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Murphy lifts Tribe over Blue Jays on Easter, 6-4

Indians avoid the sweep as Murphy and Brantley come through in the clutch

Murphy lifts Tribe over Blue Jays on Easter, 6-4
Outfielder David Murphy laces a three-run double down the left field line in the sixth. (Photo: Washington Post)
April 20, 2014
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CLEVELAND—Like the day itself, Sunday could be the day that resurrected the Indians season.

Trailing the Blue Jays 4-2 in the sixth, David Murphy lifted the Tribe past Toronto with a bases clearing three-run double, as the team held onto win, 6-4.

“Obviously when you get a chance like that you want to do something good for the team,” Murphy said. “So that was a big situation right there. “Hopefully a day like today is just what we need to get us going.”

Toronto reliever Aaron Loup (1-1, 5.19 ERA) labored through the sixth, walking three straight Indians hitters before Murphy put the Tribe ahead for good with the clutch double down the left field line. The hit gave the 32 year-old outfielder already 15 RBI on the young season, where he is now hitting an even .500 (7-for-14) with runners in scoring position.

“I thought Murph was an outstanding pickup this winter by Chris [Antonetti],” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He fits everything we’re looking for and he’s a great teammate. He just wants to do the right thing and is a great guy to have around.”

Unlike the first two games in the series, Cleveland would get going quickly offensively, jumping out to a one run lead on a solo homer by Michael Brantley in the second inning off Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.03 ERA).

The Blue Jays right-hander yielded two runs on just three hits through five solid innings Sunday, walking two and striking out six. The only two runs he would give up came off the bat of Brantley who went 2-for-3 in the ballgame with a double, homer and two RBI.

“It was an exciting day,” the Tribe left fielder said. “A great Easter present and a great win for the team.”

Brantley now leads the club with three home runs and 16 RBI on the year, where seven of his RBI has come with two outs.

On the pitching side, starter Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.31 ERA) kept the Indians in the game tossing 5 2/3 innings giving up four runs on six hits. He didn’t get the win, but looked arguably the best he has this season.

“Early on he was pretty good,” Francona said. “As he started to get in the game, he was starting to fight his mechanics a little bit, but he competed.”

Carrasco was perfect through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes led off the inning with double before back-to-back singles by Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista gave the Blue Jays their first run of the game. Two batters later they had the lead after a RBI base-hit by first baseman Juan Francisco.

Surprising or not, Carrasco is winless since June 29, 2011 going 0-11 with an 8.25 ERA over his last 16 starts with the Tribe.

Even without great starting pitching, that wouldn’t stop Cleveland (8-10) from winning their biggest game of the season. Lefty reliever Josh Outman (3-0, 1.42 ERA) relieved Carrasco and notched his third win tossing 1/3 of an inning.

Right-handers Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen also threw an inning of scoreless relief before closer John Axford battled in the ninth.

Loading up the bases with two outs, Axford picked up his sixth save getting Edwin Encarnacion to groundout to short to end the ballgame.

“We have some guys struggling right now, but it’s good when guys can pick each other up,” Axford said. “That’s what this team’s all about. Hopefully it’s something we can continue to do and keep that trend going for the rest of the year.”

Despite scoring six runs on just five hits, the Indians are now 6-3 in 2014 when scoring the game’s first run.

“It was a great win for the team, a great momentum boost. We have to build off this and keep it going.”

Up next for Indians: The Tribe plays host to division rival Kansas City Royals (9-8) in the first of a four game series beginning Monday at Progressive Field at 7:05 p.m. Zach McAllister (2-0, 2.04 ERA) will look to win his third straight start against Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 4.34 ERA).

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

April 21, 2014 - 10:27 AM EDT
Fair enough on Cabrera, and yes if he doesn't avoid the out there we probably lose. But just think it's a bit much to get excited about that AB.
April 21, 2014 - 9:56 AM EDT

A walk is a walk. Without that walk Murphy would never gotten to the plate because Cabrera would have been the third out. During his at bat was thinking he was going to K with runners in scoring position. I sorry but he does get the credit of keep that inning alive. If not, the Indians would have been swept.

April 21, 2014 - 9:46 AM EDT

Agree...yesterday was not a good start by Carrasco but a livable start. Better than what we've seen from Salazar lately. Can't just drop Carrasco from the rotation right now IMO....not until you get Salazar figured out. Just not enough depth in the rotation to lose Carrasco IMO. And not sure the bullpen is the answer with him at this juncture.

Actually kind of scary how similar Carrasco and Salazar have been to this point....

Salazar: 3 starts, 14 IP, 0-2, 7.71 ERA, 19 hits, 4 HRs, 8 BB, 17 K

Carassco: 3 starts, 16 IP, 0-2, 7.31 ERA, 19 hits, 1 HR, 8 BB, 17 K

Want both to figure it out but we really need one of them to at least.
April 21, 2014 - 9:41 AM EDT
"Who would have thought that our clutch hitters this early in the season is Brantley and Murphy. Although, do have to give credit to Cabrera in battling in getting the walk to set up the clutch hit by Murphy."

I am not giving Cabrera much credit for that AB. He swung at a ball nearly in the dirt on 3-0, forcing him to have to battle. I mean it was good to see him not give in...but that was a terrible AB that he happened to save. No clue what he was swinging at there on 3-0...
April 21, 2014 - 6:47 AM EDT
There is something odd about saying a player isn't smart enough to pitch in the rotation but this same player would be okay in the bullpen pitching in what would likely be higher leverage situations.

A number five starter pitching into the 6th inning and giving the team a chance to win is a good thing.
matt underwood
April 21, 2014 - 2:18 AM EDT
avory - those stats are from 3 yrs ago, what has he done even remotely close to prove he should be a staring pitcher in MLB?
he doesnt belong in the rotation. period. million dollar arm, ten cent head
April 21, 2014 - 1:30 AM EDT
Of course you're not Matt, because the author cherry picked starts where Carlos Carrasco was either hurt or recovering from elbow surgery. Go back to May and June of 2011 to see the last time Carlos was healthy, confident, and secure in his rotation spot and you see a pitcher averaging 7 innings over 8 starts with a WHIP of 0.94, lowering his ERA for the season to 3.54. Right after that he got hurt and tried to gut out his July starts before he had to give it up and get surgery. Or do you want to simply take the easy way out like so many and simply not do any analysis? Oh, that's right, your name is Matt I get it.
April 21, 2014 - 12:00 AM EDT
Who would have thought that our clutch hitters this early in the season is Brantley and Murphy. Although, do have to give credit to Cabrera in battling in getting the walk to set up the clutch hit by Murphy.

matt underwood
April 20, 2014 - 10:31 PM EDT
"Surprising or not, Carrasco is winless since June 29, 2011 going 0-11 with an 8.25 ERA over his last 16 starts with the Tribe."

not surprised in the least

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