomplished that goal and then some. Things got off to a smashingly good start for the Wahoo Warriors as they defeated the Halos by a score of 5-2 behind a terrific start from Zach McAllister.
Looking like the pitcher we have grown used to seeing, over the years, McAllister threw an absolute gem. He went 6.1 innings and allowed only one run to cross the plate while striking out five and walking two. It was just the type of performance the Indians needed from a starting pitcher to help right the ship and put the Oakland series out of sight and out of mind.
McAllister was aided by an offense that packed some punch on Monday night. In the fourth inning the Tribe had what could only be described as a mini-explosion. They scored four runs in the inning off of the Angels’ ace, Jered Weaver. Normally unhittable, Weaver has had issues of late keeping the opposition off of the board and Monday night was no different. He lasted only six innings, giving up those four runs on eight hits and two walks.
The scoring got started when Carlos Santana singled to right center. Jason Kipnis, who walked and stole second to lead off the inning came around to score on the play. Santana was followed by Asdrubal Cabrera, who doubled to right, and Jason Giambi, who drove him home with a sacrifice fly.
However, the big hit of the inning then came off of the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall. With the count at 1-2, Chisenhall drilled a 77-mph change up that was left out over the plate deep into the right field stands. The two run shot put the Indians up by a score of 4-1 and gave McAllister all he would need on the night.
More importantly, Wahoo’s on First staff member and Wahoo’s on the Mic co-host, Nick Houghtaling, is the owner of Chisenhall’s home run ball. As it turns out, Nick lives in California and was attending the game with his brother. Nick’s brother caught the ball and promptly gave it to Nick. What are the odds?
The Angels responded with a threat of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. Erick Aybar led off the inning with a double to left. Two batters later, the ever dangerous Mark Trumbo singled to right to score Aybar and make it a 4-1 ball game. Hank Conger followed with a double to put runners at second and third with one out. Teetering on the edge of disaster, McAllister got Chris Nelson to fly to right for what looked like a sacrifice fly. However, Nick Swisher had different ideas as he threw home, nailing Trumbo at the plate to end the inning. It was the only legitimate threat McAllister would face all evening long.
After McAllister made his way through 6.1 spectacular innings, he gave way to Bryan Shaw following a walk to Hank Conger in the seventh. Shaw immediately struck out Chris Nelson and then got Kole Calhoun to ground out to first to end the inning.
The Indians would add their fifth and final run of the game in the top of the ninth. Nick Swisher led off the inning with a solo home run to right field. The homer was a no-doubter and proved to be a valuable bit of insurance for the Tribe.
From that point it was up to the bullpen to navigate the Tribe through to the end of the game. After Bryan Shaw’s perfect two thirds of an inning, Joe Smith would work a near perfect eighth and Chris Perez would work the ninth, allowing a solo home run to Mark Trumbo. The home run cut the Tribe lead to 5-2, but Perez would not waiver as he retired the Angels ending the game and securing the victory for the Indians.
The Good: Zach McAllister was fantastic in 6.1 innings of work. He shut down the Angels offense and, thanks to some superb defense from Nick Swisher, never gave up the big hit that could extend a potential rally.
The Bad: It’s hard to pinpoint anything bad from last night’s game. The Indians played a solid game in all facets of the game. It was a job well done.