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Rangers 10, Indians 8: Monday's One Last Thing on 20-foot ground balls

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 26, 2015

The Indians, in many senses of the word, threw away their game Monday against the Texas Rangers in a 10-8 loss.

Shaun Marcum was hit hard for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched. The Indians’ offense erased that, taking an 8-7 lead.

But in the seventh, Marc Rzepczynski allowed a score-tying single to Prince Fielder after allowing Delino DeShields to advance to second on a throwing error.

Zach McAllister then turned a would-be inning-ending play into a disaster. Josh Hamilton tapped a ground ball back to McAllister, who then sailed the ball over Carlos Santana’s head, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Monday’s One Last Thing: Sometimes, baseball comes down to a 20-foot ground ball.

Monday was really quite the great Baseball. Fourteen runs in the first three innings, four lead changes, five home runs, including Santana’s which bombed 455 feet.

MORE: Indians manager Terry Francona shares his thoughts on Memorial Day, heroes

But after all that, it was not being able to field a tapper back to the pitcher that cost the Indians would have been their seventh win in a row.

“After it was all said and done, it came down to a ball that was hit probably 20 feet,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And we talk about that a lot. You execute a really good pitch on a really dangerous hitter, you gotta get an out. Zach’s kind of a long-levered guy. Making that short throw, he really has to move his feet, probably more than the average guy just because he’s got long arms and legs.”

MORE: Indians manager Terry Francona gets no respect in his own apartment building

Even though it’s an easy play, that throw is often difficult for pitchers to make in the moment. A pitcher has to transition from slinging 95-mph fastballs into the zone out of the wind-up to softly tossing a ball 30 feet to first base. When you’re rushing, and when it's a key moment like in that seventh inning, it’s a play that should be easy but isn’t.

Still, as McAllister said, it has to be made.

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Pitching, defense fail Indians offense in 10-8 loss to Texas Rangers

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2015

The offense afforded Indians pitchers plenty of room for error Monday, but it wasn't enough in a 10-8 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Both starters couldn’t get through three innings, as each offense got to work early. After the third, there had been four combined home runs and the score was tied 7-7.

The Indians led 8-7 entering the top of the seventh inning. Indians reliever Bryan Shaw allowed a single to Delino DeShields. Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski (1-2) allowed DeShields to advance on a throwing error and then gave up the score-tying single to Prince Fielder.

Zach McAllister came in to face Adrian Beltre and allowed a single. Josh Hamilton followed with a slow ground ball back to McAllister for what looked to be an easy third out. Instead, McAllister sailed the throw over Carlos Santana’s head, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus opened the eighth inning with a home run to left off of McAllister to give the Rangers a 10-8 lead.

Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers was credited with the win and is now 1-0 this season.

Indians starting pitcher Shaun Marcum allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched, including three in the top of the first and back-to-back home runs by Fielder and Beltre.

Santana homered off of Rangers starter Phil Klein in the bottom of the first inning, a shot that was estimated to travel 455 feet, to make it 3-1.

In the second inning, Roberto Perez put the Indians on top 4-3 with a three-run home run to right field. Jason Kipnis made it 5-3 with an RBI double. The Rangers (22-23) re-took the lead in the third with a four-run inning, capped by Andrus’ two-RBI double.

With the score tied 7-7, Michael Brantley put the Indians on top with an RBI double just inside
the right-field line to score Santana all the way from first.

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Indians (20-24).

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Indians manager Terry Francona shares his thoughts on Memorial Day, heroes

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2015

Indians manager Terry Francona shared his thoughts on Memorial Day, what it means to him and what it means to be a hero on Monday.

Francona’s son, Nick, who became the Los Angeles Angels’ coordinator of major league player information last year, is a former Marine commander. Francona was honest in that Nick’s involvement with the military altered the way he viewed certain things, like the time he put aside to reflect on Memorial Day or where his thoughts are during the National Anthem.

“For right or wrong, my feelings probably changed when my son went into the Marines,” Francona said. “Probably started to be a little more respectful of days like this that I probably should have been all along. During the National Anthem I probably think more about things that maybe I should have had a long time ago that I didn’t.

“Back in generations before me, you didn’t sign up. You had to go. And now, that’s not the case. People volunteer. I think that is what’s kind of neat. They refer to people as heroes. But what they are, are regular people who choose to do something that helps us live our life how we want to. I guess that’s what makes a hero. And it’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, along the way people lose their lives and they have injuries that hurt their way of life. It’s difficult to understand but hopefully it’s not just today that we remember what some good people are trying to do.”

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Indians manager Terry Francona gets no respect in his own apartment building

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2015

Indians manager Terry Francona went to the Cavaliers game Sunday night with bench coach Brad Mills.

“He was my hot date,” Francona joked. “That was fun. We had a ball.”

Afterward, he was mistaken for a Kevin Love autograph seeker. Coming back from the game, a tired Francona just wanted to get back to his room. He happens to live on the same floor as Love and was heading to the elevator at around the same time.

“I’m trying to get into the darn elevator, I’m tired. Some security guy grabbed me,” Francona said, laughing through the story. “He said, ‘Sir, sorry, you can’t use this elevator.’ I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m going to my room. I don’t want his [expletive] autograph.’ Kevin Love said, ‘ Hey man, he’s OK.’ So we’re talking, we’re going up, I said, “Hey how come you’re not giving me any security? He’s [Love] not doing nothing.’”

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Indians 5, Reds 2: Sunday's One Last Thing on the starting pitching and the team's turnaround

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 25, 2015

The Indians completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday with a 5-2 victory.

The win extended the Indians’ streak to six games. Trevor Bauer threw 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Sunday’s One Last Thing: The starting pitching, just like last year, has coincided with the team’s turnaround.

The Indians’ rotation has definitely found its groove. Indians starters have thrown six-plus innings in eight straight games. They haven’t allowed more than three runs in seven straight games. They have a staff ERA of 1.42 in those seven outings.

Corey Kluber looks like the guy who won the AL Cy Young last season. Danny Salazar has been lights out with his new curveball. Carlos Carrasco has been solid. Bauer, who had a couple shaky starts in a row, has now made adjustments and is pitching well.

Even Shaun Marcum, called up from Triple-A, gave the Indians a quality start, throwing 6 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs in a 4-3 win against the White Sox last week.

MORE: Trevor Bauer teams up with Lone Survivor Foundation to help spread awareness, raise money for veterans

Nick Swisher said on Friday this is what turned around their season a year ago. So far, it’s happening yet again.

“I feel our confidence is coming back,” Swisher said. “When we started rolling last year, it was our starting pitching that gave us our jump start and that’s kind of what’s happening to us now. Us being able to score early has been crucial, letting our pitchers relax. I think we’re feeling more confident, there’s more cohesiveness.”

David Murphy—who by the way is quietly hitting .321—said after Sunday’s game that is the starting pitching that will have to be the source of consistency.

“Starting pitching is always going to carry a team,” he said. “Offense is going to come and go throughout the course of a season, but starting pitching—any championship caliber team is going to have quality and good starting pitching.”

MORE: Indians-Reds box score

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Indians sweep Reds with 5-2 win Sunday, powered by Trevor Bauer's pitching

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2015

Trevor Bauer continued the Indians’ strong run of starting pitching and the Indians completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 5-2 win at Progressive Field Sunday.

Bauer (4-1) threw 7 2/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits, struck out four and walked none.

The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning off of Reds starter Raisel Iglesias (1-1). First, David Murphy singled to right field to score Carlos Santana, who earlier had doubled. Brandon Phillips followed with an error on a ground ball off the bat of Nick Swisher, which allowed Brandon Moss, who had walked, to score as well.

Another Reds error in the sixth inning extended the lead. With the bases loaded and two out, Michael Brantley hit a hard ground ball to Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Votto made a sweeping play to field the grounder, but he and pitcher J.J. Hoover couldn’t complete the exchange. Votto’s throw sailed into foul territory along first base, which brought home two more runs.

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Indians 2, Reds 1: Saturday’s One Last thing on Corey Kluber and run support

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 24, 2015

The Indians topped the Reds 2-1 Saturday night to win their fifth consecutive game.

Jason Kipnis had the go-ahead hit, an RBI-double to left-center field to score Michael Bourn from first in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Corey Kluber threw eight innings, allowed one run on nine hits and struck out seven.

MORE: Indians didn't hit panic button in April have been a 'different team' during winning streak

Saturday’s One Last Thing: The Indians still aren’t giving Corey Kluber much support, but lately, it’s been just enough.

MORE: Marla Ridenour: Corey Kluber back to being Klubot, and that spells trouble for Indians’ foes

The Indians still aren’t giving Kluber much run support. In fact, no qualified pitcher in baseball has been less supported, with the Indians giving Kluber 2.2 runs per game.

MORE: Manager Terry Francona hopes Cleveland will 'shine' following verdict.

During his three-start stretch in which he has 37 strikeouts, one walk and two earned runs, the Indians are right on that pace with two runs scored in each game.

May 13 against the Cardinals and tonight, it was just enough and it came at just the right time.

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Jason Kipnis’ late RBI double, Corey Kluber’s solid outing lead Indians to 2-1 win against Reds

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 23, 2015

Jason Kipnis drove in the go-ahead run to support another solid outing from Corey Kluber, and the Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 for their fifth consecutive win.

Locked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kipnis hit a double to the gap in left-center field off of Reds (18-24) relief pitcher Tony Cingrani (0-1) that scored Michael Bourn from first base to give the Indians their first lead of the day.

Kluber (2-5) threw eight innings, allowing just one run on nine hits and striking out seven. Cody Allen came on in the ninth and earned his ninth save of the season.

The Indians (19-23) played most of the game trailing but tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Kipnis singled, advanced to second on a walk and scored on David Murphy’s single to center field.

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Indians C Yan Gomes will return Sunday, spoke with reporters Saturday (video)

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 23, 2015

Indians catcher Yan Gomes will return to the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds after a six-week absence as he rehabbed a sprained right knee.

Gomes’ initial timetable was 6-to-8 weeks. Sunday will mark six weeks plus one day since he hurt his knee April 11 against Detroit.

Gomes is excited to return, and while it was nice to get some family time, he didn’t enjoy being out of the lineup every day.

“It’s kind of like a re-opening day. It’s been a long six weeks, just ready to get back out there now,” Gomes said before Saturday’s game. “When the team went on the road and I had to stay back, even though it was nice hanging out with my daughter and my wife, it just sucked. Like gosh, is there anything I can do?”

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On Michael Brelo verdict, Indians' Terry Francona hopes Cleveland takes opportunity 'to shine'

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 23, 2015

A Cleveland judge ruled Saturday morning that officer Michael Brelo was not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter stemming from a police chase in November of 2012 that involved more than 100 police vehicles and resulted in the deaths of two people.

There was concern from many in and around the city of the reaction that would follow from the verdict, especially considering the recent unrest in Baltimore.

Indians manager Terry Francona said Saturday that he did speak with security officials for the game in case there was a disturbance. He also said he hopes the city shows how it can shine.

Here is Francona's full comment:

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