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Indians Indians Archive Swisher Sweet with the Bat; Ubaldo, Indians Win Again
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

Indians WinFor the second time in three days, the Cleveland Indians have taken down the San Francisco Giants in exhibition play.  In what was supposed to be a battle of headliners on the bump, we ended up with Ubaldo Jimenez going toe-to-toe with Chad Gaudin, and not Tim Lincecum, who was scratched with a blister on his right middle finger.  Though Gaudin doesn’t have the hardware that Lincecum has to his name with the two Cy Young Awards, the Indians offense didn’t exactly overwhelm the former Miami Marlin in Goodyear on Thursday, despite the fact that the scoreboard read 6-4 in favor of the Tribe when it was all said and done.

Jimenez surrendered a single to Gregor Blanco to lead off the game, but got Brandon Crawford to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to prevent any semblance of a threat for the defending champs out of the gate.  In fact, he faced the minimum through 3 innings and had retired nine straight before Brandon Crawford hit one high in the air to center field that Michael Bourn lost in the sun.  The ball rolled to the wall, and Crawford ended up on third base with a triple, with one out in the fourth inning.

Hunter Pence’s single brought home the Giants shortstop for the first run of the afternoon.  Jimenez bounced back to get Brandon Belt to swing and miss at strike 3, then Roger Kieschnick flied out to Bourn to end the inning, and we went to bottom of the fourth with San Francisco up 1-0.

The Giants lead wasn’t there to stay; the Indians responded with some offense of their own in the bottom half of the frame.  It began with back-to-back singles from a pair of former New York Yankees off of reliever Josh Osich.  Nick Swisher lined a frozen rope to left field, then Jason Giambi followed suit with a single to left of his own.  A Chris McGuiness walk set the table for Mr. Spring Training, Ryan Raburn to bat with the bases loaded.  Raburn decided that if the food was ready, he was prepared to eat, with a 2-RBI double that put the Indians up 2-1.  Your pitcher of record after all of that: Ubaldo Jimenez.

After Matt Capps set the Giants down in order in the away half of the fifth, the Indians got healthy with the extra base hits.  Bourn got the party started on a stand-up triple to right-center field to lead off the home half of the inning.  Jason Kipnis failed to bring home on a ground ball to Wilson Valdez at 3rd base for the first out of the inning, which may have been an opportunity for Bourn to exploit his speed, but it would have been an ill-advised play on March 7th.

Giambi Home RunThe conservative approach proved to be moot, after a Lonnie Chisenhall walk, Nick Swisher delivered with his 3rd HR of the spring.  It hit the right side of the center field batter’s eye, giving the Tribe a 5-1 lead.  Not to be done outdone by the Ohio native, Giambi hit a tape measure shot of his own, his first home run of the spring, on to the roof the beer pavilion that consumes home run territory in right field at the Goodyear Ballpark.  It wasn’t the best of days for Heath Hembree, who made 39 AAA appearances in the Pacific Coast League in 2012, but he got out of the inning on his own by retiring Chris McGuiness and Ezekiel Carrera.

Another reliever that didn’t have his best stuff on Thursday was Cleveland’s Cody Allen, who did very well after being called up last summer.  He’s looked very good this spring, but this would not be a banner day for the 2011 draft pick of the Indians.

Trouble started for Allen, right from the get-go, with a lead off walk to Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz.  He managed to set Blanco down on strikes, but Crawford, who was 2-for-3 on the day, singled past a diving Ronnie Rodriguez at second base, bringing Hunter Pence to the plate.  Pence’s single brought home Quiroz to make it 6-2 in favor of the Tribe, but the Giants were poised for a big inning of their own.

With a couple of runners on, Brandon Belt sliced one the other way off Allen into the left field corner.  Carrera couldn’t make the scoop in the corner, so Belt ended up on second base and two more runs crossed for the Giants, making it 6-4.  Francona made the call to the bullpen, and the young right-hander’s day was done after 2/3 of an inning.  Fernando Nieve came on to retire Kensuke Tenaka to end the Giants’ big inning.

TJ HouseNieve, who’s been steadily improving every time out, stayed on for the 7th, and gave up a walk to Johnny Monell, but was otherwise flawless in an inning and a third.  TJ House worked the eighth, giving up a hit and striking out a batter, staying scoreless in his second spring appearance.  Jerry Gil came on to work the ninth for his first save of the spring.

Indians fans got a nice glimpse at the future, with another appearance by top prospect Francisco Lindor.  Lindor made an error in the field, but his sweet swing was on display with a line drive single the other way in the 8th inning.  Raburn was 2-for-2 on the day, upping his spring average to .550.  With the victory on Thursday

Pending rain and there's a 90% chance, the Indians will be back in action on Friday, as they travel to Surprise to take on the Royals.  If it happens, Corey Kluber will be on the mound for the Tribe; Ned Yost will counter with Noel Arguelles.  First pitch is at 3:05 ET/1:05 AZ.

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