Out pitch eludes Allen in difficult setback
Closer gives up three-run lead in ninth inning
CHICAGO -- The final seven batters for the White Sox reached base Monday night, but Indians closer Cody Allen felt as if he was one pitch away from getting out of the jam -- right until the end of the ninth-inning meltdown that led to a 4-3 loss.
"I never felt like we were out of it until we were," Allen said. "But it's just one of those things. They hit some good pitches, they hit some bad pitches."
Indians manager Terry Francona had as much faith as his closer. As the seven consecutive Chicago hitters reached (six hits and a walk), the bullpen was quiet and there was no thought of bringing in anyone else.
"It hurts when you lose a game like that, but he's a guy that I think we trust as much as anybody," Francona said.
"It hurts when you lose a game like that. You felt you should have won, but if anybody will bounce back, it's Cody."
The four-run ninth inning wasted another superb effort by starter Trevor Bauer, who allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.95 (2 ER, 19 IP).
"I can be a lot better than I have been," said Bauer, who was in position to improve to 3-0 before the finish. "I need to get ahead more. My first-strike percentage is really low. I need to get that up. Hopefully, that'll keep the pitch count low and I can go deeper into games."
The Indians took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Things looked even better after Allen started the ninth by striking out Adam LaRoche looking. That would be the only out he would record.
Avisail Garcia started the rally with a double down the right-field line and Allen then walked Conor Gillaspie. Alexei Ramirez followed with a double to deep center, scoring both runners, and the rally was on. Allen then surrendered singles to Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera (the game-winner against a drawn-in infield).
"I left some balls up, got a little predictable," Allen said. "They're good hitters, and hitting is contagious. They were kind of racing to the bat rack at the end." Allen, who had 24 saves last season, had converted all three of his previous save opportunities. But he also surrendered four runs in a loss at Detroit on April 11.
"It's not been great, but you can sum it all up: It's been two out of five games," Allen said. "Granted, it's not very good, but it hasn't been spread where each one has been bad. It's been just two of them. They've been very bad."