CLEVELAND (AP) – Cody Allen didn’t get credit for a win or a save Thursday night. He did record the biggest out of the Cleveland Indians’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Following a rain delay of 1 hour and 16 minutes in the fifth inning, Indians manager Terry Francona went with his closer to work out of a bases-loaded jam and the score tied 3-all.
Francona’s move paid off and the Indians bounced back from Wednesday’s 17-0 drubbing.
Rookie Giovanny Urshela’s seventh-inning single drove in the go-ahead run for the Indians and Zach McAllister (2-2) pitched 1 1-3 innings while Bryan Shaw recorded the final four outs for his first save.
Rookie Kyle Schwarber’s two-run homer off Danny Salazar tied the game in the fifth. The Cubs then loaded the bases only to have the game delayed again. During the delay, Francona decided to go with Allen, who retired Miguel Montero on a fly ball and pitched a scoreless sixth.
Francona had a simple explanation for the unorthodox strategy.
“I’d rather lose with our best in a situation when the game’s leveraged,” he said. “I would have been upset if we lost late, but if we had given them some runs earlier I would have been more upset.”
Allen was all for it when Francona approached him during the delay.
“He asked me if I was open to it and I said ‘Absolutely,'” Allen said. “It’s a big spot in the game, but whether that out is in the ninth inning or the fifth inning, there’s a point where the game can be won or lost and he felt it was that point.”
“He was damn excited and I got excited,” Francona said.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Francona’s decision, “It’s interesting. Thought it was fine. Just didn’t do anything after that. Just a matter of what he felt among his guys. It was primarily based on the moment.”
The game started 25 minutes late and the two delays totaled 1:41.
The Indians survived another big night from Schwarber, who had two hits and is 6 for 10 with four RBIs in three games since being called up Tuesday.
Yan Gomes started the winning rally with a single off Travis Wood (3-3). Michael Bourn singled before Urshela’s hit off Justin Grimm scored Gomes.
“It feels great,” said Urshela, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus on June 9. “I’m trying to help the team win. I wasn’t trying to do too much there.”
Cleveland scored twice in the first inning off Jason Hammel on Michael Brantley’s RBI double and Montero’s passed ball. The Cubs scored in the third on a throwing error by rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor. Gomes’ sacrifice fly added a run.
Francona used seven pitchers to get through the eighth inning Wednesday, forcing him to go with outfielders Ryan Raburn and David Murphy in the ninth when Chicago scored seven times.
Kris Bryant, who hit a grand slam off Murphy on Wednesday, extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Bourn was in the lineup as he appeals his one-game suspension for making contact with umpire Phil Cuzzi in Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field.
Gomes left the game in the eighth with neck tightness.
Salazar allowed three runs in 4 2-3 innings. Hammel gave up three runs in four innings.
After designating pitcher Shaun Marcum for assignment, the Indians need a starter for Sunday against Tampa Bay. RHP Cody Anderson or LHP Mike Roth, who are both pitching in the minors, are the main candidates. Veteran RHP Jhoulys Chacin was pitching at Triple-A Columbus, but opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
Cubs: Montero returned after missing Wednesday’s game with a stiff back.
Indians: Francona said Raburn’s right arm was a “little sore” after throwing 25 pitches Wednesday, but added the outfielder was fine.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Kendricks will open a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday night. He will make his first career start against the Twins.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco goes for his career-high ninth win Friday night when he starts against Tampa Bay.
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