Indians pitching dominates in Arizona
The usually offensively minded AZL Indians won a rare pitching battle, riding the arms of Hector Rondon, Luis Lugo and Thomas White to a 2-1 victory.
Rondon, making his second rehab appearance for the baby Tribe, dominated in his two controlled innings of pitching, going two innings, while striking out five. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery early in 2011 before needing more surgery after re-injuring the arm over the winter. He struck out his first five batters before giving up a fly ball out to end his second outing.
The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning, when Jorge Martinez manufactured a run. The Indians’ third baseman hit a one-out single, then stole second base. Josh McAdams would follow with a two-out single, scoring Martinez to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
Lugo replaced Rondon in the third, and while not quite as dominating as the former Columbus starter, was pretty close. After giving up a lead-off single, he retired six straight (including a double play) before giving up a couple of singles in the fifth inning. Both runners failed to reach second, however, as one was picked off at first, and the other forced out at second. Lugo would retire eight in a row heading into the eighth inning before hitting a batter, then giving up a single, allowing his first runner to second. A follow up single tied the game in the eighth, and ended Lugo’s night. His final line was 5 1/3 innings of five-hit baseball, giving up one run, while striking out seven. Thomas White got out of the eighth inning jam, and allowed the offense to get to work.
Claudio Bautista didn’t waste any time in the bottom half of the inning, launching a lead-off homer, giving the Indians the 2-1 lead, which remained as the final tally.
White gave up a lead-off walk in the ninth, the Indians first of the game, and the runner advanced to second on a sacrifice. White settled down, and struck out the last two batters for the save, and the Indians win.
Indians pitchers struck out 16 batters on the night, giving up only five hits and a walk.
The Indians welcome the AZL Angels on Sunday night.
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.