After finding a replacement pair, Plesac came within six outs to end the longest hitting-free drought in the majors.
“I felt the energy of this happening,” Plesac said. “You could smell it in the air, really. “
Plesac took his offer without a hit in the eighth inning, nearly throwing Cleveland’s first no-no in 40 years, and the Indians held on for a 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
The expected debut of Seattle prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert was overshadowed by a masterful pitching performance from Plesac.
His Cleveland first hitting attempt since 1981 came to an end when JP Crawford started eighth with a line-drive single that just wiped shortstop Amed Rosario’s jump glove. He came on a change that had baffled the Seattle hitters for most of the night.
The latter stayed in the area and ended Plesac’s firing on the story.
“I did some good throws with JP and then my change it worked for me all night so I felt comfortable throwing it,” said Plesac. “But I just turned instead of going through and it stayed on top of the plate, allowed him to put the bat on it. “
Plesac (3-3) lost the shutout moments later when Dylan Moore hit a two-run homer. This put the Indian enclosure into a frenzy to prepare.
Moore’s homer was his fourth of the season and one of the few hard-hit balls all night long against Plesac. While not too powerful, the right-hander managed to induce weak contact for most of the first seven innings.
He escaped from the eighth after a line-up from the deep flyover of Evan White and Kelenic to the left center. Plesac finished with two strikeouts and three walks on 96 shots.
“For about seven innings he’s been about as good as you can pitch all of his pitches for strikes,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland’s last hitting game was Len Barker’s perfect 1981 game against Toronto. The Indians haven’t been hit twice this season already, by Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon on April 14 and Cincinnati left-hander Wade Miley a week ago. Plesac started these two games.
Seattle’s collapsed attack threatened in the ninth after Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase walked three straight hitters with two outs to charge the bases. Bryan Shaw retired Luis Torrens for his first save since 2019 with Colorado.
Plesac got all the attack he needed on the Frammil Reyes and Jose Ramirez circuits. Reyes hit his ninth of the season in the second inning and Ramirez added his 11th AL leader in the third, a two-run shot. Jake Bauers also had an RBI single.
For much of the night, it emerged that Seattle was going to sink into infamy by not receiving any hits in back-to-back home games. John Means of Baltimore thwarted the Mariners on May 5, barely missing a perfect game against Seattle.
The Mariners went on a road trip, but their woes at home remained. Seattle played 16 home innings without a hitting before Crawford’s single.
“Different guys are different things. Some guys are maybe a little too passive. Others can be a little too aggressive, ”Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s not just a blanket you can throw all over the squad, but it needs to improve. “
Gilbert (0-1) lasted four innings, throwing 71 shots and struck out five. Seattle was going to limit Gilbert to around 85 shots and hoped to get him into the fifth. The 24-year-old right-hander threw plenty of strikes and threw a good mix of break-throws to go with his fastball.
“I really feel like I belong here and my business is playing here,” Gilbert said.
Kelenic was unsuccessful in four at-bats. He flew on the first pitch of his first at bat, with right fielder Josh Naylor falling into the stands as he caught the ball in foul territory.
The Indians had 85% of their club vaccinated, which allowed them to familiarize themselves with some of the MLB’s COVID-19 protocols.
It may take some getting used to.
“They relaxed some things that guys are allowed to do and we are allowed to do in canoes,” Francona said. “There are still protocols when you’re at the clubhouse or hotel. There are things you still have to follow. But it felt good to be in the canoe and not to wear a mask. It was like a little naked, like your zipper or something because it was so different. “
Indians: Aaron Civale (5-0, 2.91 ERA) appears to remain undefeated this season. Civale pitched at least seven innings in four of his seven starts, including his last against Cincinnati when he allowed just one run.
Mariners: RHP Chris Flexen (3-1, 3.78) makes his seventh start. Flexen claimed his third victory in his last start against Texas, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs.