Ten final thoughts for the nine Indians players and one squirrel that were on the field for the Tribe's 4-3 win over the Royals.
1. That squirrel ran onto the field to a loud cheer from the crowd and caused a short delay. Nick Swisher tried to scoop him up with his glove. He said, in Nick Swisher fashion, “I was just inviting him over. I was like, ‘Hey, come on over here, sit in my glove, see what’s happening, maybe chill on my shoulder like a little parrot.’ Tell you what, that squirrel was eating, bro, that squirrel could eat, dude. That was a big squirrel."
2. It ran into right field and rested for a bit while play continued. Then it ran to short left field. Then back again, and then it made a return to another loud cheer. Four grounds crew members then herded it into the home bullpen. Some fans booed. The squirrel actually then climbed halfway up the bullpen wall.
3. Said John Axford, “I didn’t get to see him. I guess he just took off. Hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow so I get to say hi.”
4. So the squirrel is the celebrity. But the Indians played very well tonight. So here's how.
5. Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher finally combined to have great games. Swisher hit two doubles to left-center field—Francona said after the game that when a guy can hit the ball with authority to the other field, that's a good sign. Kipnis hit a two-run home run and a double. And Michael Brantley hit his second home run in as many days.
6. Zach McAllister was his usual, consistent, solid self. He threw six innings and gave up three runs, two earned, and is now 3-0 this season. Ho hum.
7. The bullpen was terrific, again. Marc Rzepczynski, Cody Allen and Axford all threw scoreless innings to close out the game. The bullpen has looked fantastic recently.
8. The defense has not and it hasn't cost them as much as it could have, but it's not good, either. Three more errors tonight, two by Lonnie Chisenhall. The Indians continue their AL-worst pace. Francona tonight said he believes the defense is better than that's been showed, and it'll show soon.
9. So the Indians are still waiting on Swisher, Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and the entire defense to come around from slow starts. But they're still 9-10 considering that, and the AL Central hasn't been spectacular.
10. Salazar gets the start against James Shields tomorrow. That'd be a pretty big win for April for him and the team, all things considered.