Murphy drives Indians past Astros, 4-2
Published 2:42 am Thursday, July 9, 2015
CLEVELAND (AP) — David Murphy drove in two runs with a double in the eighth inning to send Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Murphy, who came in 3-for-9 vs. left-handers this season, snapped a 2-2 tie by pulling a pitch from lefty Joe Thatcher (1-3) over right fielder Preston’s Tucker’s head, scoring rookie Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley.
Bauer (8-5) allowed Evan Gattis’ two-run homer in the first but settled down nicely, allowing six hits and zero walks in eight innings. The right-hander retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
Cody Allen worked the ninth for his 17th save.
With the score tied 2-2, Lindor doubled with one out in the seventh, barely beating left fielder Colby Rasmus’ throw to second with a head-first slide. Brantley walked and Murphy, a Houston native batting .368 in his last 49 games, came through with his clutch double.
Bauer had nine strikeouts, giving him 102 this season. According to information provided by the Indians, they are the first team in history to have four pitchers reach 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break. Corey Kluber (148) leads the AL and Carlos Carrasco (115) and Danny Salazar (108) have also topped the century mark.
Houston starter Dan Straily gave up two runs and three hits in six innings. He put the Astros in a tough spot in the seventh when he walked Carlos Santana and hit Yan Gomes before being replaced by reliever Will Harris. The right-hander struck out Brandon Moss, retired Giovanny Urshela on a line drive to left and retired Michael Bourn on a comebacker to keep it tied 2-all.
Bauer, who held Houston without a hit for six innings in his season debut, came in with a 0.00 ERA in two career appearances against the Astros.
Houston changed that in a hurry as Gattis hit his 15th homer. Jose Altuve singled leading off, moved up on a wild pitch and stole third. With two outs, Gattis crushed an eye-high fastball from Bauer, driving it over the wall in left and onto the pedestrian plaza.
The Indians got one run back in their first at-bat, when Jason Kipnis hit a leadoff triple and scored on Lindor’s RBI groundout.
Cleveland tied it 2-2 in the fourth on Santana’s run-scoring grounder.
Astros: 3B Luis Valbuena (sprained big toe) was not in the starting lineup for the third day in a row. He took grounders and was available for pinch-hitting duties, and manager A.J. Hinch said it’s possible the team’s home run leader will play in Thursday’s series finale.
Indians: OF Nick Swisher (knee inflammation) went through a brisk workout in the outfield, running down some fly balls and even sliding for a few catches. Francona said Swisher, who had surgery on both knees last fall, is expected to do more on Friday when the team will have him take breaks to simulate sitting between innings to see how his knee responds.
Astros: LHP Brett Oberholtzer will be recalled from Triple-A Fresno to start the last game between the teams this season. He lasted just 1 1-3 innings in his previous start before he was ejected for throwing inside on Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. Oberholtzer was optioned to the minors following the June 27 game.
Indians: RHP Cody Anderson has been impressive in his first three starts, pitching at least 7 2-3 innings in each outing. He suffered his first loss last weekend in Pittsburgh despite allowing just six hits in eight innings.