Zach McAllister’s Solid Start Leads Indians
The Indians were a disaster against the Tigers in 2013. They finished one game behind them in the division despite a strong month of September thanks largely in part to a 4-15 record in 19 head to head contests. After Wednesday’s impressive 3-2 victory, the Indians are clearly refocused and ready to change their fortunes against Detroit in 2014.
Led by Zach McAllister, the Indians narrowly edged out the Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday night. Over the course of six innings of work, McAllister kept the Tigers’ potent offense at bay. He allowed only one run to cross the plate on four hits and two walks. He also struck out four batters and held Miguel Cabrera hitless while he was on the mound. It was the second straight impressive start by McAllister, who appears to have turned a corner here in the early stages of 2014. After three starts, his record stands at 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Tigers countered with reigning AL ERA champ Anibal Sanchez. For the majority of his start, Sanchez was equally as impressive as McAllister. He held the Indians to just two hits. Unfortunately for the Tigers, he also walked four battles and surrendered three runs. In fact, one of the two hits Sanchez surrendered turned out to be the biggest play of the game.
In the top of the second inning, with the Indians already up by a score of 1-0, Yan Gomes stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second. The Indians catcher came up clutch as he drove a two run triple into the right field gap. And as if that’s not enough, Gomes also through out Austin Jackson attempting to steal second base later in the game. You can’t stop the Yanimal, you can only hope to contain him.
As the game wore on, Terry Francona eventually made his way into the Tribe’s bullpen to call on the usual subject – Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, and John Axford. Each pitched an inning of relief with only Allen surrendering a run in the bottom of the eighth.
In the eighth, Rajai Davis reached base after a Jason Kipnis error on a pop-up. He then advanced to second on a bunt single by Ian Kinsler. Francona would challenge the play, but it was upheld. Torii Hunter hit into a 3-6-3-6 double play while Rajai Davis advanced to third, setting up a showdown between Allen and Miguel Cabrera. Unfortunately, this round went to Cabrera as he singled into left field to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
In the ninth, John Axford entered the game looking to earn his fifth save of the season and also recover from Sunday’s wasted effort. Despite a defensive miscue from Michael Bourn that allowed Alex Aviles to get all the way to third with only one out, Axford looked sharp retiring everyone else.
In addition to the performances of Yan Gomes and Zach McAllister, the Indians also welcomed back Michael Bourn and Lonnie Chisenhall. Bourn, who was returning from a season beginning stint on the DL went 0-4 on the evening with a walk and run scored. Meanwhile, Chisenhall continued his hot hitting ways following his leave for paternity time. He went 2-4 and looked very comfortable during the at bats where he got a hit.
With the victory, the Indians improve their overall record on the season to 7-7 and served as their first win of the season against the Tigers. The finales of this three-game turned two-game series will happen this afternoon when Danny Salazar takes the mound against Justin Maserson. Since this is a get away day game, first pitch is scheduled for 1:08.