Rain-shortened win a happy occasion for Indians
CLEVELAND -- The Astros threw the ball around in the bottom of the fourth, allowing the Indians to take a 2-1 lead.
The rains came in the bottom of the seventh, and the Indians players sauntered back to the clubhouse.
At that point, did they start doing their best Eric Clapton by saying to themselves, ‘Let it rain’?
Nick Swisher heard the question. He paused. He winked. And he said, “Maybe.”
Because a win, any win, means so much at this point of the season. With eight games left, the Indians have 84. With Texas’ loss and their win, the Indians moved into one of the wild card spots. So they’ll take the win Friday night, even if it was in game that was called between innings in the seventh. A game with wild card implications and playoff possibilities at stake was called due to a heavy downpour that hit at 9:12 p.m.
“There was no break,” said manager Terry Francona. “We were prepared to stay here as long as we needed to, but it didn’t look like a very good forecast.”
He then pointed out the decision was in the hands of Major League Baseball and the umpires.
“Wins are wins,” said starting pitcher Zach McAllister. “It doesn’t matter how they come. To be where we are, you can’t ask for anything better."
“Regardless of how we got it, it’s all about the Ws at this point,” said Nick Swisher. “If we keep winning the season keeps going and hopefully everybody in Cleveland gets a little bit happier.”
Swisher contributed to that for Saturday’s game by paying for fireworks, which always draws a crowd. Friday, the crowd cheered during the delay as it watched Baltimore score on Tampa Bay on the big screen, then cheered louder when the game was called. For the Indians, every game is close to a playoff game.
Which is why they’ll take it no matter how they get it.
Friday’s two runs scored when Houston third baseman Brandon Laird could not handle Mike Aviles’ hard shot right at him in the second with the bases loaded.
The run in the fourth scored on Chris Carter’s throwing error.
It wasn’t pretty offense, but it was less pretty defense, and it was enough to support good pitching. McAllister gave up a home run in five innings, and Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw closed out the last two innings.
“We didn’t do a whole lot with (the pitching),” Francona said. “But fortunately it was enough.”
“Any way we can,” Francona said.
It might not be received well in Tampa or Texas or Baltimore, but except for a brief break after the game was called, the rain was steady and the forecast had it continuing for hours.
So the Indians will gladly a win that followed an extra-inning win the night before.
One night it’s Matt Carson, the next it’s a downpour.
The Indians have seven wins in nine games, and have followed a 12-16 August with a 13-6 September.
With just more than a week to go in the season, the Indians own a playoff spot.
Who would have thought that possible a year ago.