The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 14, 2014

Go, go, Gomes!

Catcher's 2-run blast in 8th leads Wahoos past ChiSox

CLEVELAND — Yan Gomes hadn’t been feeling well for most of the game. But he refused to come out of the contest, and it’s a good thing for the Indians.

Gomes’ opposite-field home run into the front of the Chicago bullpen in the eighth inning scored a pair of runs, bringing the Tribe from behind and enabling it to wrest a 3-2 victory from the White Sox on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of the three-game series.

Cleveland completes its 10-game home stand with a 6-4 mark. It goes into the All-Star break with a .500 record at 47-47, in third place in the AL Central Division, 71⁄2 games behind first-place Detroit.

“I was thrilled for (Gomes) personally,” manager Terry Francona said. “I was happy for our team, (but) I was thrilled for him because I think today he was under the weather. He was kind of battling it all day, but he didn’t want to come out. And I thought he caught a great game, and it’s nice to see him get rewarded for that, because he puts so much effort into getting the pitcher through a game, that when he gets a big hit like that, that’s great.”

Gomes (3 RBI), who also drove in his team’s initial run with a second-inning hit up the middle, related that he had felt woozy, possibly as a result of being hit on the mask by a foul ball, or by being struck in the head by a bat.

“I guess I’m all right, now,” he said.

Gomes’ heroics bailed out reliever Bryan Shaw (4-1), making a winner of him after he had given up a 1-0 lead in the top of the same inning, although Francona related that the right-hander didn’t deserve criticism. Gomes hit a 1-1 pitch from Javy Guerra (0-2) after Nick Swisher had greeted the right-hander by beating the shift with a soft liner to left for a hit to open the frame.

Gomes’ long ball came one pitch after his drive down the right-field line sliced foul, barely missing extra bases.

“I (was) just trying to really kind of do the same thing Swisher did,” Gomes said. “They were giving me a big hole the other way. I was just trying to get a pitch to stay on top.

“I didn’t think I was going to (hit a home run), but it felt pretty good.”

Cody Allen got his 12th save with a perfect 9th inning, setting down the third, fourth and fifth batters in the Chicago (45-51) order.

The Indians had held a 1-0 lead most of the way, thanks to 6 2⁄3 shutout innings from Trevor Bauer. That advantage was erased against Shaw.

With one out in the eighth, Conor Gillaspie grounded a one-out single up the middle, went to second on a wild pitch and came home on Gordon Beckham’s ground single up the middle. Beckham advanced to second on Tyler Flowers’ dribbler in front of the plate and scored when second baseman Jason Kipnis couldn’t get a glove on Leury Garcia’s grounder to his backhand side, and it went for a single.

“There was a wild pitch and there was a base hit up the middle by a guy (Beckham) that does that,” Francona said. “And then the ground ball that Kip, instead of maybe knocking it down, tries to make the play and it goes under his glove. So I didn’t think Shaw was (ineffective). Sometimes the outcome isn’t exactly the way he pitched. Bryan’s pretty consistent with what he takes out there.”

Bauer allowed 8 hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 10 batters before yielding to Marc Rzepczynski, who retired Adam Dunn for the final out of the seventh. He threw 117 pitches and lowered his earned run average to 3.84.

“(He was) very, very good,” Francona said. “Competed as always. Used all his pitches, threw strikes. When he got himself into a little bit of a bind, he pitched out of it.”

Bauer related that he felt pretty good, and that 8 of his strikeouts came on curve balls, one on a slider and one on a fastball.

“They hit one ball or 2 balls hard today,” he said. “For whatever reason, the first time through the order, some fall. A double (by Flowers in the fourth) hit first base, and a couple hits up the middle just happened to fall in. It happens.”

After scoring in the second, the Tribe went on to load the bases with one out on an error, but starter John Danks struck out both Mike Aviles and Kipnis when they failed to hold up on checked swings.

Danks, who allowed one run in 7 innings, also escaped a situation with men on second and third and one out in the fourth.

The White Sox had failed to score in the top of the second despite getting 3 hits. The primary reason for that was that after Gillaspie led off with a single, Aviles caught Gordon Beckham’s fly ball down the left-field line and fired a strike to first base to double off Gillaspie.

“That was a heck of a play,” Francona said. “(Gillaspie) slipped a little bit, but Mikey caught it. His momentum took him into the little barrier there (in foul territory).

“And he used his momentum coming off, and made a perfect throw. And as the inning unfolded, that was huge.”

Jose Abreu had 3 hits for the White Sox.

Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.

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