Apparently hitting home runs was as viral as the Harlem Shake in Scottsdale, Arizona on Tuesday as the Indians slugged their way to a 4-3 victory over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Both teams collected their share of runs via the long ball as Cleveland hitters clubbed three solo blasts while the Giants belted two of their own. Tribe bullpen hopeful Bryan Shaw walked away with the win while starting rotation candidate Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three shutout innings.
Bourn CF (Naquin CF)
Marson C (Perez C)
Francisco DH (Gomes DH)
Swisher 1B (McDade 1B)
Raburn LF (Fedroff LF)
Phelps 2B (Spears 2B)
Carrera RF (McGuiness RF)
Diaz SS (Wolters SS)
Smith (BS, 1)
Huff (BS, 2)
Shaw (W, 1-0)
Martinez (S, 2)
Catching prospect Roberto Perez sealed the win for the Tribe with a solo shot to deep left field in the top of the ninth, putting them up 4-3, but shortstop Juan Diaz and first baseman Nick Swisher were already on record with home runs of their own in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Swisher’s homer marks his second of the spring bringing him up to a .500 average with seven RBI in exhibition play thus far.
Center fielder Ezequiel Carrera reached first base on a fielder’s choice ground out in the second inning, stole second and third base consecutively and scored on an RBI single off the bat of third baseman Luis Hernandez. Carrera, a utility outfielder candidate, now has five steals on the spring.
Indians submarine-style right-hander Joe Smith made his 2013 Cactus League debut Tuesday after being sidelined all of spring training up to this point with an abdominal strain. Smith did not receive a kindly greeting as Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford launched a two-run home run off of him in the fourth giving San Francisco a 3-2 lead at the time.
Expectations for right-handed starter Daisuke Matsuzaka aren’t very high in Cleveland, but he is making a decent case for himself as he pitched three shutout innings in his third Cactus League appearance with the Tribe. Matsuzaka did give up five hits in that span, however, while striking out two.
“This was the best I’ve felt out of my three outings.” Matsuzaka told the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes.
The radar gun clocked Matsuzaka’s fastball in the upper 80s and he hit 90 mph once. Following his shutout appearance, Matsuzaka’s spring ERA is now down to 2.57. With the fifth spot in the Indians rotation up for grabs, Matsuzaka joins Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir and Trevor Bauer in competition for the job.
Quick Game Facts:
•Outfielder Tyler Naquin, whom the Indians selected in the first round of last year’s draft, made his first appearance with the big league squad Tuesday and grounded out in his only at-bat.
•Catcher Roberto Perez’s go-ahead home run in the ninth inning was his first at the major league level.
•Left-hander David Huff pitched three solid innings on Tuesday, but surrendered a solo home run to left-handed hitter Brandon Belt. Even as a lefty, southpaws have hit .316 against Huff in his career.
•The Indians hit three home runs against the Giants bringing their total to six over their last two games. They have 19 homers so far this spring, second only to the Seattle Mariners (24) among MLB teams in 2013 exhibition play.
Wednesday: Indians vs. Dodgers @ Goodyear Ballpark
Justin Masterson will take the hill in Goodyear after recently being named the Indians’ opening day starter by manager Terry Francona. Masterson is 1-0 in Cactus League play this season with a 7.71 ERA in two appearances and hopes to rebound after getting roughed up for four runs against the White Sox last week. Cleveland will also send southpaws Rich Hill, Nick Hagadone and Scott Barnes to the mound. First pitch is at 3:05 ET.