Do You Believe In Miracles?! Indians Walk-Off 4–3 in the Ninth as Pirates sink
The Cleveland Indians came into the final weekend’s first game riding a five game winning streak. The Pittsburgh Pirates had won three straight contests. Something would have to give.
And so gave the Pirates in a stunning loss, as Cleveland scored three runs in the ninth inning to walk-off the Pirates 4–3.
Carlos Carrasco started the game off with a walk to Adam Frazier but got out of the first inning without further trouble, striking out Colin Moran and 2019 All-Star Josh Bell.
Mitch Keller then walked the first three batters of the game, only throwing three strikes on 15 pitches. He eventually got a double play courtesy of Carlos Santana, but the Indians still scored a run before the inning ended and then a groundout by Franmil Reyes to Keller a pitch later.
The Tribe continued to make noise in other innings, like having the bases loaded in the third, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities given to them.
With darkness setting in and the temperature cooling, the bats for both teams went quiet into the night. Following Keller’s near first inning disaster, he was saved from trouble on a two-out liner by Delino DeShields in the second inning that Gregory Polanco snared in the corner.
Then, the Pirates woke up in the fourth inning, as Josh Bell collected the team’s first hit and promptly followed by a two-run screamer by Polanco into the right field seats going for 388 feet.
On the night, Carrasco went six innings giving up three hits, three walks and two earned runs with eight strikeouts on 94 pitches
For Keller, he lasted five innings, giving up no hits, eight walks and one earned run to go with three strikeouts on 98 pitches.
The Indians finally got a spark in the seventh. With Sandy Leon on first following a one-out walk. Delino DeShields laid down a perfect bunt with Moran and reliever Sam Howard both going for the ball, and DeShields hustled down to first to break up a no-hitter.
With two down and Leon and DeShields on the corners in the same inning, Cesar Hernandez struck out. The pitch before Hernandez thought was a ball, which would have loaded the bases for Jose Ramirez.
In the eighth, Adam Frazier doubled and then rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes hit an RBI double to extend the lead to 3–1.
One more spark was lit in the ninth, as Tyler Naquin walked and was doubled in by Jordan Luplow, an ex-Pirate, to pull within a run with nobody out. Following Luplow’s double, Tyler Freeman pinch hit for Sandy Leon and struck out.
And then DeShields, who broke up the no hitter, delivered a game tying RBI single to bring Francisco Lindor to the plate, who had three walks and a flyout to right field, and he yet again flied out, leaving it to Cesar Hernandez to walk it off.
DeShields advanced to second on a wild pitch, just getting under the tag, and then it happened.
On a 3–2 pitch, Hernandez delivered a walk-off double down the right field line, as the Indians walked off for the fourth time this year.
On a night the Twins and White Sox lost, the Indians Desperately needed a win and when all seemed lost, they made the city believe again.
— — — Tidbits — — —
Leaving two No-No’s in a row
Keller’s last two starts resulted in him leaving with a no hitter intact. The last pitcher to do that in National League history was John Vander Meer for the Reds in 1938, when Vander Meer pitched two consecutive no-hitters.
Wild Card Rotation
The Indians rotation for the Wild Card Series, set to begin Tuesday, is slated to be Shane Bieber Tuesday, while Zach Plesac currently lines up for Game Two Wednesday and Carlos Carrasco if necessary for Game 3. Beyond Bieber, neither starter’s start date has been confirmed.
Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie will be available from the bullpen throughout the series.