CLEVELAND (AP) David Murphy doesn’t know why or how or what happened to fix his broken swing. None of that matters.
He’s not asking questions. He just wants to keep hitting.
”I haven’t felt this way in a while,” he said.
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Murphy hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs as the Cleveland Indians took advantage of outdoor batting practice and San Diego’s sloppiness to beat the Padres 8-6 on Tuesday night in their delayed interleague series opener.
Murphy’s shot in the fourth inning off Tyson Ross (0-2) gave the Indians a 6-2 lead. He added an RBI double in the sixth and is 6 for 8 with a homer and five RBIs in his past two games. It’s a dramatic change for Murphy, who batted just .204 during spring training and then opened the season 2 of 14 in Cleveland’s first four games.
But since finding his ”feel” in the batting cage a few days ago, Murphy has been making solid contact in every at-bat. He’s stunned himself with his turnaround.
”That’s what’s so weird about it,” said Murphy, batting .364 with three doubles, a homer and six RBIs in six games. ”I felt so terrible most of spring training. I didn’t feel like I necessarily resembled a big league hitter, and even in the first few games of the season. It’s night and day.”
Corey Kluber (1-1) bounced back from a rough season debut in Oakland and pitched six solid innings. John Axford stopped San Diego’s rally in the ninth for his third save.
The Indians were rained out for the second time Monday and have endured wintry conditions so far at home. They’ve only had BP on the field twice and have scored 15 runs in those games.
Nyjer Morgan had three hits and two RBIs for the Indians, who will play their second doubleheader this season Wednesday.
Jedd Gyorko had three RBIs, Everth Cabrera had three doubles and Xavier Nady homered in the ninth, when the Padres scored three runs off reliever Vinnie Pestano before Axford closed it out.
But San Diego couldn’t overcome two errors, five walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball.
”We’ve played pretty sound, fundamental baseball,” Padres manager Bud Black said. ”It didn’t happen tonight. We made some miscues.”
With the Indians leading 3-2, Murphy, who had four hits in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota, gave the Indians a four-run cushion with his first homer since signing with Cleveland as a free agent. He batted a career-low .220 – .084 points below his average in 2012 – last season with Texas but is off to a good start with his new team.
”Like I said the other day, it’s one game. Now it’s two games,” Murphy said. ”It’s early in the season, but hopefully something is working here.”
Ross’ fielding error – he dropped the ball covering first – with one out set up the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Ross got Yan Gomes on a grounder to third before he grooved a 3-1 pitch to Murphy, who knocked it into the right-field seats.
Before the game, Indians manager Terry Francona couldn’t wait to soak in some rare sunshine at Progressive Field.
”I’m excited to get out there, man,” Francona said. ”I’m ready to go. We feel like we’ve been cooped up in here until game time.”
Despite getting in some extra cuts, the Indians had only one hit through three innings but led 3-0.
They scored three runs in the third, when two walks, an error and a passed ball by the Padres helped their cause.
Ross walked Gomes and Murphy before Yasmani Grandal’s passed ball put runners at first and third. Morgan hit a grounder toward right that second baseman Gyorko stopped with nice play before throwing wildly past second as Gomes scored and Murphy hustled to third.
Nick Swisher hit an RBI groundout and Jason Kipnis delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Gyorko made up for his mistake in the fourth with a two-run double, bringing in San Diego’s 13th and 14th runs in seven games this season.
NOTES: The Indians scored three runs in the third without a hit, the first time they’ve done that since July 21, 2007. … Indians RHP Trevor Bauer will start the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Bauer made four starts in his first season for Cleveland in 2013. … Kluber is 6-1 in 11 starts following a loss since last season.