July 1, 2016


Indians: Orlando Cabrera delivers the game winner late Monday

By Bob Baum

PHOENIX — The Cleveland Indians know the ball can soar through the dry desert night, a perfect environment to rev up a sputtering offense.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Orlando Cabrera homered with two outs in the ninth off closer J.J. Putz to give Cleveland a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, snapping the Indians’ three-game skid.

The Indians’ Orlando Cabrera greets Michael Brantley after hitting a home run in the ninth. (AP PHOTO)

The Indians’ Orlando Cabrera greets Michael Brantley after hitting a home run in the ninth. (AP PHOTO)

“That’s expected, it’s Arizona,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “Closed roof, open roof, it doesn’t matter. So you better make pitches.”

Orlando Cabrera just cleared the fence in left field after Arizona had tied it on Kelly Johnson’s RBI triple in the eighth. Cabrera came on in a double switch in the seventh inning, just in time to get his sixth hit in 12 at bats against Putz.

“I don’t know if he (Acta) admitted it, but he knows I hit Putz really well,” Cabrera said. “I mean, he probably wouldn’t say it, but in the back of his head he knows if I get in late in the game and he (Putz) came in to pitch. I know I got a couple of hits before, but I don’t think I have an extra-base hit or anything like that until today.”

Lonnie Chisenhall, considered the Indians’ top minor league prospect, doubled, then singled in a run in his major league debut.

“Kind of a blur,” he said of the experience. “It was nice to go up there and get the win as a team. It was a good first game for me.”

Putz (4-3) got Chisenhall and Lou Marson to fly out before giving up the home run on a 1-0 pitch.

Putz said he knew Orlando Cabrera hits him “very, very well.”

“I hadn’t thrown him any breaking balls throughout any of our matchups, really,” Putz said, “and I tried to get ahead of one and missed off the plate. I tried to throw a quality one on the outside corner and, like I said, it kind of hung up there.”

Rafael Perez (3-1) struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth to get the victory. Chris Perez threw a scoreless ninth for his 19th save in 20 opportunities.

Ryan Roberts led off the Arizona ninth with a single and moved to second on Willie Bloomquist’s sacrifice bunt. But Xavier Nady and pinch-hitter Melvin Mora popped out to send Arizona to its third straight loss.

Sixteen Diamondbacks had been retired in a row before Wily Mo Pena’s pinch-hit single off Vinnie Pestano to start the eighth. Johnson failed twice to get down a sacrifice bunt, then after running the count to 3-2 he tripled off the swimming-pool fence in right field to bring home Pena and tie the game at 4.

Johnson was stranded, though, when Stephen Drew popped out, Justin Upton was walked intentionally, then Chris Young and Miguel Montero struck out.

“We just didn’t get him in,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “We have been struggling with runners in scoring position recently. We were 1 for 9 tonight. You have your two, three and four hitter up and they navigated through us. They outexecuted us in that situation and we were in an ideal situation.”

Ian Kennedy went eight innings for Arizona, allowing four runs and eight hits, striking out eight and walking one. Mitch Talbot, still seeking his first victory since May 31, allowed three runs and three hits in five innings.

Cleveland scored more runs in one game than it had while being swept in three at San Francisco over the weekend.

The Indians remained a game behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central. Arizona fell two games back of idle San Francisco in the NL West.

Cleveland trailed 3-2 through five but got two in the sixth on RBI singles by Travis Buck and Chisenhall.

Asdrubal Cabrera’s 13th home run of the season, on the first pitch he saw from Kennedy, put Cleveland up 2-0 in the first.

The Diamondbacks responded with three in their half. Johnson led off with a walk and scored when Drew tripled past a diving Grady Sizemore in center field. Upton followed with an RBI single, then Young doubled to put runners at second and third. Upton came home when Montero grounded out and Arizona led 3-2.