LIFESTYLE

Indians win in walk-off fashion 1-0 against Tampa Bay Rays behind strong debut by Cody Anderson, David Murphy sacrifice fly

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

CLEVELAND: The Indians received a superb debut from rookie starting pitcher Cody Anderson and mustered just enough offense in the ninth inning to win in walk-off fashion 1-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field Sunday.

Still locked in a scoreless tie, Roberto Perez started the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to left field off of Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen (1-5). Jason Kipnis followed with a single of his own to put the winning run on third.

Rookie Francisco Lindor had a chance to win it, but he lined out to left field, not far enough for Perez to tag and try for home. Michael Brantley was then intentionally walked to load the bases and get to David Murphy.

Murphy worked into a 3-1 count and drove Jepsen’s next offering to center field, setting up a play at the plate. Perez tagged as Rays (40-31) center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught it and came up throwing. The throw beat Perez home by a split-second, but Rays catcher Curt Casali couldn’t handle it as Perez slid into home, ending the game.

“The minute the ball left the bat, you knew it was going to be [a bang-bang play],” Indians manger Terry Francona said. “It just looked like the more Roberto ran, it looked like his legs were getting shorter when he was running. Kidding aside, he did a good job. He got a good jump. He did a good job going from first to third, but that was kind of hold-your-breath time, for sure.”

Perez, not the speedster normally in that game-winning dash position, needed every bit of distance Murphy could give him with his sacrifice fly, especially considering Kiermaier has one of the better arms in the American League.

“I thought it was deep enough. I knew he had a good arm,” Murphy said. “When I saw him release the ball, my stomach dropped a little bit. But when I saw the catcher drop the ball, it was a good feeling.”

It’s the first Indians walk-off win this season after they had 11 last year.

It’s also the first walk-off win since Murphy’s RBI single beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Sept. 5 of last year.

Anderson, making his major league debut on Father’s Day, was terrific, throwing 7? scoreless innings with six hits allowed and four strikeouts.

He became just the fourth Indians pitcher since 1914 to throw at least 7? scoreless innings in his debut, joining Scott Lewis (2008), Luis Tiant (1964) and Ray Benge (1925).

Anderson was a bit amped up for his debut, starting the game hitting 97 mph.

He calmed down and had his fastball in the low-90s for the rest of the day.

This was the first time in Anderson’s professional career that he pitched into the eighth inning.

“I couldn’t really feel my body. I couldn’t feel the ball,” Anderson said. “I just knew I had to throw strikes and that’s what I was mainly focused on, pounding the strike zone. Eventually, I was able to settle down and start working the bottom of the zone.”

Anderson even began to develop leg cramps over his final two to three innings, though he didn’t tell the trainers. He just kept pitching.

“Any time you’re in a big stadium for the first time, I think the adrenaline takes over and you don’t really get fatigued as normal,” he said.

The Indians were held without a base runner into the sixth inning by Rays starter Alex Colome. Michael Bourn ended the perfect game bid with a sharp ground ball to first baseman Jake Elmore, who had the ball go off his glove. That was the only hit for the Indians leading into the ninth inning.

Cody Allen (1-2) pitched the ninth to earn the win.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

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