«Anderson, 'pen impress despite walk-off loss Indians relievers nearly complete 'bullpen no-hitter' vs. Astros By Chris Abshire / Special to MLB.com | ...»
Anderson, 'pen impress despite walk-off loss
Indians relievers nearly complete 'bullpen no-hitter' vs. Astros
By Chris Abshire / Special to MLB.com | May 11th, 2016 + 2 COMMENTS
HOUSTON -- It's not often you hear the losing pitcher's night described as "outstanding," especially when he was on the mound as the other
team walked it off.
That was Cody Anderson's fate in Wednesday's 5-3, 16-inning loss to the Astros, as the starter-turned-last-resort reliever shut Houston down
for three innings before Marwin Gonzalez took him deep to end the game.
"You always set out to win the game and you get that deep into a game and it hurts when you lose, but he threw the ball really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You get into an extra-inning game on the road, you're a pitch away from going home and that hurts. But I'm really pleased with the way he attacked with his pitches."
Anderson's valiant effort in an unusual role was just one amongst a slew of impressive relief innings. It bordered on absurd by the four-hour mark of the game. Cleveland utilized all eight bullpen arms and two starters over the course of the 16 innings, and even combined no-hit Houston for 8 2/3 frames.
But Anderson was at the center of it and also the last straw. The team had already decided on Tuesday it was moving Anderson's impending start to next Monday, based on some leg cramps in last Saturday's outing.
Francona even said they put the righty down in the bullpen during Tuesday and Wednesday's game just to "relax a little bit … be one of the guys." They thought Anderson was putting too much pressure on himself. He had a 7.56 ERA in five starts entering this week.
If he was going to get an inning of work in relief, the plan was for a blowout or a low-stress game. Then, Francona thought, Anderson could just "let it eat" out there.
Anderson didn't have that luxury on Wednesday, but he answered the bell despite moving to 0-3.
"[Pitching coach Mickey Callaway] and I were talking and from the things we were talking to him about, just watching him come out and attack, it'll serve him well," manager Terry Francona said.
Added Anderson: "I'm just out there competing. It's a different situation, but it's still the same thing. I just have to get outs. Unfortunately today, they wanted me to win and I didn't come through."
That was debatable, as teammates and Francona certainly weren't pinning this one at any one player. After all, it was a collective bullpen effort just to reach the 16th, and it was all hands on deck anyway after Danny Salazar's command struggles limited him to five innings.
"It was amazing, it was a really long game," Salazar said. "I feel like I pitched yesterday. That was awesome, though. Cody, who wasn't even supposed to pitch today, he made that sacrifice there and he saved a few arms."
It was ultimately a footnote to a loss, but it was encouraging for Anderson and the bullpen alike.
After all, Francona said, there's only so much you can ask of anybody five hours into a game.
"A lot of guys [came through]," he said. "You start asking a lot. You worry about the concentration, and I thought our guys did a good job of holding that.
"We played a clean game but you just get into a game where if you make a mistake, you'd like to be the home team."
Indians come up short in 16 innings By Brian McTaggart and Chris Abshire / MLB.com | May 11th, 2016 + 87 COMMENTS HOUSTON -- Marwin Gonzalez lined the first pitch he saw from Indians pitcher Cody Anderson into the right-field seats for a two-out walk-off home run in the 16th inning that sent the Astros to a 5-3 marathon win Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
The third-longest game in the history of Minute Maid Park saw the teams combine to use 18 pitchers who threw 489 pitches. Anderson, a starter, was pressed into duty after the Indians used their entire relief corps. Michael Feliz threw three scoreless innings for his first big league win for Houston.
"I just tried to put the ball in play," said Gonzalez, whose two-run shot was only the second non-solo homer of his career. "It was a tough day for everybody to play. It was hard to make contact."
Gonzalez ended his Major League-record streak of 25 solo shots to begin his career on May 6 against the Mariners.
The Astros set season-highs for walks (12) and runners left on base (17), but came through in the clutch hit for their first walk-off win to cap a 6homestand.
"It''s a shame for either team to lose that type of game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It would have been more of a shame had we lost it, but what a game. The entire back half of that game I'm thinking back to the first inning bases loaded, the second inning bases loaded, the fourth inning bases loaded. The first three innings were incredible amount of base runners we didn't take advantage of it, and when you're in this tight game it's impossible not to think about it."
The Indians forced extra innings by tying the game in the ninth inning. Mike Napoli doubled with one out and scored the tying run on a Carlos Santana triple. Astros closer Luke Gregerson had converted his previous 16 save chances since Aug. 12 of last year.
• Astros' Feliz turning heads in relief role Astros shortstop Carlos Correa made an extraordinary short-hop play to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring in the top of the ninth inning on a ball hit by Marlon Byrd while drawn in with the game knotted at 3, and with Santana on third.
The Astros squandered early scoring chances before coming through with a pair of clutch hits to take the lead. Correa tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth, and Preston Tucker's two-out RBI single in the seventh put them ahead, 3-2.
Anderson, typically a starter, took the loss and fell to 0-3 on the season. Cleveland wrapped up a brief road trip losing two of three in Houston and fell to 16-15. The Indians have yet to be more than two games above.500 this season.
"You get into an extra-inning game on the road, you're a pitch away from going home and that hurts," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.
"But I'm really pleased with the way [Anderson] attacked with his pitches."
Santana's game-tying triple
MOMENTS THAT MATTEREDClutch hits come late: The Astros were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position before Correa shot a two-out single up the middle in the sixth to score Jose Altuve from second to tie the game. The Astros squandered scoring chances early against Indians starter Danny Salazar, stranding eight batters in the first three innings, including the bases loaded in the first and second innings. They stranded a season-high 17 runners and didn't have a hit between the seventh and 16th innings.
"We got through their whole bullpen to where they had to bring a starter... In that regard, I felt like our guys hung in there." More Waiting them out: For much of the first nine innings, the Indians used a classic bend-don't-break style on the mound. You don't reach that 17 left-on-base mark without a whole lot of walks -- 12 in total. But from the seventh inning on, Cleveland nearly tossed the equivalent of a combined full-game no-hitter until Correa's 16th-inning leadoff single. Using all eight relievers and starter-turned-last resort Anderson, they cobbled together 8 2/3 innings of ultimately fruitless clean work. Anderson was valiant in an unusual role, yet Cleveland has still lost all six games in which he's pitched.
"I'm just out there competing," Anderson said. "It's a different situation, but it's still the same thing. I just have to get outs. Unfortunately today, they wanted me to win and I didn't come through." More Fister delivers again: Astros starter Doug Fister gave the Astros his fifth consecutive quality start by holding the Indians to two runs and six hits while issuing no walks in a season-high seven innings. He recorded 14 ground ball outs and needed only 89 pitches. In 20 innings in three May starts, he's allowed six earned runs and 16 hits.
"It's where I want to be right now, but obviously still some things I want to clean up," Fister said.
Salazar no star: The box score might end up looking at least acceptable for Salazar, but it was a dramatic step down in form after a consistent start to 2016. The right-hander walked five batters in the first three innings. He put as many men on base Wednesday as he had in his previous 14 2/3 innings of two-run ball over two starts. Though Houston only tagged him for the lone run, he upped his WHIP by 0.15 points in an inefficient 106-pitch effort.
"I was overheated early," Salazar said. "I had a lot of adrenaline and was excited to go out there and try to get outs. I had all of those walks and then I got out of trouble, but I tried to settle down a little bit… I was pulling to my left side when I was throwing the ball, instead of going down. It was a battle and I had to deal with it."
QUOTABLE "It's hard when you're the catcher and you're catching 16 innings. I'm sure he's exhausted. He hit some balls on the nose early last night -- well, it was today, but it seems like last night." -- Francona, on Yan Gomes' long 0-for-7 day "What a great atmosphere for us. You go from having minimal energy to an adrenaline rush that can only come at home when you get a walkoff against a really good team, a really good pitcher, a really good pitching staff and we walk out of here feeling a little bit better about ourselves," -- Hinch, on his team's 16-inning win
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDSSpringer's home run in the fourth inning was the 1,500th hit by the Astros in the regular season and post-season at Minute Maid Park.He also hit the 1,400th by the Astros at Minute Maid Park last year. More
REPLAY REVIEWCleveland manager Terry Francona successfully challenged a play at first base in the seventh inning. With two outs and a man on, Jose Altuve knocked a grounder up the middle and was ruled safe at first on a bang-bang play, though he looked out in real time. Replay overturned the safe call in just 54 seconds.
Francona was also successful on another challenge in the top of the 16th inning, when Marlon Byrd was ruled out at first for the second out of a would-be 3-6-3 double play. Replay reviews clearly showed Byrd beating the throw, and the call was reversed.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Cleveland gets a day off before a tough two-week stretch of 14 games in 13 days, starting with the Twins at home on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Josh Tomlin (5-0, 3.72 ERA) starts for the Indians. Minnesota did rough him up the last time the two teams met, as Tomlin allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings on April 27.
Astros: Dallas Keuchel (2-4, 4.70 ERA) takes the mound in the series opener against the Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. CT Thursday at Fenway Park.
Keuchel is looking for his first win since April 15, when he beat the Tigers with eight scoreless innings. In four starts since, he's 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA, allowing 34 hits in 23 1/3 innings.
Frazier, Bradley and Sheffield among top prospect performers Wednesday By William Boor / MLB.com | 2:11 AM ET + 0 COMMENTS
• Clint Frazier continues to rack up the hits as the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-4 performance Wednesday afternoon in Double-A Akron's 9-8 win in 10 innings. Frazier, the Indians' No. 2 prospect, tripled and drove in three runs -- his second three-RBI game this season.
• Setting a new season-high for strikeouts is impressive and doing it against the loaded Salem Red Sox lineup stands out even more, which is exactly what Indians' No. 5 prospect Justus Sheffield did. The left-hander, who is baseball's No. 100 overall prospect, struck out seven and gave up one earned run in six innings for Class A Advanced Lynchburg against a lineup that features the top three prospects in Boston's system. Sheffield may have been so comfortable on the mound because he was pitching with a two-run lead. Bobby Bradley, the Indians' No. 3 prospect, hit a two-run homer in the top of the first to give the Hillcats an early cushion. Baseball's No. 89 overall prospect leads the Carolina League in homers with eight and RBIs with 35.
#TBT: Rare feat not lost on Asdrubal By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com | 12:00 AM ET + 0 COMMENTS In the moment, Asdrubal Cabrera did not entirely comprehend what he had accomplished. The date was eight years ago to the day, May 12, 2008, and Cabrera had just completed an unassisted triple play -- one of baseball's rarest individual feats -- without much pomp or circumstance. As Cabrera left the field, unwitting, he threw the ball into the stands.
There have been 295 no-hitters in baseball history and 23 perfect games. Three hundred and nine times, a player has hit for the cycle. Sixteen players have hit four homers in a game; 70 more have collected a half-dozen hits. But over well more than a century of Major League Baseball, just 15 players have completed an unassisted triple play. Only one has turned the trick since Cabrera did so eight years ago Thursday.
In retrospect, the rarity is not lost on Cabrera. At the time, he had no idea.
"It happened so fast," Cabrera said. "The only thing that I remember is that I threw the ball to the fans."
• Rare feats: Unassisted triple plays What actually went down is this: Stuck in a scoreless second game of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays, Indians pitcher Cliff Lee allowed consecutive singles to Kevin Mench and Marco Scutaro to open the fifth. Both runners went in motion as Lee delivered his second pitch to the next batter, Lyle Overbay, who hit a looping line drive toward second base. Because Cabrera was already headed in that direction to cover second base, snaring the ball was easy. Outs two and three were even simpler, Cabrera needing only to step on second base to double up Mench, then take a few steps forward to tag Scutaro for the triple play.
The only unassisted triple play since came Aug. 23, 2009, when second baseman Eric Bruntlett completed the feat in the ninth inning to help the Phillies top the Mets in New York.
As he ran off the field, Cabrera knew he had done something important, but he thought about it mostly in context of trying to win the game. In part because the celebration in his own dugout was so short-lived, with his team preparing to hit, he didn't realize just how special the moment was until a mob of media descended on him afterward.
"That was when I was thinking, 'Oh, I made a great play,'" Cabrera said, laughing.