Giants Walk Off Indians With Three-Run Homer in the Ninth
Sunday was a bittersweet day for the Indians. For the first time all season long, they received a quality pitching performance from Danny Salazar. Unfortunately, the end result did not back up the fantastic pitching performance he turned in as the Indians lost a heart-breaker, 4-1.
Salazar made his longest start of the season on Sunday. In seven innings of work, he allowed only one run on five hits while striking out his usual eight batters. Simply put, he looked fantastic. It was the first encouraging sign that Salazar might just be ready to stay at the big league level, something that had been in question after his last few starts.
Meanwhile, Ryan Vogelsong, the veteran right hander, took the mound for the Giants looking to turn his season around. Mission accomplished and then some. Vogelsong matched Salazar pitch for pitch over the course of seven innings, shutting the Indians offense down and allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. Of course, shutting down the Indians offense isn’t exactly difficult these days.
The Giants jumped out front on Sunday in the bottom of the fourth inning. After recording the first two out of the inning, Salazar coughed up back to back doubles to Pablo Sadoval and Brandon Crawford. At that point, with the way Vogelsong was locked in on the mound, it appeared that that one run might have been all the Giants would need. That proved not to be the case, though.
In the top of the eighth, Yan Gomes stepped to the plate against Santiago Casilla. With the count set at 1-2, Casilla grooved a 93-MPH fastball down the center of the plate. Gomes didn’t miss, sending the pitch half way up the left field stands to tie the game at 1-1. The home run was Gomes’ third on the season.
The game remained tied at one apiece until the bottom of the ninth inning. In the most unlikely of scenarios, Cody Allen faltered for the first time this season. With runners on first and second with two outs, Brandon Hicks stepped to the plate looking to play the role of hero. He didn’t disappoint, sending Allen’s elevated 96=mph fastball into the left field stands. In Allen’s defense, the pitch was letter high and a bit off the outside of the plate. The fact that Hicks made contact, let along hit the ball out of the park was a miracle unto itself.
You can also see in the below screen grab just how poorly Allen missed in his location. The red circle indicates where Yan Gomes had set up. The intended location of the pitch was low and away. While Allen delivered the pitch on the outer part of the strike zone, his fastball ended up in the upper portion of the zone, not the lower. Obviously, the elevation of the pitch helped provide the elevation to send the ball out of the park.
With the loss, the Indians have no dropped three games in a row. Their record is now 11-14 on the season and 4-8 away from the friendly confines of Progressive Field. They will look to right the ship and get back on the winning track against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05.