ANAHEIM -- That last pitch thrown by the Indians on Wednesday does not properly portray the reasons behind the team's latest loss.Tribe reliever Zach McAllister watched a fastball soar off the bat of Zack Cozart, who was soon mobbed by his Angels teammates in the immediate wake of Cleveland's 3-2,
ANAHEIM -- That last pitch thrown by the Indians on Wednesday does not properly portray the reasons behind the team's latest loss.
Tribe reliever Zach McAllister watched a fastball soar off the bat of Zack Cozart, who was soon mobbed by his Angels teammates in the immediate wake of Cleveland's 3-2, 13-inning loss in walk-off fashion. It was the Indians' lineup, however, that was the real culprit in the defeat, as was the case for the bulk of the season-opening road trip.
"We can definitely improve," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "It's just a matter of us continuing to work, continuing to take good at-bats the right way, continuing to do your pregame stuff the right way. It will be there. The results will be there. The guys aren't hitting, but our pitching staff is doing a great job. They are doing a great job."
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That was true for ace Corey Kluber, who took a hard-luck loss despite spinning a complete game on Opening Day and then walked away with a no-decision for his work on Wednesday. The right-hander held the Angels to two runs over seven innings, in which he struck out six, walked two and only flinched once.
It was also true for Cleveland's bullpen, which had two pitchers (closer Cody Allen and righty Nicholas Goody) log multi-inning outings, while getting key outs from relief ace Andrew Miller and lefty Tyler Olson as well. McAllister -- in an attempt to save starter Carlos Carrasco from being pressed into emergency duty -- took the mound for the third game in a row.
"Being a competitor, you want the ball," McAllister said. "You want to be out there."
Thanks to another tough day in the batter's box for the majority of Cleveland's hitters, the few mistakes made on the mound were magnified.
Kluber was on the hook for a game-tying home run by Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, who electrified the crowd with his two-run shot in the fifth (his second shot in as many games). McAllister took the loss for his ill-fated fastball to Cozart, who sent it over the wall in left to end a battle of bullpens.
"Fastball is my best pitch," McAllister said. "Yeah, he saw a decent amount that at-bat, but I thought the one right before that he just barely got it. I thought if I could do something like that again, hopefully he'd swing and miss. He definitely didn't miss it."
McAllister was not even supposed to pitch Wednesday, but the lack of support from the Indians' lineup made it necessary. Against lefty Tyler Skaggs, Cleveland struck for just one run in the first and another in the fifth. After Jason Kipnis' two-out RBI single ended Skaggs' part in the game, the Tribe went 2-for-27 the rest of the day.
During the 2-4 swing through Seattle and Anaheim, the Indians' offense posted a .161/.264/.338 slash line to go along with 21 runs total. Twelve of those runs came within the Tribe's two wins on the trip.
"That's part of it," Kluber said of the low run support. "There are going to be times throughout the year when they're gonna pick me up when I don't do my job that great. That's part of it. If you start to get frustrated with that sort of thing, then you're worried about things that are out of your control."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Simmons sets up Ohtani: Desperate for baserunners, the Angels' Andrelton Simmons beat out a bunt down the third-base line with one out in the fifth inning. It was the Angels' first hit of the game off Kluber, who held Los Angeles to an 0-for-13 showing up to that point. Two batters later, Ohtani blasted his home run.
"He was terrific," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. "He had a bunt hit and a home run and a double. Other than that, he was flawless. We just weren't able to put much on the board."
Zimmer halts rally: After Ohtani's shot, Angels catcher Martin Maldonado drilled a pitch from Kluber off the wall in center. Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer snared the ball with his bare hand off the carom and fired a pinpoint throw to Lindor at second base. The shortstop applied the tag on Maldonado, whose would-be double turned into a rally-killing out.
"That was a great play," Francona said. "His awareness to not just make the play, but come up and know that he's got a throw -- he's good. He's good out there."
"I'm looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd. I'm looking forward to being in my locker room and the familiar dugout and all that stuff. I'm not looking forward to the weather, but I'm looking forward to everything else." --Lindor, on returning to Cleveland
"As a club right now, we don't have anybody hot. We certainly had chances. We'd get some runners on base. We just couldn't get a big hit. It certainly made it hard on this trip, or today, but they're good hitters. The hope is they all get hot at the same time. That'll be terrific." --Francona
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Allen worked two shutout innings, covering the ninth and 10th against the Angels. It marked the ninth time in his career that he logged two scoreless frames and the first occurrence since July 9, 2016, against the Yankees.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Angels tried to get Lindor's stolen base with two outs in the fifth inning overturned, but the play stood. Kipnis then followed with an RBI single, and Skaggs was removed from the game with Cleveland holding a 2-0 lead.
The Indians will open their 2018 home schedule on Friday, when Carrasco takes the mound in front of a sellout crowd at Progressive Field for a 4:10 p.m. ET clash with the rival Royals. Carrasco won 18 games in '17 and finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.