April 19, 2014

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Offense goes from shut out to break out as resilient Indians down Angels

CLEVELAND — A day after suffering its second shutout of the season, the Indians’ offense couldn’t be stopped.

Scoring in six of the eight innings it batted, Cleveland slugged out a 9-5 victory Tuesday night at Progressive Field that evened its three-game series with the Angels at a game apiece.

The Indians, whose offense has been inconsistent at best all year, got production from nearly everyone in the lineup, with five of their nine hitters mustering multihit games.

Of their nine runs, six players drove in at least one, with Shelley Duncan scoring two with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and a solo home run in the fourth — his seventh of the season.

“We were able to swing the bat well,” said manager Manny Acta, whose team remained two games behind the first-place White Sox in the Central Division standings. “We took advantage of some mistakes and didn’t miss them.”

Things began well for Cleveland starter Zach McAllister, who opened the game with four scoreless innings on two hits, as the Indians built a 4-0 lead against the Angels’ Dan Haren.

But the game appeared to take a turn for the worse for McAllister and the Indians in the fifth inning.

With one out, usually sure-handed third baseman Jack Hannahan fielded a double-play grounder and rifled it into the outfield, allowing the Angels’ first run to score and leaving two runners on base.

All-Star center fielder Mike Trout followed with a three-run homer that tied the game. An out later and the Angels owned their first lead, 5-4, on a solo shot from Albert Pujols.

But as they have done on numerous occasions this season, the Indians bounced back, scoring three times in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead for good.

The Indians scored twice on a grounder to Pujols, with the first baseman throwing the ball away while trying to cut down Jason Kipnis at the plate after recording the out at first.

“It’s always nice to be able to pick up your teammates,” Acta said. “Jack has saved us a ton of runs over the last two years. He has picked up a lot of people here, defensively.”

McAllister got the win, his third in five starts. The right-hander allowed three earned runs on eight hits while striking out five over six innings.

“He battled for us today,” Kipnis said. “It was good to get those runs back for him.”

“He was very aggressive with his fastball, just a very good job by him,” Acta said of McAllister. “Even after that big inning, he came back and was aggressive. He’s not afraid. That’s for sure.”

Since losing two of three to the last-place Astros and being swept at Yankee Stadium, Cleveland has won four of six against Baltimore and Los Angeles — once again displaying its resurgence.

“They don’t back down,” Acta said of his players. “They understand it’s a long, long roller coaster. It’s about putting stuff behind you, and these guys do a pretty good job of that.”

The game was delayed twice by rain — once for 44 minutes with one out in the top of the eighth inning, and again for 57 minutes with one out in the top of the ninth.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him
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TODAY

• WHO: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles Angels
• TIME: 4:05 p.m.
• WHERE: Progressive Field
• PITCHERS: Lowe (7-6, 4.42 ERA) vs. Santana (4-8, 5.12)
• TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM