CLEVELAND: There seems to be no way to stop the devastation wrought by the Indians’ bench crew.
Monday night it was Jason Giambi’s walk-off home run, giving the Tribe a dramatic win over the Chicago White Sox. Tuesday night, it was huge eighth-inning hits by Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes, rallying the team to a 7-4 win over the Sox at Progressive Field.
“That’s a nice way to play,” manager Terry Francona said, referring to the impact his reserves have had. “The bench has been very productive in a number of ways, and one is that they complement each other.”
Until the eighth inning, the dominant story of the night concerned the major-league debut of Andre Rienzo, the second Brazilian born player to reach the big leagues (Gomes was the first).
When the Sox pulled Jake Peavy from his scheduled start because they were working to trade him — he eventually was traded to the Boston Red Sox — they needed a pitcher and Rienzo was summoned from Triple-A Charlotte, where in his last start he delivered a seven-inning no-hitter against Indianapolis.
He held the Indians to three unearned runs and five hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out six.
“Rienzo was impressive,” Francona said. “He did a very good job.”
Gomes and Rienzo played for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic in March.
“I caught him in the WBC, so we know each other pretty well, and we keep in touch,” Gomes said.
The second hit off Rienzo was a single by Gomes.
“I definitely looked at him going down the line,” he said. “It’s like, ‘C’mon man, if you’re going to get a hit, hit it harder.’ ”
The winning rally took place after Rienzo left.
Asdrubal Cabrera singled with one out in the eighth and Carlos Santana singled with two out to put runners on first and third. Drew Stubbs ran for Santana and stole second, and Raburn delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single.
Lonnie Chisenhall singled to put runners on first and second, and Gomes sent a ringing double to the fence in right-center to score both runners.
“I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Raburn said. “He left one up for me. Last year, I couldn’t do anything right. But right now, it’s like I can’t do anything wrong.”
The Tribe scored in the fifth, when Rienzo became a victim of a sudden loss of command and the White Sox’s 74th error of the season (third most in the league) led to three unearned runs.
Michael Brantley drew a leadoff walk, and Santana slapped a ball in the shortstop hole. Alexi Ramirez knocked it down and made an errant throw to second, giving the Indians runners at first and second. One out later, Chisenhall singled to load the bases, and Gomes walked to force in the Tribe’s first run.
Michael Bourn followed with a ground ball to first. Adam Dunn threw to second for the force on Gomes, but Bourn beat the return throw to first and stepped on the foot of Rienzo, who was covering the bag.
Santana scored easily, and when Rienzo went to the ground in pain, Chisenhall kept running, scoring from second.
Scott Kazmir has yielded little to opposing batsmen in his previous four starts, so it was something of a shock to see him give up two runs in the first inning.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a single, stopped at second on Alex Rios’ one-out hit, and both scored when Dunn doubled to the left-field wall with two out.
“I don’t think he felt like he had his really good stuff,” Francona said. “He also had trouble getting loose.”
Kazmir still didn’t have it together in the second inning, when he allowed a one-out double to Gordon Beckham and an RBI single to Josh Phegley.
But Kazmir retired 10 of the next 12 batters to carry him through the fifth. However, in the sixth, Paul Konerko topped a roller 30 feet down the third-base line. Both catcher Gomes and Kazmir made a dash for the ball, the result being they got in each other’s way and Konerko legged it down the line for a single.
Dunn followed with a bloop single to left, and Kazmir left the mess to Matt Albers to clean up. Albers almost did, inducing Jeff Keppinger to bounce into a double play. But with Konerko now on third, Dayan Viciedo lined a single off the outstretched glove of Jason Kipnis to drive in a fourth run charged to Kazmir.
After the game, Vinnie Pestano was receiving hugs and goodbyes from his teammates, but a club official said he had not been traded. That means he is almost certainly heading for Triple-A to make room for the club’s newest acquisition, left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.