Murphy's walk-off hit sends Indians over Chicago, 2-1
House brilliant through seven innings; outfielder comes through in first game back
CLEVELAND—When it comes to walk-off wins, nobody in the American League does it better than the Indians.
Activated off the disabled list just hours before first pitch Friday, outfielder David Murphy couldn’t have had a better first at-bat back.
Deadlocked with Chicago in a 1-1 tie in the 10th, Murphy notched a pinch-hit game winning single to center off reliever Maikel Cleto (0-1, 5.48 ERA), edging the Tribe over the ChiSox, 2-1 in the series opener.
“You have a lot of chances to win the game right there,” Murphy said. “Ideally, you’d like to get a pitch up and hit a fly ball. He got ahead of me and I missed a few pitches. Fortunately I got my timing back a little bit and he left me one up and got the job done.”
For the Indians, it was their 11th walk-off victory of the season, tied for the most in baseball.
Not in the original starting lineup Friday, the veteran outfielder was called upon by manager Terry Francona after Cleveland loaded up the bases with one out in the inning. Catcher Yan Gomes stayed hot at the plate, leading off the Tribe 10th with a triple off the left field wall against Cleto.
Since the All-Star break, the right-handed slugger has hit .357 (45-for-136) with 12 doubles, five homers and 21 RBI.
Francona raved about the hustle Gomes gave making it to third.
“Out of the box he was going and it gave him the chance to get to third,” he said. “It made them do some things. As soon as that runs scores the game is over so they had to walk people and makes it difficult.”
“That was great,” Francona said. “All the things we talked about leading up to it about him being a teammate and all things like that, it was pretty fitting to watch him come through like that.”
“It’s the worst thing being hurt sitting in the dugout not being able to help your teammates,” Murphy said. First game back and being in a situation like this and come through there’s really not a better feeling.”
The 32-year-old missed almost a month due to a right oblique injury he suffered back on August 8 against New York.
Like they have since the All-Star break, the Wahoos once again received great starting pitching Friday, this time courtesy of T.J. House. The lefty gave his club seven strong innings of work, allowing just one run on seven hits, walking none and striking out seven.
“I thought early on they were squaring some balls up, but he quickly started working down kind of like his last start, getting below their barrel,” Francona said.
Over his last two starts, the rookie owns a 1.29 ERA, pitching seven innings in back-to-back outings.
“I think he’s learning about himself and what pitches work against major league hitters and things like that,” Francona said. “Every time he goes out there, it seems like regardless of what the score is he gives us a chance to win. That’s a tough matchup for him.”
Taking the rubber opposite of ChiSox ace and three-time All-Star Chris Sale, House held his own. The only trouble the southpaw ran into came in the third inning on a solo homer by shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
“When facing a guy like that who is not going to give up a lot of runs, I’m just trying to match him pitch for pitch, inning for inning to try and keep the team in there and give us a chance to do what we did today,” House said.
“It’s definitely more difficult facing them a few times now. They get tougher and tougher each at-bat especially Alexi and [Jose] Abreu. But I think just keeping the ball down in the zone and kind of mix things up helped a lot. I definitely have confidence going through that lineup.”
Offensively for Cleveland, the club scored just once off Sale in the first inning on a two-out RBI base-hit off the bat of Carlos Santana. The White Sox starter held Tribe hitters to five hits through six frames Friday.
Center fielder Adam Eaton led off the inning with a single on a drag bunt before being sacrificed over to second with one out. After an intentional walk to Abreu, Francona called on right-hander C.C. Lee (1-1, 2.96 ERA) to clean up the mess.
“What’s exciting is that he got his first win which was awesome,” House said. “Coming in with the bases loaded and one out and getting those two guys, that’s big.”
Up next for Indians: The Wahoos look to make it two straight against the ChiSox in the middle game of the three-game series Saturday night. Tribe ace Corey Kluber (13-9, 2.58 ERA) takes the hill opposite of White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana (7-10, 3.44 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
kipnis may have had the worst AB I've seen in a long time last night. bags juiced 3-1 and he chases two balls no where near the plate and Ks.
This is not the specific order of #1 through #5, but it shows a major difference than what was being used in early April
The Indians will have 6-7 quality internal options next year for the rotation. When is the last time we were able to say that?
Not sure what you do with McAllister, since he's out of options and House has pretty much Wally Pipp'd him as far as I'm concerned. Good problem to have.
Here's an idea: Would you spend 12.5mil for one season of Buehrle? He makes 19mil and that's probably too rich for the Blue Jays. Swap with Murphy? Could work out for both,no?
Anyone think the team budget may be less next year. When Detroit does not draw - ya gotta wonder.