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Indians Indians Archive Hot Corner Bats Cook Up 13-5 Win Over Cubs
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

McAllisterThough only Lonnie Chisenhall was starting at third base in Mesa, Arizona on Monday, across the diamond, it’s still fair to brand Mark Reynolds with that distinction as a defensive player.  Having said that, the Indians sure have to appreciate the production they saw out of the third base position, who had their way with Cubs pitching in a 13-5 rout of the lovable losers.

Chisenhall got the party started in the first inning off Cubs starter Alberto Cabrera, today's losing pitcher, with a two-out home run over both bullpens in right field at HoHoKam Park, to give the visiting Tribe a 1-0 lead before the Cubs came to bat in the first inning.  It was Chisenhall’s second bomb of the spring, and the beginning of a great day at the dish for the former top prospect in the Indians organization.  He added an RBI double in the third, then finished his day off with a single that brought home another run to give the Indians a 6-2 advantage in the fourth inning.

Mark Reynolds was not to be outdone by his younger counterpart, as he got things going with a lead-off dinger in the Tribe half of the second inning, and then added a double of his own in the third.  Reynolds went down swinging in the fourth inning, and he’s prone to do that from time to time, but he wasn’t going down alone; he took Chisenhall down with him.  With Swisher and Chisenhall running for the double steal with one out, Reynolds swings at Brooks Raley’s pitch for the third strike and Chisenhall is ruled out at second on the batter’s interference call on Reynolds.  At that point, it was already 8-2.

Carlos Carrasco, one of many candidates to earn one of the open spots at the bottom of the rotation, looked much better the second time around.  In his first outing, on February 24th, Carrasco allowed four runs on four hits over the span of 14 pitches in one inning of work against the Brewers.  Against a different NL Central foe, on Monday, he was mostly outstanding.

Carrasco scareThe first batter he faced, former Indians utility-man Luis Valbuena, struck out swinging, bringing up Darnell McDonald.  McDonald’s line drive up the middle caused quite a scare, drilling Carrasco in what appeared to be the shoulder and then possibly the head.  His manager confirmed after the game that it hit him in the glove first, and that it didn’t even leave a mark.

“We made him pass every test there was,” Francona replied when asked about Carrasco’s readiness after the scare, “We quizzed him on the mound and he took a while.  Even after inning, we took him to the clubhouse and really put him through a pretty good rundown of stuff.  If we were going to err, we were going to err on the side of caution.”

What’s overlooked and remarkable about that play is that the 19 year-old phenom shortstop, who was with the big club to play “all 9” today, retrieved the ricochet and threw to Reynolds at first to retire the Cubs center fielder.  Team trainers looked at Carrasco for a few minutes, but he threw some warm-up tosses, and was geared to retire Scott Hairston for a 1-2-3 first inning.

SorianoPitching with a 1-0 lead in the second, Carrasco may not have been quite as sharp.  After his second pitch of the at-bat to Alfonso Soriano, the game was tied.  Soriano’s was one of five hit out of the park today, but the Indians got right back at it in the top half of the next frame.  Sandwiched between RBI doubles from Chisenhall and Reynolds, Nick Swisher had an RBI single of his own.  By the time Carrasco took the mound in the third, he had a 5-2 lead.  He gave up two hits, but the Cubs stranded them, and his day was done.

However, Francona’s offense was far from being done.  It was the Cubs defense that ignited that 4th inning rally.  Catcher Omir Santos reached first and was awarded second on Junior Lake’s throwing error, then scored on Drew Stubbs double.  Stubbs was 2-for-4 on the day with a double, a triple, and 3 RBI.  Jason Kipnis singled and stole a base to set himself up to score the Indians 3rd run of the inning, before the strikeout & batter’s interference call ended the inning.

Zach McAllister spelled Carrasco, who got his first win of 2013 Cactus League play, for the home half of the fourth.  He surrendered a two-out hit to Jorge Soler in the fourth, but retired the last seven batters he faced in three innings of a 1-hit work.  After a shaky outing in Surprise against the Rangers on Thursday, this was a good rebound performance for McAllister, who figures to be in the rotation, but nothing is cast in stone on March 4th.

Dale Sveum went to his minor league camper, Tyrelle Harris in the 6th, and the Indians did not welcome him kindly.  After walking Chisenhall, Nick Swisher took Harris’s 2-0 offering over the right field wall.  Catcher Brian Jeroloman joined the hit parade later in the inning, brining Matt Carson home from third, making it 13-2.

Trevor Bauer would get the save for working an effective 7th, 8th, and 9th, but gave up three runs in the process, including an eighth inning home run off the bat of Johermyn Chavez on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning.  He gave up two runs in the 7th, one of them earned, but you could say it was his own doing.  He walked Soler with one out in the inning, and then gave him second base on a wild pitch that got a few feet away from Jeroloman behind the plate.  Soler scored the Cubs third run of the game on a double that Cedric Hunter, who had two terrific diving catches on Monday, made into a triple with a fielding error.

Bauer pitched a perfect ninth to close it out.  With the win, the Indians are now 7-5 on the spring.  Lindor was 2-for-4 at the plate, and the shortstop of the future fielded his position well with 4 putouts and 3 assists.

The Indians are in action, once again, on Tuesday in Scottsdale, where they will take on the World Champion San Francisco Giants at 3:05 ET/1:05 AZ.  For Bruce Bochy, it will be Madison Bumgarner throwing the first pitch; Francona will counter with Daisuke Matsusaka.

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