Cleveland, Ohio — Walk-off wins are becoming as common as 2020 Cleveland Indians’ body temperature checks. Indians are hot now.
Cleveland’s attack, which kept most of the match dormant on Friday, came alive in the ninth inning, beating Pittsburgh 4-3 in a two-point loser and doubled Cesar Hernandez’s RBI to the right. It was Cleveland’s third walk-off victory in the last four matches.
This win extended Cleveland’s winning streak to six and pulled the Indians in second place, one match behind Minnesota, in the American League Central Division with the White Sox. Both the White Sox and Twins lost on Friday. This means that the Indians can rally their home series in wildcard rounds with victories on Saturday and Sunday.
Tyler Naquin took the lead-off walk in ninth inning and scored Jordan Luplow’s RBI doubles. Didn’t get through the 19 foot wall in the left center field. Luplow tied the Pirates’ right-hand Chris Stratton with a middle hit by Delino DeShields Jr. Then DeShields took second place on the wild pitch, setting the stage for Hernandez’s second walk-off hit of the season.
Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said Hernandez was at the plate at the moment.
“If things need you to get a key hit with 2 outs, he was that man,” Alomar said. “We’ll have a chance to run, but the top three players in the lineup have been very special lately.”
Adam Plutko (2-2, 4.88) threw ninth place without a run for Cleveland’s second win.
Pittsburgh right-wing Mitch Keller struggled to find the strike zone early, but Indian hitters didn’t take advantage of Keller’s top eight walks of the season. He scored 1 point at a time with only one score on Carlos Santana’s Double Play Ground. -0 lead.
It seemed to be all the offensive Carrasco would need as he cruised the first 3 2/3 innings he could walk to Pittsburgh lead-off hitter Adam Frazier. At one time, Carrasco retired for 11 straight hitters, including three strikeouts.
However, Josh Bell’s two-out single set the stage for Gregory Polanco to follow his seventh home run of the season, with a two-point shot in right field, reaching an exit speed of over 113 mph. Statcast, and Pittsburgh ahead 2-1.
Polanco was sitting on Carrasco’s first pitch changeup, which was the pitch that helped strikeout right-hander 7 at that point. However, Polanco, who popped right field on his first at-bat, was ready when he saw it again.
Alomar spoke after Carrasco settled again.
Alomar said, “He had a bit of a hard time in the sixth and then double-played it out. We pulled him out for a pitching count and was encouraged by what I saw. He struck out three with eight but still walked three to 95. I’m throwing a dog, pretty good.”
Meanwhile, Keller didn’t allow the Indians’ base hits in five innings, followed by six against St. Louis on September 19. According to STATS LLC, he is the first National League pitcher to have consecutive hit-free outings. More than 5 innings after Johnny Vander Meer’s consecutive no-hits in June 1938.
“He was virtually wild,” said Alomar. “A lot of people said the ball had a little bit of a cutter on it. He kicked out 3 men, gave up 1 inning and went out of 1 inning with 2 pitches. So we got him out of it. I helped a little.”
Pittsburgh coach Derek Shelton decided not to send Keller back in the sixth after throwing 98 pitches, handing the Indians to retired Nick Turley.
The DeShields broke Pittsburgh’s no-hit bid by pushing a bunt to the right of the mound between seventh inning Pirates Lil River Sam Howard and first baseman Colin Moran. Sandy Leon, who drew a one-out walk, moved to second place, with Francisco Lin D’or going to third place with a flyball to the right. However, Leon was stranded when Howard struck Hernandez back in a 3-ball count.
DeShields said they were surprised that the pirates were not defensively aligned to defend the bunt with left-handed Howard on the mound.
DeShields said, “If he throws something on the plate, he can easily get hit.” “I didn’t even know I broke the hitter until I got to the base. I was just trying to do my job, put him in a scoring position, and give us a chance to tie the game with Frankie right there.”
Cleveland scored 9 at-bats with 7 runners left on the base and runners in the scoring position. The Indians reloaded the trail base for Lin Dor, Santana, and Fran Mill Reyes in the third inning, but Keller avoided damage when Tyler Naquin first ended the inning with a ball in Moran’s glove.
Pittsburgh added a run to the eighth inning in rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes’ one-out RBI single. With 17 of his first 21 major league matches, Hayes drove Fraser, who had doubled against Indian left-hander Oliver Perez.
next: The series continues on Saturday with the Indians sending right-hander Aaron Shibal (4-5, 3.99 ERA) to the mound against Pittsburgh right-hand Joe Mus Grab (0-5, 4.68). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm in Progressive Field. The game will air on SportsTime Ohio, WTAM 1100 AM and WMMS 100.7 FM.
New Indian face mask for sale: Here you can purchase a Cleveland Indians themed face cover for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All MLB proceeds were donated to charities.
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