Solid starting pitching ruled all play Wednesday in the Indians doubleheader sweep/split against/over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Progressive Field.
After Indians Game 1 starter Trevor Bauer set the tone against his former team with a career-high eight innings, Tribe spot starter Josh Tomlin and Diamondbacks rookie spot starter Andrew Chafin took it a step further, each turning in at least five scoreless innings.
After the Indians claimed the first game via the long ball on rookie Zack Walters’ walk-off home run in the ninth inning, the Dbacks took the nightcap 1-0 in 12 innings with a little small ball to split the doubleheader.
Tribe reliever C.C. Lee issued a walk to lead off man Alfredo Marte, Didi Gregorius sacrificed him to second with a bunt and Tuffy Gosewisch singled up the middle to score the game’s only run. A Lonnie Chisenhall two-out pinch-hit double gave the Tribe hope, but Jason Kipnis struck out to end the four-hour and 16-minute game.
Long before the late offense, pitching ruled the game – beginning with the game’s starters.
Chafin, a Kent State product and Ohio native, made sure the trip made by 50 of his closest friends and family members was well worth it. The left-hander scattered three hits, issued two harmless walks and struck out three with 59 of his 101 pitches going for strikes in a memorable major league debut.
Not to be outdone, Tomlin looked a lot more like the guy who nearly no hit the host Seattle Mariners June 28 than the struggling starter who recently had to be moved to the bullpen.
He cruised through the first 5 1/3 innings, needing a mere 50 pitches. But due to some recent arm fatigue and not being stretched out since joining the ‘pen, the right-hander was on a strict pitch limit.
Prior to the winning rally in extra innings, the best scoring opportunity in regulation came in the eighth inning. The visitors loaded the bases with two outs against a combination of three Tribe relievers before the final hurler of the inning - former Diamondback Bryan Shaw - coaxed Miguel Montero to bounce into the inning-ending fielder’s choice force out to strand the bases loaded.