Bottom of order comes up clutch in Brewers victory
PHOENIX -- Shortstop Jean Segura and catcher Blake Lalli each drove in a pair of runs and combined on a rare Spring Training suicide squeeze as the Brewers beat the Indians, 4-3, on Friday at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Trailing by two runs after the Indians struck first against Brewers starter Chris Narveson, Segura put the Brewers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second with an RBI triple off Indians starter Brett Myers. The next batter was Lalli, who executed a sacrifice bunt to the third-base side of the pitcher's mound as Segura sprinted home.
"I knew that if I got up with [runners at] first and third, something might come up with me," said Narveson, who was on deck. "I didn't even think about Blake doing it. That's something we do a lot in the season, so it's good to work on it now."
The Brewers led the Majors last season with 12 RBIs on bunt singles or sacrifice bunts.
The Brewers took the lead two innings later, when Segura delivered a run-scoring groundout and Lalli hit an RBI single.
Indians designated hitter Mark Reynolds struck in the ninth with a long solo home run to cut the deficit to 4-3.
"That last swing was pretty impressive," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's why he's here."
Both starting pitchers surrendered seven hits and struck out two batters in four innings. But Narveson surrendered only two runs to Myers' four, and walked no batters to Myers' three.
"I thought he fought his command a little bit today," Francona said. "It was hot, but he never gives in. He can throw strikes with all his pitches. I think you can see, when you watch him pitch, why he always has the ability to pitch deep into games once he gets built up."
The Indians should have taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning, after Yan Gomes hit a two-out double and exited the game with cramps in his right hamstring. His pinch-runner, Brian Jeroloman, appeared to score on Juan Diaz's single to center field, but the Brewers appealed at third base and Jeroloman was called out for missing the bag.
Gomez and Nick Swisher led the way for the Indians with two hits apiece. Swisher and Mark Reynolds each drove in a run in the top of the first inning.
Up next for Brewers: Mike Fiers will start for the Brewers on Saturday against the Reds, but Brewers coaches may be more interested to see what a reliever does later in the game. Right-hander Jim Henderson, a standout for the Brewers last season, will attempt to put into place a mechanical adjustment to improve his command. The Brewers hope it works, because they are counting on him to be their eighth-inning man. The 3:05 p.m. CT game will air live on Gameday Audio with Bob Uecker and Joe Block.