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Indians Indians Archive Padres 7-Run Inning Spoils Ubaldo's Fantastic Start
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

Double Play ballIn his first outing of the spring, Monday in Phoenix against the Athletics, there were things we saw from Ubaldo Jimenez that made us believe there was a chance that it would be him, and not Justin Masterson, taking the ball for Terry Francona on Opening Day.  By the first pitch Tuesday, all of that talk would end when Tito told Masterson that he was the guy.  Cemented as the #2 starter in the rotation, Jimenez was back in game action against the visiting Padres in Goodyear on Saturday.

Everything was going fairly well for Jimenez, who was given a 6-spot by his offense in the bottom of the first, as they took batting practice off of San Diego starter Edinson Volquez.  Then, the third inning happened, and that’s where the whole start is going to look bad on paper.  It’s not often that you give up five runs without registering an out, but that’s how it had to be for Ubaldo, who got no assistance from Edward Paredes out of the bullpen in the dreadful third inning, but we are talking about a guy who is wearing #91.  That's why we don't read much the 11-8 final score of Saturday's game.

After the top half of the third, and the softball-like 13 combined runs, things felt more like real down-to-earth baseball the rest of the way.  Matt Albers gave up a run on three hits, but struck out two and San Diego had an 8-6 lead after the visitors half of the fourth inning.  The Indians bounced right back against Bobby Erlin.

Drew Stubbs put Erlin’s first pitch of the afternoon in play, forcing the Padres to make the play defensively and third baseman Cody Ransom was not up to the task.  Asdrubal Cabrera moved his right fielder over to third base on a double to left, and the Indians scored their seventh run of the day when Jason Kipnis hit one deep enough to center field to plate Stubbs.  So, that’s an RBI for Kipnis, his second of the day, and it doesn’t count against his average; that’s why baseball is better than life, because it’s fair.

After a plethora of defensive changes for the Tribe, which included Jerry Gil taking over the pitching duties from Albers, Gil threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning.  The last hitter he retired was former Indians outfielder Travis Buck, who struck out looking.  That success would not carry over to the sixth inning, as Gil walked the bases loaded and Francona went to his bullpen for Bryan Shaw.  Shaw’s line looked better on paper than it did in the context of the game.

Of course, it’s difficult to pitch with the bases loaded, as it seemed Indians relievers were doing all day Saturday, but a Alexi Amarista sac-fly and Jaff Decker single got the Padres to 10-8, which would be all they needed on this day.  Gregorio Petit hit the only homerun of the day off of Scott Barnes, who came in after Rich Hill, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning.  Petit's blast capped the scoring at 11-8.

What was supposed to be a pretty good pitching match-up, was spoiled by the Indians bats in the first inning against Volquez.  Asdrubal Cabrera got things going with a triple that left-fielder Jesus Guzman lost in the sun, and scored when Kipnis drove him in on the RBI groundout to short for the second out of the inning.  But, that’s when the Indians really began to take it to Volquez, the former Cincinnati Red.  Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana both hit the ball hard for back-to-back singles, and then Volquez opted to load the bases by hitting Giambi with a pitch.

Lonnie Chisenhall’s base hit to center field brought two runs home to make it 3-0 Indians.  Ryan Raburn hit his fourth home run of the spring with two on, which made it 6-0 Tribe.  Ezekiel Carrera, starting in center field for Francona today, kept the party going with a single through the right side, then stole second.  Seeing Stubbs for the second time in the inning, Volquez got Stubbs to chase a pitch on 1-2 to end the inning.

JimenezAs for Jimenez, the first two innings, Francona was, “really pleased.”  He got ahead in counts, which he did in the third inning as well, but hitters battled back from 0-2 a few times.

“I thought it was perfect,” Francona noted about his #2’s performance on Saturday, “his line score isn’t going to reflect how we felt he threw the ball.  I think it was a pretty positive day for him.”  About that line score; 5 runs on 7 hits through 2+ isn’t easy to spin, but these game don’t count once the Indians take the field on April 2nd.

What we don’t qualify as perfect is defined by that “plus inning” where Jimenez didn’t register an out.  It started on a fly ball off of Drew Stubbs in right, at the warning track in the shadows of Goodyear Ballpark’s beer pavilion.  Logan Forsythe ended up on third base, officially with a triple on the play.  A walk to Will Venable and back-to-back-to-back singles by Mark Kotsay, Jesus Guzman, and Kyle Blanks spelled the end of Jimenez’s day.  He left with a 6-2 lead.

He also left the bases loaded for Paredes, and Paredes let allow three of the runners he inherited from Jimenez to score.  Ransom and Amarista continued the hit parade, with San Diego’s fourth and fifth consecutive hit of the third inning before John Baker, the 8th Padre to bat in the inning popped out to Cabrera on the grass in left field.  The first run charged to Paredes came when Ransom scored on a Decker ground out, then Logan Forsythe erased the 1-run deficit on his second triple of the inning, which made the score 7-6. 

The Indians are back in action tomorrow, as they take on the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale at 3:05 ET/1:05 AZ.  Corey Kluber will get the ball for his second start of the spring; Don Mattingly will counter with Josh Beckett for the Dodgers.  Sunday’s game will not be shown on TV, but Jim Rosenhaus will have the call on WTAM.

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