Michael Brantley Leads Rally, Indians Split Doubleheader
The Indians tried their damnedest to give away yesterday’s night-cap, but in the end the A’s just wanted to give it away more.
After falling to the A’s 6-1 in the first half of yesterday’s day-night doubleheader, the Indians were able to overcome some shoddy pitching, even shoddier defense, and their continuing struggles at the plate in order to come away with the 6-4 victory. With the win, the Indians took the first series of the season and moved their record to 2-1 on the year.
Starter Zach McAllister struggled a bit on the mound Wednesday night. After allowing two runs in the bottom of the first inning, he was able to settle in a bit, but never really found his rhythm. When the Indians tied things up at 2-2 in the fourth inning thanks to a two run home run from Mike Aviles, McAllister turned right around and coughed it back up on an RBI single by Sam Fuld. Afterwards, McAllister was able to regroup, but ineffectiveness combined with a high pitch count eventually drove him from the game.
Once McAllister exited the game, left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski pitched 2.1 innings of solid, shut out pitching. He single-handedly helped keep the Indians in the game.
However, the A’s eventually took the lead back in the bottom of the seventh when all hell broke loose defensively. Michael Brantley, who hadn’t committed an error in 247 straight game, miscommunicate with Ryan Raburn in left center. As the ball bounced off of their gloves and to the ground, Josh Donaldson advanced all the way to second. A few batters later, an error by Bryan Shaw while attempting to cover first base resulted in the go ahead run crossing the plate.
The Indians apparently had the A’s right where they wanted them. Two innings later, Jim Johnson took the mound and the Indians offense decided to wake up.
Opposite field singles by Raburn and Nick Swisher started the top half of the ninth. After a failed bunt attempt, Jason Kipnis advance the tying run to third on a fielder’s choice. Carlos Santana walked to load the bases, thus setting the stage for Michael Brantley to play the hero. He did just that. Brantley singled to right and an error by Josh Reddick allowed both the tying and go ahead runs to score. David Murphy eventually added an insurance run to make it 6-4.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, John Axford slammed the door shut. He wasted no time closing things out as the A’s went down in order. For as bad as Jim Johnson was in this series, John Axford was the complete opposite, looking every bit the part of a guy that once saved well over 40 games in a season.
The Indians have today off, but come back home for their home opener tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05.