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Mike Aviles’ twin daughters throw out ceremonial first pitch in special moment (with video)

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 13, 2015

In a touching moment that reminded us all that baseball isn’t the most important thing in the world, the twin four-year-old daughters of Mike Aviles—Adriana and Maiya—threw out the ceremonial first pitches to their father prior to Thursday night’s game against the New York Yankees.

Adriana was diagnosed with Leukemia in early May. Aviles has twice been placed on the Family Medical Emergency List as he’s tended to his family.

After hearing of her diagnosis, players in the Indians clubhouse began, one-by-one, shaving their heads in support of Adriana. It reached the front office, media relations staff and even the owner of the team, Paul Dolan. The team has also been wearing “Team Adriana” T-shirts. It wasn’t been relegated to the Indians’ clubhouse, either. Players from opposing teams, such as the Kansas City Royals, have been seen coming up to Aviles during batting practice to offer their support.

On Thursday, the Indians and the Aviles family were able to take part in a special moment as a four-year-old girl continues to fight something that no four-year-old should ever have to face.

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Indians 2, Yankees 1: Wednesday’s One Last Thing on Cody Allen’s 5-out save

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2015

The Indians topped the New York Yankees 2-1 Wednesday night.

Danny Salazar threw 7 1/3 innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: Cody Allen enjoys coming in before the ninth, and just tallied his first career 5-out save.

Cody Allen isn’t much for the traditional role of the closer, in which a manager must wait until the ninth inning to get to him. Indians manager Terry Francona isn’t locked into that title either, saying multiple times that if the right situation called for it, he’d go to Allen outside of the ninth inning.

It’s an argument of saving someone for the ninth or bringing in your best pitcher for the game’s most high-leverage situations. On Wednesday night, it wasn’t quite as simple as that, but it was another case of Allen coming through to get more than three outs.

With one out in the eighth, Salazar walked back-to-back batters that put him at 110 pitches and brought Alex Rodriguez to the plate. Because of the 16-inning marathon last night, Francona didn’t want to get somebody up for the eighth that they might not use, and instead told Allen an inning before that he might check in sooner than normal.

“It’s familiar territory. He called down in the 7th, Tito always does a good job of communicating there,” Allen said. “He called down in the 7th and said this might be one of those spots, just giving you a heads up. Was up when Danny went out for the 8th and was ready to go right there.”

More: Indians announce second phase of stadium renovations to include club behind home plate

This just happened to line up with a high leverage situation, but it was mostly Francona not trying to over-tax the bullpen. Still, though, Allen enjoys entering a game in those kinds of spots.

“Everybody likes pitching in big spots,” Allen said. “It’s a big momentum part of the game. If you get a big out it gives your offense a little boost going into the dugout. Give up a big hit right there, it kind of gives their guy a little momentum coming out for the [next inning]. It was a momentum, leverage spot. Those are fun times to pitch.”

He induced a ground-ball that turned into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, one of the key moments of a tight one-run game. In the ninth, he had to work around a wild pitch that put the tying run on first even after a strikeout, but Allen earned his 23rd save and first of the five-out variety.

Allen was hit hard in two outings in April and has been paying for it with his season perception for several months. But he’s also been one of the league’s best relief pitchers, and on several occasions has shown the ability to pitch outside of the traditional closer’s role.

On Wednesday night, it didn’t just save the game for the Indians, it saved the other guys in the bullpen as well.

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Danny Salazar lifts Indians to 2-1 win against New York Yankees

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2015

The Indians’ offense didn’t do a great job of converting its scoring opportunities, but they didn’t have to with Danny Salazar on the mound in a 2-1 win against the New York Yankees Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

It was another game, another quality effort from an Indians starting pitcher. Salazar threw 7 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits to go with eight strikeouts. The Yankees’ lone run Wednesday game came courtesy of Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who got ahold of a Salazar offering in the second inning and deposited it into the seats in right field for a solo home run. Aside from that pitch, the Yankees were off balance for much of the night.

The Indians (53-59) gave Salazar (10-6) enough run support, but it certainly could have been more against Yankees (61-51) starter and former Indians ace CC Sabathia (4-9). The Indians had at least one runner in scoring position in five of the first six innings but couldn’t get a run across until the fifth inning.

Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, Roberto Perez and Mike Aviles each singled. Jose Ramirez moved both over with a sacrifice bunt and Francisco Lindor tied the score 1-1 with a single to right field. Chris Johnson continued his poor night with an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, killing any chance of the Indians taking the lead.

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Indians announce second phase of renovations this winter, includes new club behind home plate

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2015
Concourse

The Indians on Wednesday officially announced plans for renovations to Progressive Field that will take place this winter.

These changes will act as the second phase of renovations after Progressive Field underwent a facelift prior to this season. The team is working with Gateway Economic Development Corp., city leaders and other stakeholders on the final stages of approval.

The proposed renovations are two-fold. First, the Indians are looking to expand on one of the bigger areas of improvement from the first phase, that being the local restaurant additions in the Right Field District area. The team, along with Delaware North Sportservice, is adding local restaurant stands to join Melt, Barrio, Sweet Moses, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Dynomite Burgers, which were included this past winter.
Specific restaurants that could be included haven’t been identified, though the team is looking to continue to feature local establishments.

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Indians 5, Yankees 4: Tuesday’s (Wednesday’s) One Last Thing on 16 innings of baseball

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2015

They needed 16 innings and more than five hours, but the Indians finally took down the New York Yankees 5-4 at Progressive Field in a game that started on Tuesday and ended Wednesday morning.

In the 16th inning of a tied game, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor each singled to put the winning run in scoring position for Michael Brantley, who grounded a single into right field to win the game.

Tuesday’s (Wednesday’s) One Last Thing: There’s too much to cover for One Last Thing, so here’s a bunch of quick ones.



* After Brantley’s game-winning hit, he sprinted into right field to avoid the bomb of teammates chasing after him. Said Brantley, “Absolutely, you do something good, you get beat up for it. I don’t understand how that works, so I was trying to spread it out so they all didn’t attack me at once.”

* In the top of the ninth, Yan Gomes nailed Brett Gardner trying to steal second base. It was one of Gomes’ best throws of the season, and without it, this game might have ended two hours earlier. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “He seems to save his quickest and best throws for when we need them. I think it shows you that a guy that enjoys the moment, because we’ve seen him do that. Those are when his best throws are, it seems like he reaches back and he’s quick and he doesn’t try to do too much. He doesn’t have to. Gio didn’t swing the bat tonight, but he made an unbelievable play at third.”

More: Jason Kipnis' rehab is going well, could return to team in Boston

*And about that play by Giovanny Urshela, which looked like the kind of play that Derek Jeter made famous, only he made it from the left side of third base, Francona brought up another defensive great, saying, “That kind of looked like that Brooks Robinson [play] way back. That was a heck of a play. Especially with Brett Gardner running. That was some kind of play.”

* Perhaps the biggest unsung hero of the night was Ryan Webb, who threw three hitless innings. Said Francona, “That saved us. To think that somebody could go three and not really push it, that really kept everything in line.”

* And, finally, to illustrate this 16-inning, five-hour game, when asked about Carlos Carrasco’s performance, Francona jokingly said, “Who?”

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Michael Brantley single propels Indians to 5-4 win against New York Yankees in 16-inning marathon

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2015
APTOPIX Yankees India_DeMa

They needed 16 innings and more than five hours, but the Indians finally took down the New York Yankees 5-4 at Progressive Field in a game that started on Tuesday and ended Wednesday morning.

In the 16th inning of a tied game, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor each singled to put the winning run in scoring position for Michael Brantley, who grounded a single into right field to win the game.

The Indians led for most of the night but the Yankees fought back with two solo home runs to force extra innings. It included a crazy 10th inning in which both teams scored twice.

In a 2-2 game in the top of the 10th inning and with the bases loaded, Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw went down in the count 3-0 against Yankees (61-50) pinch hitter Chase Headley. He battled back to bring the count full, but Headley finally got the best of Shaw with a two-RBI single to right field to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead, their first of the night.

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Jason Kipnis’ rehab going well, could return to Indians in Boston

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 11, 2015

All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis is doing well in his rehab and could return to the team during its upcoming road trip.

Kipnis went on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 3 with right shoulder inflammation, though it was retroactive to Aug. 2. The Indians, following their three-game home stand against the New York Yankees, travel to Minnesota, Boston and New York. It’s in the middle portion against Boston that Kipnis could be activated again.

So far, the team is pleased with his progress.

“There’s a chance, maybe, depending on how he’s doing, we could maybe DH him a couple of days and then start playing him at second,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We’ll talk to him to see how he feels, too. With all the at-bats he had, as long as he feels OK, and if he wants to go play in a game, we could certainly do that. We’ll probably sit with [General Manager Chris Antonetti] and Kip and see what’s best for him. But the good part is that he’s doing really good.”

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Corey Kluber takes no-hit bid into seventh as Indians cruise past Minnesota Twins 8-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 9, 2015

Corey Kluber took yet another bid for a no-hitter deep into a game and the Indians’ offense again fired on all cylinders in an 8-1 win against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.

Kluber (7-12) was as strong as he’s been all season, throwing a complete game and allowing one run on three hits to go with 10 strikeouts. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, when Joe Mauer ended the bid with a single to left field with two outs.

The Indians’ offense beat up Twins (55-56) starter Phil Hughes (10-8). Carlos Santana gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a double off the wall in right field that missed being a home run by a few feet. In the second, Jose Ramirez brought two more home with a bloop single down the left field line after Jerry Sands had singled and Chris Johnson, making his first start with the Indians, had doubled.

In the third inning, the Indians turned a three-run lead into a rout. Francisco Lindor walked and Michael Brantley doubled to start the inning. Santana made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly to left field and Yan Gomes’ double to left field pushed it to 5-0. On the next pitch, Abraham Almonte hit his second home run in as many days, a two-run shot to center field.

Almonte became the first Indians player to hit a home run in his first two games with the team since Kevin Kouzmanoff did it on Sept. 2-3 of 2006.

The Indians (51-59) have now scored 34 runs in their past three games.

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Indians 17, Twins 4: Saturday’s One Last Thing on Abraham Almonte’s four-hit debut

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 9, 2015

The Indians crushed the Minnesota Twins 17-4 Saturday night.

The 17 runs were a season high, and the most runs scored by the Indians since a 17-7 win against Texas on June 9, 2014. It’s also the most runs they’ve scored at Progressive Field since beating the New York Yankees 19-1 on July 4, 2006.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: Expectations weren’t particularly high, but Abraham Almonte certainly announced his arrival in Cleveland.

When Almonte was acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster deal. Almonte had some major-league experience but had never stuck for long. But, he was a pretty good fielder and athlete and perhaps could develop into a serviceable hitter. He’d been an OK prospect who hadn’t yet put it together.

More: Ryan Lewis: Indians' trade of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn shows they weren't content with waiting

The Indians had said they were looking to give younger players some playing time in the final two months of this season. The deals at the July 31 deadline brought Abraham to Cleveland, and the Michael Bourn/Nick Swisher trade on Friday gave him the opening he needed.

One game doesn’t change his outlook, but he certainly looked good in his Indians debut.

More: Newly acquired Chris Johnson could play three positions

Almonte ripped the first pitch he saw in Cleveland for a double to center field. He later added another double and a single. In the eighth, he capped his night with a two-run home run to the bullpen area to finish 4-for-5.

Per STATS, he became the first Indians player since at least 1914 to have four hits, three of them for extra-base hits, in his team debut.

“That was great,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And I know one game doesn’t define somebody’s career. But at the same time we’re looking for reasons to be excited about guys and encouraged. If you can’t be encouraged watching that … he’s got really good hitter’s hands. And shoot, man, we’re looking to have guys help us. That was exciting.”

Almonte also did it in the middle of a fast-paced 24 hours. Friday night, he got word that he was being called up and Tyler Holt was being optioned down. He arrived in Cleveland and less than 24 hours later put together one of the best team debuts in franchise history.

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Indians crush Minnesota Twins 17-4

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 8, 2015

The Indians’ offense had another great night, only this time they made it count for something in a 17-4 thrashing of the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field Saturday night.

On Friday night, the Indians scored nine runs but it was all for nothing in a 10-9 loss. Saturday’s outburst told a different story.

The Indians scored eight runs in the first three innings and then highlighted it with a grand slam in the fifth, as a lineup with some new faces put together one of its best offensive nights of the season.

Nearly every hitter in the lineup had a productive night, led by Jose Ramirez (3-for-5, three RBI, two runs), Francisco Lindor (2-for-3, two RBI), Michael Brantley (3-for-4, one RBI), Jerry Sands (1-for-2, four RBI) and Abraham Almonte (4-for-5, two RBI, three runs), who was making his Indians debut after being acquired before the July 31 deadline from the San Diego Padres in exchange for relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Almonte was called up Saturday to replace Tyler Holt and was quickly inserted into the lineup. He made the most of it, trying his career high with four hits, three of them for extra bases.

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