Bourn helps Indians edge Boston, 5-3; Tribe wins five straight
House gives the Indians another solid start, as offense comes through with timely hits
CLEVELAND--The House is a rockin'.
Opposing teams at Progressive Field; don't bother knockin'.
For the second straight night, the Indians relied on solid starting pitching and timely hitting to string together another big win in their house Tuesday.
Deadlocked in a 3-3 tie against Boston in the seventh, Michael Bourn delivered on what eventually became the game's deciding hit. Facing Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller, the center fielder laced a two-run double off the wall in left field to send the Tribe to a 5-3 win.
"We strung together a number of hits," manager Terry Francona said. "They tied it, but we came back. Bourny had a really good at-bat and that's not a fun lefty to face from the left-side. He's actually now 5-for-7 off him."
Coincidence as it may be, Bourn's game deciding hit comes on the same night as his bobblehead giveway to Tribe fans in attendance Tuesday night.
"He's got some nasty stuff," he said. "Just try to see the ball and hit it. I got a pitch to hit and didn't miss it."
Going 2-for-4 in the ballgame, Bourn has now hit in seven straight and in 16 of his last 17 games.
"Trying my best to get on anyway I can and take it from there," the center fielder said. "I don't look for a stretch, I just try to take it one day at a time. When you have a hot stretch, you just have a hot stretch. I approach each game as a different game and make adjustments."
"I think he feels really good about himself," Francona said. "I think he understands the impact he could have on our team and I think he's enjoying it immensely."
Cleveland (29-30) has now won a season-high five straight, having won eight consecutive ballgames in their house of Progressive Field.
"I hope we win everywhere, but it's been really good here," Francona said.
Just 16 days ago, the Tribe sat 10 1/2 games behind first place Detroit in the American League Central. Notching another victory Tuesday, the Indians have now moved within 4 1/2 games of their division rivals Francona and his team has stressed the importance of taking it one game at a time all season long.
"I think that's the only way you can dig yourself out of a hole," the Tribe skipper said. "It can look so daunting when you look too far in advance. But when you just take care of what you're supposed to that day, all of a sudden things can mount in a good way."
Just like in the series opener Monday, the Indians offense wasted no time against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy (1-3, 4.72 ERA) tagging him for three runs on five hits in the first. Cleveland bats struck for five straight hits against the Boston right-hander, with RBI knocks from two of their hottest hitters at the plate in Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall.
As a team, the club improves to 21-13 on the year when scoring the game's first run.
"It's a heck of a lot easier to play that way, that's for darn sure," Francona said. "Regardless if we score first or last, we got to play, but it's great."
Playing with a lead couldn't have worked out better for Tribe starter T.J. House, who gave the Wahoo's another solid pitching performance. Making his third start in the big leagues, the left-hander surrendered two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings against the BoSox.
"I thought T.J. kept pounding the strike zone," Francona said. "Regardless of what happened, he kept throwing strikes and that kept him in the game long enough."
The Tribe southpaw has looked sharp in his first stint in the show, giving up just three earned and striking out 12 over his last 13 innings.
"Whether I did anything or not, just to hold them in the ballgame and give them a chance to go out there and get another W, and keep this streak going was important," House said. "I was giving up some singles a little bit at first, but I was still in the zone. After that we started mixing more inside the plate. Yan [Gomes] called a great game, got to give a lot of credit to him."
Four of the Red Sox six hits against the Cleveland lefty came in the first three innings, highlighted on a solo homer by Xander Bogaerts in the third. The 21-year-old shortstop continues to rake in the series, going 4-for-8 with two home runs and three RBI in his last two games.
House settled in shortly after, recording his biggest out to close out the fifth. Yielding a two out walk to Dustin Pedroia with the Indians up 3-1, the lefty battled David Ortiz for nine pitches before getting the Red Sox slugger to fly out to Bourn to end the threat.
"The more David [Ortiz] swings, the more you get nervous," Francona said. "You can tell by his reaction he had some pitches to hit. T.J. made some really good pitches that he fouled off."
For the 24 year-old House, the moment didn't play too big for him despite a high leverage situation.
"That was a tough at-bat but it was really fun," he said. "I definitely didn't want to give in to him and let him win that battle. I used to watch him when I was in junior high and in high school, so it's actually pretty cool to get out there and face a guy like that and have success."
Landing a no-decision despite leaving with a 3-1 lead in the sixth, House left to a standing ovation in front of 18,738 fans in attendance.
Reliever Scott Atchison gave up the lead in the seventh, serving up back-to-back doubles to Bogaerts and Pedroia to tie the game up late. With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, Francona went to Nick Hagadone to finish the inning.
Called up from Triple-A Columbus Monday, Hagadone (1-0, 0.00 ERA) couldn't have had a better first appearance with the Tribe this year. The lefty struck out three of the five batters he faced, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless frames.
"That was really good," Francona said. "On a night when we didn't want to use [Brian] Shaw, he stayed out there long enough and got the outs and then went back out. That was a huge effort on his part. In Triple-A he had been on a really nice role, so we thought it was a good time to get him back here. But that was a pretty high leverage situation, and he handled it really well."
With Shaw shelved after pitching three days straight, Francona called on Cody Allen to record a four-out save with the lead in the ninth.
"You don't try to think of it as a four-out save or a three-out save, you're just trying to make one good pitch after another," Allen said.
Like the night before, Allen struck out former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore to end the game and record his fifth save.
"It's good to be here, but we got one more tomorrow, so hopefully we can end the homestand on a good note and then take it on the road trip with us."
Up next for Indians: The Tribe goes for the series sweep Wednesday night, looking to win their ninth straight at Progressive Field. Undefeated in his last six starts, Corey Kluber (6-3, 3.04 ERA) takes the hill in the series finale against Boston right-hander Brandon Workman (0-0, 3.24 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INRE House: He has worked out of the pen and is showing himself to be a reliable/steady back of the rotation starter that throws from the left side. That said, the return of Z-Mac..most likely portends the return to AAA of House.. He's done his job. He's been effective & has earned another recall depending on the needs of the club..
Good for TJ !..
I hope Bourn can keep this up. If the Indians faal out of contention at the trade deadline, the Indians might have gained someone to trade.