The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


May 6, 2014

Tribe Ax-ed... again

Closer comes up short for second game in a row as Twins edge punchless Wahoos

CLEVELAND — The Indians are still not hitting. And John Axford took it on the chin for the second day in a row.

Eduardo Escobar greeted Axford by hitting only his 20th career homer in 2,466 major-league at-bats. It was the only score of the night, as the Minnesota Twins defeated the host Indians 1-0 in 10 innings on Monday.

Axford (0-3), the Tribe’s closer, had allowed Dayan Viciedo’s three-run, ninth-inning homer in a come-from-ahead 4-3 loss to the White Sox on Sunday. This time Axford did not appear in the closer role, but again became the target of boos from the fans — at least the ones who were there. Escobar, who had entered the contest as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, took one pitch — a ball — before driving the next offering into the right-field seats.

“Mickey (Callaway, the pitching coach) actually thought (Axford) looked better (than on Sunday),” manager Terry Francona said. “He just mislocated. He was trying to go down and away, and he missed by a lot.”

Axford related that he had worked on a mechanical adjustment that he corrected from Sunday, but agreed that he missed his location on the decisive pitch.

“It was a fastball that came back over the plate,” he said.

Minnesota (15-15, 3 consecutive wins) proceeded to put men on the corners with no outs, but Axford and Marc Rzepczynski were able to avoid further damage. Enough had been done already, however, as Twins closer Glen Perkins was able to close it out by setting the side in order, finishing a night of futility with the Cleveland bats.

That, in fact, probably remains the larger concern with the team — that they are struggling mightily to put runs on the scoreboard. In fact, if they would have managed even one in the initial 9 frames, the outcome may very well had been a much better one for the Tribe, which has managed just 30 runs in the last 10 games despite tallying 12 on Friday.

This time, the Indians (13-19) were shackled by starter Kyle Gibson and relievers Brian Duensing, Caleb Thielbar (winner, 2-0) and Perkins (8th save). The 4 hurlers combined to allow a paltry 3 hits while walking 3 batters, and thanks to a double play and a caught stealing, faced 4 batters over the minimum. The Tribe, in fact, never got a runner as far as third base.

“We got into some hitters’ counts; we hit some balls hard,” Francona said. “We just are fairly inconsistent right now. Even in hitters’ counts, we’re not getting real good swings.

“Tonight was a good night to pitch. The ball wasn’t going anywhere and it’s cold. We need more consistency.”

Cleveland, participated in its first extra-inning game of the season, thus becoming the final team in the majors to do so.

Zach McAllister pitched splendidly for the Tribe. The right-hander went 6 2/3 innings without giving up a run, while allowing five hits and a walk. He struck out 8 batters, tying a career-high.

The Twins threatened against McAllister in the sixth when with one out, Sam Fuld doubled and stole third. However, McAllister  proceeded to get both Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello to look at a called third strike.

McAllister left with men on first and second and 2 outs in the seventh. Bryan Shaw replaced him, and retired Escobar on a ground ball to second to keep it scoreless.

“I thought I commanded the ball pretty well tonight,” McAllister said. “I was able to be aggressive in the strike zone and got some quick outs, but I was also able to get some strikeouts.”

“I don’t know if I’d ever say ‘wasting,’ Francona said when asked about McAllister’s effort. “I love to get great pitching. “Zach pitched so well. He pitched with his fastball and he worked ahead. He pitched out of a couple jams, but man, he was so good. And that’s 2 in a row (after Corey Kluber’s stellar effort on Sunday), where that’s about as good as they’re gonna pitch.

“There’s certainly not much wiggle room right now. But I still like the way our guys pitched.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Axford said. “It’s a shame that my performances over the last 2 days are going to (negate) a great hitting performance by George (Kottaras, who homered in his first 2 career at-bats with the Indians on Sunday) and 2 great pitching performances. So hopefully everyone knows that those guys are doing their best and working hard, and doing fantastic for us.”

Gibson turned in one of Minnesota’s defensive gems when he had to reach behind him to take a throw from second baseman Brian Dozier and then reach out with his leg to tag first base to retire Michael Brantley to lead off the fourth.

Dozier had made a diving stop of Brantley’s ground ball.

Cody Allen also pitched for Cleveland.

Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.

Text Only
  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video