David Murphy’s Big Night Fuels Tribe’s 8-6 Win
For the first time this season, everything cam together for the Cleveland Indians. They got out to a lead, they built upon that lead, and in the end, they pulled out the victory. That sure is a nice change from the fall behind early and try to come from behind late story line we have seen over and over to start the season.
Another encouraging sign from Tuesday’ night’s victory was the performance of Corey Kluber. The Tribe’s starter had a rough go of it in his season debut in Oakland. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning and took the loss in the second game of the season. Last night was a completely different story as Kluber pitched a solid 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits while also striking out 8 and walking none. With the victory, Kluber evened his record at 1-1 and lowered his ERA by almost half from 13.50 to a modest 7.71. Gotta love early season small sample sizes.
While Kluber was good, right fielder avid Murphy was spectacular. One game after going 4 for 5 in a loss to the Twins, “Murph” went 2 for 3 with a walk. He also had what turned out to be two of the biggest hits of the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Indians up 3-2, Murphy annihilated a 3-1 fastball from Tyson Ross. By the time the ball landed in the right field seats and the fans lost their minds, the Indians were up 6-2.
Two innings later, after Kluber surrendered his third run of the game on a RBI single by Jedd Gyorko, Murphy struck again. This time, with Yan Gomes sitting on second with one out, Murphy cracked a screaming liner over the head of the Padres’ Alexi Amarista for an RBI double. He would later score on a single by Nyjer Morgan to make it 8-3.
Of course, what’s an Indians game without a little bit of drama?
With a solid 5 run lead, Terry Francona reached into his bullpen in the top of the ninth inning. When Vinnie Pestano took the mound with a 5 run lead, it was to get him some work and build up his confidence after two less than spectacular outings to start off the season.
It didn’t end well.
Pestano was roughed up by the Padres, and then some. He lasted two-thirds of an innings and allowed 3 runs to cross the plate. Things got so bad, that Terry Francona actually had to bring in John Axford to register the final out of the game and preserve the 8-6 victory. The save was Axford’s third of the season.
But back to Pestano. With the count 1-2 on Xavier Nady, Pestano grooved an 80 mPH slider over the heart of the plate. Nady couldn’t help but hit it into the bleachers in left center. Two batters later, Chris Denorfia tripled and eventually scored on a fielding error by Nick Swisher. Pestano’s third and final run surrendered, a RBI singled by Yasmani Grandal ended his night before he could record the final out of the game. Again, what are the Indians going to do about Pestano if he can’t be relied upon in a 5 run game?
With the victory, the Indians improved their record to 4-3 on the young season. It was also the first time they took a lead over the opposition and did not have to come back in a game. That said, the Indians and Padres will continue their series tomorrow when they play a traditional doubleheader. The first pitch of game 1 is scheduled for 12:05 with the first pitch of game 2 scheduled for 20 minutes following the conclusion of game one. Pitching tomorrow for the Indians will be Zach McAllister and Trevor Bauer. Bauer is making his first start of the season.