Twenty final thoughts after a historic night for the Indians at Rogers Centre.
1. Five-hit nights by designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall and right fielder David Murphy had the Indians delving into the record books and what they found was amazing.
2. The last time two Indians had five hits apiece in a nine-inning game was July 29, 1928 against the New York Yankees. In the lineup for the Bronx Bombers were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
3. The last time two or more Indians had five hits in the same game came in an 18-inning loss to the A’s in 1932. On the A’s roster was Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.
4. It marked a career-high five hits for Chisenhall. His previous best was a four-hit day at Detroit on April 17. Indians manager Terry Francona said Chisenhall probably could have had another one since he hit the ball hard when he flied out to center in the eighth. For Murphy, it was his third five-hit game, third five-RBI game and third three-double game of his career.
5. The Indians rapped a season-high 22 hits and raised their team batting average from .239 to .247. The bottom five in the order (Asdrubal Cabrera, Murphy, Yan Gomes, Chisenhall and Mike Aviles) totaled 17 hits. The bottom four (minus Cabrera) accounted for 14. Stunningly, the Indians led 4-2 after six innings (and had 10 hits to that point) before things got ridiculous.
6. “Early on we swung the bat real well but we stranded some runners, leaving some opportunities out there,” Francona said. “Then we kept swinging at strikes. We went from top to bottom, we either took walks or got hits. Especially the bottom four in our order probably had 15 hits. (He was one off.) It was a good night all the way around.”
7. Murphy wasn’t sure what happened late in the game. “I don't know. Maybe they started leaving balls middle and we just made them pay,” he said. “Up and down the lineup it was a great effort. Lonnie had a great game. Yan had one of the best at-bats I've ever seen in my life. It's one of those games that you love to be a part of. It's nice later in the game when you can just take a breath and relax because you know you're going to win.”
8. Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer to right in the fifth. But the hit that encapsulated the night belonged to catcher Gomes. In the ninth inning, Gomes battled through a 12-pitch at bat against Jays’ right-hander Neil Wagner and ended up with a three-home run to right.
9. “You’ve got a guy who’s catching, it’s easy to lose focus in games like that,” Francona said. “He grinded one away and good for him, he ends up with a three-run homer. Good for him.”
10. Murphy continued to praise Gomes. “Regardless of what type of situation, he's not going to waste an at-bat,” Murphy said. “Those are the types of guys that we love having on this team. It's easy to go up there and take an at-bat off here or there. That can create bad habits. You think of some great hitters in this game that never, ever get outside of their approach. You think of a guy like Joe Mauer. You think of, even on this team, a guy like (Michael) Brantley. He goes up there, takes the same exact approach every single time. That was awesome out of Yan. He could've easily said, ‘We're up by a lot here, this at-bat doesn’t really matter,’ but he buckled down, he fouled off a lot of tough pitches, took a lot of great swings and obviously got an incredible result."
11. The Indians failed to score only in the first, third and sixth innings. The only player who didn’t have a hit was Nick Swisher, and he walked twice.
12. “We talk so often about not wanting to give teams innings off and having some balance,” Francona said. “That makes you feel good when you’re getting contributions all up and down (the lineup). That’s the kind of team we have to be. You’re not going to get five-hit games very often. But just the idea that being able to try to have a chance to score every inning is important.”
13. On a down note, two players left the game with injuries, with outfielder Nyjer Morgan’s sounding more serious. Left fielder Michael Brantley was lifted in the bottom of the fifth because of mid-back tightness. Morgan took over for him, but said he hit his knee on the ground as he tried to field Adam Lind’s double to the corner in that inning. Morgan left the game in the sixth with a right knee sprain and departed Rogers Centre in a leg brace.
14. “It was one of those plays where I wanted to go and dive for it and my knee hit the ground when I pulled up a little bit,” Morgan said of Lind’s double. “I knew I wasn't going to get it. So then instead of doing the 20-foot dive, I just pulled up and my knee hit the ground. I was fine at the time. Then when (Brett) Lawrie came up the next at-bat and hit that ball into the gap, me and (Michael) Bourn went back to get it and on my first step, that's when I kind of felt something. I hope it's not significant. I hope it's not a problem. We have to wait and just see where it goes from there.”
15. Francona said the move with Brantley was “just precautionary.” He said Brantley didn’t hurt his back on a particular play. Francona didn’t get a chance to talk to Brantley during the game, but he wanted him to come back to the clubhouse for treatment.
16. As for Morgan, Francona said, “We need to see how he shows up in the morning. I don’t think we’ll really know anything more (until) he wakes up and sees how sore he is.”
17. The status of both players should be updated on Thursday before the final game of the three-game series. The Indians will be playing their sixth game in a row on turf Thursday with trips to Tampa and Toronto. “That's why I'd just rather play in real grass,” Morgan said. “I don't like this.”
18. Corey Kluber’s line looked impressive despite a rough stretch in the fifth and sixth innings. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on four hits, struck out nine and walked one. It marked his sixth quality start of the season. He’s struck out eight or more in five of his starts and has fanned at least nine in three consecutive games.
19. “I thought he was really good early,” Francona said of Kluber. “In the middle innings he got a little bit flat. When the score was 4-2, Mike (Aviles) made the catch (to end the sixth). To Klube’s credit, he came back with a crisp inning. The game at that game was a heckuva lot closer than the scoreboard showed at the end.”
20. Swisher may have gone hitless on a night when his teammates tore it up, but he was still ecstatic afterward. His daughter, Emerson Jay, who turns 1 on May 21st, took her first steps and his wife JoAnna Garcia captured it on video.