OAKLAND – The Indians took the baton Friday night. Franmil Reyes drove the ball into the deeper parts of the Oakland Coliseum as two members of the ground crew watched in wonder.
“He’s the greatest human being I’ve ever seen,” said one.
That same human ended up in suite 143 of Mount (Al) Davis, the monolith built in the middle of the field in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the Raiders in Oakland, in the eighth inning on Saturday to provide the winning margin in the 3-2 victory for the Indians over the A.
The Circuit left Reyes’ bat at 109 mph, according to Statcast, and traveled 437 feet, landing well above the 400-foot mark on the center-field fence through the open window of a suite. If you’re curious, Reyes is listed at 6-5 and 265 pounds.
“When I hit that ball I thought I hit it harder than that,” Reyes said. “But it was great to run around the bases and get this home run at a good time in the game. It felt good.
Reyes’ 15th Homer helped make five interesting innings by Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.05) to claim his second win in as many starts. It was also to restore confidence to right-hander Emmanuel Clase, who threw an eighth one-two-three after going 0-3 with three missed saves in his previous four appearances, including Friday night’s 5-4 loss to Oakland.
James Karinchak, even though he allowed a run in the ninth, slammed the door on his 10th save on 12 occasions. Athletics leads the AL with eight wins on foot and it’s easy to see why. They made it a one-run game in the ninth on a sacrificial volley from pinch hitter Sean Murphy and had two with two outs when Elvis Andrus failed short to end it. This game was tight enough for the A’s to challenge, but the appeal stood.
“I was really happy for Emmanuel,” manager Terry Francona said. “It was a good round for him. I was really hoping we could get him back today.
The Indians took a 2-1 lead in the fifth thanks to a brace from Cesar Hernandez and a sacrifice ball from Amed Rosario. Austin Hedges started the rally with a single left. Frankie Montas (8-8, 4.37), who suddenly lost the plate, walked No.9 slugger Daniel Johnson on four shots. Hernandez, 0-6 coming out of the break, sent a high workout to right field that looked like a three-run homerun.
But Oakland right fielder Seth Brown came back on the ball like he had played, causing Hedges and Johnson to slow down. When the ball bounced high off the scoreboard, Hedges, who was returning to second place to score, had to fire the jets to get home as Johnson moved up to third place with Hernandez running behind his back. Hedges evened the score and Rosario’s sacrificial volley in the middle gave the Indians the advantage.
“I thought it was out of the park,” said Francona, “but the way their right fielder played it, I thought he was going to catch it. And that messed up our base runners, as you can see. “
Quantrill put his head in immediate danger in the fifth. Tony Kemp had a short hole single despite a good effort from Rosario. Quantrill hit the next two hitters, Aramis Garcia and Mark Canha, to charge the bases with no outs.
Andrus, who entered the game with .371 (105 for 283) in his career against Cleveland, narrowly missed doing serious damage with a bloop along the fouling right field line. Then Andrus did the unthinkable, he sent a ball to the ground at Ramirez, who started a neat 5-2-3 double play. Quantrill reloaded the bases by having Matt Olson walk before removing Mitch Moreland on a volley to the center.
Quantrill stomped and flexed as he stepped out of the mound in celebration. He allowed one run on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“He’s had a few tough innings,” Francona said, “but with goals loaded and no one on the outside he gets that huge double play. Then he pitched out of the jam. . It wasn’t easy, but he did it. He competed like crazy.
Quantrill was asked if he thinks Andrus’s downman is going to turn into a life-saving 5-4-3 double play. “Not until they turn around,” he said.
The A’s took a 1-0 lead over Quantrill in the first straight brace with two strikeouts by Olson and Moreland.
The Indians missed a chance to reach Montas in the first. Rosario doubled up and Jose Ramirez was hit in the hand with one out. Montas, however, struck out Franmil Reyes and struck out Bobby Bradley on a center ball.
The victory was only the Indians’ fourth in their last 16 games against Oakland.
Following: RHP Zach Plesac (4-3, 4.31) will face the As on Sunday at 4:07 pm The As have not announced a start. Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM, WMMS and the Indians radio network will broadcast the game.
New Indian masks for sale: Here’s where you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB profits are donated to charity.
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