CLEVELAND — The superb starting pitching performance was somewhat expected. The eighth-inning offensive rally to save the day, compared to what the Indians had done in their first three games in the season, wasn’t.
But, it arrived just in time.
After an outstanding start from Mike Clevinger was wasted by a rough eighth inning for the Indians’ bullpen, the lineup answered with a four-run rally in the bottom half of the inning to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Monday in the 2019 home opener for Progressive Field.
The Indians entered the eighth holding onto a 1-0 lead thanks to one of the best outings in Clevinger’s career. Quickly, things unraveled for the bullpen.
Adam Cimber entered the game and quickly committed an error to put the tying run on second base. After a sacrifice bunt, Oliver Perez was brought into face Yoan Moncada, who roped a double to left field to tie it 1.
That led to reliever Jon Edwards facing pinch-hitter Ryan Cordell, trying to stop the rally. Instead, Cordell belted a two-run home run to center field. As if the White Sox were simply waiting for Clevinger to leave the game, a quick three-run rally seemed to be an insurmountable lead relative to the offense struggles the Indians lineup faced in their first series in Minnesota.
In the eighth inning of their fourth game of the season, the Indians lineup seemed to wake up. Leonys Martin drew a walk to open the inning and Jake Bauers with one out doubled to left-center, putting the tying runs in scoring position.
Carlos Santana was then intentionally walked, setting up the Indians’ four-run rally. Hanley Ramirez first lined a ball to second baseman Yolmer Sanchez, who couldn’t make the catch, allowing a run to score. Max Moroff followed by slicing a single to left field to again tie it. Roberto Perez drew a four-pitch walk to easily re-take the lead and Greg Allen followed with another free pass to complete the rally, salvage Clevinger’s outing and take the bullpen off the hook.
Clevinger allowed only one hit in seven innings to go with a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Edwards was credited with his second win of the season. Brad Hand entered the ninth and recorded his second save of the season with a ninth inning that much less eventual than the eighth.
Earlier, the Indians took a 1-0 lead after Jose Ramirez doubled to left and scored via a Santana RBI single.
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