Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Run, Roberto: Infield hit helps Tribe snap skid

Luplow continues to slug vs. lefties, and Bieber guts one out
@MandyBell02
May 25, 2019

CLEVELAND -- After a season-long four-game losing streak, the Indians needed to find any way to get back in the win column. And catcher Roberto Perez did just that, even if his go-ahead RBI single traveled only about 60 feet. After missing the past two games with concussion-like symptoms, Perez

CLEVELAND -- After a season-long four-game losing streak, the Indians needed to find any way to get back in the win column. And catcher Roberto Perez did just that, even if his go-ahead RBI single traveled only about 60 feet.

After missing the past two games with concussion-like symptoms, Perez stepped in the batter’s box with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and hit a soft ground ball off Jose Alvarado down the third-base line that Rays third baseman Daniel Robertson couldn’t handle, putting the Indians on top in what became a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday at Progressive Field.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Perez said. “... Especially against that guy [Alvarado], you don’t know where the ball is going. You’re watching the game in the eighth and he’s wild … you don’t know when he’s going to throw strikes. I think I got a cutter or a slider, and I was able to put it in play and got a slow dribbler and got a base hit and RBI.”

Box score

The Indians tacked on an insurance run in the following plate appearance, as Jake Bauers drew a bases-loaded walk before pinch-hitter Mike Freeman was called out on strikes. The Indians have now gone 6-12 against teams with .500 records or better, but they have gone 8-2 against the American League East.

“When we play good teams like Tampa Bay, I mean, it brings out the best in us,” Perez said. “We keep telling guys, ‘If they score early, don’t look at the scoreboard. Let’s keep pushing them.’ I thought we had great at-bats against [Blake] Snell today. Those guys are going to be tough to hit. We got to find a way to get on base and make something happen. I think we did that tonight.”

Luplow continues to crush lefties
On a night when Rays starter Snell held the Indians to just four hits through 6 2/3 innings, Jordan Luplow was able to tie the game at 1 on a fourth-inning solo blast to right-center field. It was his sixth homer of the season, all against left-handed pitching. He is tied for second in the Majors in homers off lefties, behind the Rockies' Nolan Arenado (seven).

“He’s that presence for us that we’ve been looking for,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “The way their guy was throwing the ball and spinning it, it was just nice to be tied. You’re at home and you’re tied. One run seemed like a lot.”

Against left-handed pitching this year, Luplow has hit .333 (13-for-39) with 10 RBIs, five walks and a 1.281 OPS.

“Just my approach against them, I guess it works,” Luplow said. “Now if I could do that a little against righties, that’d be nice. But I’ll get there. But yeah, it’s so far, so good against lefties.”

Bieber racks up K’s
The Indians fought back after going down 1-0 in the first inning when Shane Bieber allowed a leadoff double to Austin Meadows, who was knocked in on a single by Avisail Garcia. From there, Bieber buckled down, allowing just the one run on four total hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in five innings.

“They made Bieber work so hard, and fortunately for us, he was up to it,” Francona said. “Every inning, every at-bat, he even said to me, he goes, ‘Man, their at-bats. They didn’t chase.’ But he also hung in there. Again, it was five and it was a lot of pitches [111], but he only gave up the one. I thought he really battled. That’s not a surprise, but I thought he just really battled.”

After his 15-strikeout performance on Sunday, Bieber, 23, became the youngest Indians pitcher with at least 10 K’s and one or fewer runs allowed in back-to-back starts since 21-year-old Dennis Eckersley in September 1976. His 45 strikeouts in May are the second most in the Majors for the month, behind only Boston’s Chris Sale (56).

“Yeah, it was tough,” Bieber said. “After coming off an outing with not a lot of stressful pitches, there was a lot tonight, so I definitely kind of earned my keep. They put together some really good at-bats, and some really tough at-bats all the way through, not just my outing but for the rest of the game. That’s a really good lineup over there, and we just battled tonight and grinded through it and came out with the W.”

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