By Brendan Ward
The Cleveland Indians looked to rebound Saturday after the loss last night at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron Civale would go six full innings, striking out six, and allowing one run. The bullpen would surrender the lead in relief of Civale, however the ninth inning heroics from Oscar Mercado and César Hernández would lead to a 4-3 walk off win for the Indians.
Civale started the night surrendering a walk to Ben Gamel to give the Brewers their first base runner of the game. Despite the walk, Civale got out of the inning quickly, forcing Keston Hiura to hit into a double play, prior to getting Christian Yelich to ground out at first.
In the bottom, Hernández hit a lead-off single to start the Indians out on offense. A Francisco Lindor walk one batter later put Hernández in scoring position at second. Nonetheless, Brewers’ starter Brandon Woodruff was able to get two quick flyouts from Carlos Santana and Franmil Reyes to end the inning.
The second inning began to settle down Civale in the game, sitting down all three batters in order to end the top. In turn, a Tyler Naquin walk was the only offense the Indians would be able to mount in the bottom of the inning.
An Omar Narváez single opened up the third inning against Civale. Following the single, Civale was able to strikeout Luis Urias before getting Jace Peterson to ground into a force of Narváez at second for the first two outs of the inning. After Peterson stole second, Civale struckout Gamel for the third out.
José Ramírez hit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, before Lindor and Santana both flew out for a quick home half of the third inning.
The Brewers struck first in the fourth,with Civale hitting Keston Hiura with a pitch to lead-off the inning. After striking out Yelich for the first out, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first advanced Hiura to second.
With Hiura in scoring position, Civale struck out Ryan Braun for the second out of the fourth. In the next at-bat Brewers slugger Daniel Vogelback blasted a double to the right field corner, bringing in the first run of the game.
In the Bottom of the fourth, the Indians looked to rebound from the run allowed. However, Woodruff would strike out all three batters to keep the lead.
In the fifth, Civale returned to form, as he sat the Brewers down in order to keep the one run deficit headed to the bottom of the fifth.
The Indians would finally strike in the fifth as they added three runs to take the lead. A Sandy León strikeout opened the inning, before Mercado walked to put the tying run at first. In the next at-bat, Hernández lined a double to center field, bringing in Mercado from first to tie the game.
Following up the double by Hernández, Ramírez turned on a ball, sending it over the right field wall for a two-run shot that gave the Indians a 3-1 lead. The home run would mark the final straw for Woodruff, as the Brewers turned to Freddy Peralta in relief, who surrendered two walks before getting out of the inning.
Looking to preserve his lead, Civale came out for his final inning in the sixth, surrendering a lead-off home run to Hiura to cut the lead to one. A Yelich grounder would lead to the first out, before a Braun triple and Vogelbach walk put runners on the corners.
With two on and one out in the inning, Civale had to battle to preserve his lead. Striking out Orlando Arcia before a Narváez walk loaded the bases. Facing even more danger with two outs in the inning, Civale would force Urias into a grounder to second to end his outing.
Two quick outs of Josh Naylor and León would open the bottom of the sixth for Brewers’ reliever Peralta. Oscar Mercado would work himself all the way to third in the inning, walking in his at-bat, prior to stealing second and a balk that advanced him to third. To no avail, as Hernández would strike out swinging to end the inning.
Cal Quantrill came in for Civale to start the seventh inning, getting two quick outs of Peterson and Gamel to get things going defensively. However, a Yelich single and Braun reaching on a catcher interference, marked the end for Quantrill.
With the tying run at second, the Indians turned to Nick Wittgren to get Quantrill out of the jam. Wittgren obliged, striking out Vogelbach to hold the Brewers scoreless in the inning, preserving the lead.
After Peralta’s extended outing, the Brewers would turn to Devin Williams in relief to try and keep the Indians’ lead at one. Williams would go on to sit the Indians down in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Wittgren returned to the mound to open up the eighth, surrendering the lead on a lead-off home run off the bat of Arcia. With the game now tied, Wittgren would get three straight outs to get the Indians out of the inning.
The lead was lost, and it was time for the Indians offense to find a way in the bottom of the eight. However the efforts would come to naught, as Naylor reaching on a catcher interference would be the only base runner produced by the Tribe.
Needing to keep the game tied to give themselves a chance at a walk-off win, the Indians would send Brad Hand to the mound to open the ninth. Hand surrendered a lead-off double to Tyrone Taylor, who was pinch-hitting for Gamel before striking out Hiura in the next at-bat to keep Taylor at second.
With one out, Yelich would send a single to center field that was sure to send Taylor home for the lead. However, Mercado was able to get to the ball quickly holding Taylor at third to preserve the tie. Hand would strike out Braun for the second out, before getting Vogelbach’s replacement Mark Matthias to pop up to send it to the bottom of the ninth.
Josh Hader would come in for the Brewers to silence the hope the Indians offense had at a walk-off. However, Oscar Mercado would open the inning with a double over Yelich before a wild pitch would put him at third with zero outs still in the inning.
Looking to avoid a squeeze with nobody out and Mercado on third, the Brewers would send five guys to the infield defensively, as Hader would face Hernández. However, Hernández would look to capitalize on the close defense, and he did just that, sending a single between shortstop and third to bring in Mercado for the Indians’ 4-3 walk-off win.
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.