Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Indians News

Indians surge past White Sox behind 4-run 8th

Moroff logs tying hit, Santana crosses on decisive bases-loaded walk
@MandyBell02
April 1, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Indians know they will have to fight for each win they get this season. But Monday’s 5-3 win over the White Sox at least proved that they have the ability to grind through tight games and come back late to notch a victory. The Indians’ bats were

CLEVELAND -- The Indians know they will have to fight for each win they get this season. But Monday’s 5-3 win over the White Sox at least proved that they have the ability to grind through tight games and come back late to notch a victory.

The Indians’ bats were silent through the first three games of the season, but in front of a sellout crowd in the home opener at Progressive Field, the offense showed its first signs of life while rallying for a decisive 4-run eighth inning. Max Moroff delivered the tying single and Roberto Perez drew a bases-loaded walk to plate the go-ahead run. Brad Hand worked around a leadoff hit-by-pitch in the ninth for his second save.

Tribe starter Mike Clevinger turned in a dominant performance, allowing just one hit and recording a career-high 12 strikeouts in his seven innings. But the bullpen labored as the White Sox took a two-run lead in the eighth. Reliever Adam Cimber’s two-base error put a runner on third and Oliver Perez came on and yielded an RBI double. Jon Edwards then gave up a two-run blast to pinch-hitter Ryan Cordell and it looked like the Indians’ lack of offense and uncertainty in the bullpen story would continue.

“Well, it's kind of a kick in the stomach,” manager Terry Francona said. “Maybe that bodes well. Because we're going to have to fight for everything we can get. Today was an example.”

Despite the brisk, 37-degree weather, the offense finally started to indicate it could be warming up in the eighth. The Tribe logged a season-high eight hits on the afternoon, but relied just as much on walks as hits to secure the win.

Leonys Martin began the eighth with a free pass to first, Jake Bauers doubled and Carlos Santana was intentionally walked to load the bases. Hanley Ramirez hit a line drive off second baseman Yolmer Sanchez’s glove that scored a run before Moroff’s tying hit. With the score tied at 3, Perez and Greg Allen drew back-to-back walks to give the Indians a two-run lead.

“Playing in this weather -- and again, I’ve said this about three times, it’s just difficult,” Francona said. “It’s difficult for everybody. I mean you saw their relievers were having a tough time today. It’s just nothing carries over. I did think our guys did a better job and they will continue to. And when the weather warms up, it’ll be easier for everybody. Pitchers included. But in the meantime, you just have to fight for everything you can get.”

The Indians not only proved they had the fight, but with a mix of patience and contact, the offense also did its best to show that it may be turning a corner.

“We’re not struggling,” Ramirez said. “It’s just timing. We don’t try to put that negative thought in our young guys that they’re struggling. Keep working. You’ve got to get your timing right.”

The late-game comeback was the Tribe’s largest rally in the 8th inning or later of a home opener at Progressive Field and the club’s biggest since the home opener on April 9, 1983, when Cleveland scored six runs in the eighth against Baltimore.

“That was the first thing I said when we were sitting there just watching it with some of the clubhouse guys. Like, ‘Man, this is Tribe baseball right here,’” Clevinger said. “If there’s anything, this reminds me of my back-and-forth and getting up to stay with the 2016 team. It was like, it wasn’t all these flashy wins all the time. It was like grinding out to the 8th, 9th inning, losing a lead, and coming back, and that’s Tribe baseball. That’s how we’re going to win and I like it.”

Up next

After Tuesday's off day, the Indians will conclude a two-game series against the White Sox on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET. After his efficient Opening Day outing, Corey Kluber will make his second start of the season and his first at home. Left-hander Carlos Rodon will take the mound for Chicago.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.