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Friday, April 04, 2014 8:17 PM

Swisher powers Indians to 7-2 win over Twins

By TOM WITHERS

Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Nick Swisher hit a 2-run homer in the sixth inning, two batters after Yan Gomes connected for a solo shot, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 7-2 home-opening win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.

Swisher’s homer off Mike Pelfrey (0-1) allowed the Indians to cap a day of pomp and pageantry as they celebrated Progressive Field’s 20th anniversary. Before the sixth, the Indians had been shut out by Pelfrey and were in danger of disappointing a sellout crowd that stuck around following a 2-hour, 13-minute rain delay and plummeting temperatures.

Indians reliever Josh Outman (1-0) recorded two outs after coming in for Danny Salazar in the sixth and got the win.

Swisher added an RBI double and Michael Brantley hit a 2-run single in Cleveland’s 4-run seventh that broke it open.

Chris Colabello homered for the Twins.

Flat and hitless through four innings, the Indians woke up in the sixth when they finally figured out Pelfrey.

Gomes got things started with his leadoff homer, a lined shot into the center-field bullpen to trim Minnesota’s lead to 2-1. Lonnie Chisenhall walked and Nyjer Morgan sacrificed. Up came Swisher, who fell behind 0-1 before belting his homer, a towering fly pushed deeper into the right-field seats by strong winds.

Swisher posed to watch the ball’s flight and then punctuated the homer by flipping his bat as he headed down the first-base line. After crossing home plate, the Ohio native saluted Cleveland’s crowd by raising his arms and making an “O” and then “H” an “I” and “O.”

Before the game, Swisher complimented Cleveland’s front office for signing All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis to a 6-year, $52.5 million contract hours before the opener.

“Bro, I think it’s awesome, so amazing,” he said. “I feel that we’re starting to create an identity of who we are.”

That process began last season, when the Indians won their last 10 games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They lost the wild-card game to Tampa Bay but Cleveland entered this season with expectations to go even further this October.

Pelfrey coasted through Cleveland’s lineup the first time and retired Cleveland’s first 12 hitters before Carlos Santana opened the fifth with a double.

The Twins wasted no time once the game began, scoring two runs in the first off Salazar on Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly and Colabello’s wind-blown homer to right-center.

The free-swinging Colabello, who played seven years in the independent Canadian-American Association before signing with the Twins in 2012, was the International League’s MVP with Triple-A Rochester last season. He batted just .194 but hit seven homers in 55 games with the Twins.

NOTES: The threat of impending thunderstorms delayed the start. It was a strange sight: the ballpark bathed in sunshine with the tarp covering the infield. But the precautions were needed as heavy rain arrived about an hour after the scheduled first pitch. … Kipnis’ signing means 16 of the 25 players on the Indians’ roster are signed through at least 2016. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has a special fondness for Progressive Field, known as Jacobs Field for most of its history. “I love this place,” he said. “It’s a beautiful atmosphere with the city in the background and the dude banging on the drum out there. Not too many ballparks have fans sitting right next to your dugout in a glassed-in area offering you a beer.” … Former Indians manager Mike Hargrove threw out the ceremonial first pitch, skipping it to first-base coach Sandy Alomar, who played for Hargrove.

 

Duda hits 2 HRs, Mejia pitches Mets past Reds 4-3

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Lucas Duda hit a pair of 2-run homers only hours after the Mets gave him the starting job at first base and New York beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Friday night behind Jenrry Mejia for its first victory of the season.

Replacement closer Jose Valverde struck out Jay Bruce with two on to end it, and the Mets avoided their first 0-4 start since opening with five consecutive losses in 2005.

The 24-year-old Mejia (1-0), who beat out Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final spot in the rotation, struck out a career-high eight in six innings. Flashing a sharp breaking ball, he allowed one run and four hits in a steady rain and mist.

Bruce homered and drove in three runs for the Reds, who had won six straight at Citi Field. Mike Leake (0-1) gave up five hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings.

Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. robbed Brandon Phillips of a home run and backup catcher Anthony Recker threw out speedy pinch-runner Billy Hamilton trying to steal second for a big out in the eighth.

New York’s maligned bullpen, which compiled a 10.61 ERA during Washington’s 3-game sweep to start the season, held on this time behind Valverde and fellow veteran Kyle Farnsworth, who got four outs.

Valverde worked the ninth for his first save with the Mets. He took over as closer when Bobby Parnell went on the disabled list with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow after blowing a save on opening day.

Rain followed the Reds to New York after they waited through 6 hours, 22 minutes of delays to get in two home games against St. Louis the previous two days.

This one started on time with a temperature of 41 degrees but the weather never cleared up and the grounds crew had to keep drying out the infield and mound. The announced attendance was 35,845 but empty seats were everywhere and it appeared fewer than 10,000 fans showed up.

Mejia struck out five of his first eight batters and overcame five walks, which matched a career high. He got defensive help from Young, who robbed Phillips of a first-inning homer.

Bruce put Cincinnati ahead with an RBI single in the third.

Curtis Granderson beat the shift in the fourth when he grounded a leadoff double inside third base. Duda drove the next pitch into the Mets’ bullpen in right-center for a 2-1 lead.

David Wright opened the sixth with an infield single and, after Bruce robbed Granderson of extra bases with running catch in deep right-center, Duda ripped a line drive over the fence in right for his fifth career multihomer game.

Duda is 6-for-8 against Leake with three extra-base hits.

Bruce cut it to 4-3 in the seventh with a 2-run drive off reliever John Lannan. It was Bruce’s 45th home run off a left-hander since 2010, most among all major-league hitters during that span.

NOTES: Cincinnati rested Hamilton (0-for-12) and SS Zack Cozart (0-for-11). “For no other reason than trying to make sure that our other guys stay sharp,” manager Bryan Price explained. CF Roger Bernadina made his first start for Cincinnati and Ramon Santiago became the 24th Reds shortstop to play next to Phillips. … RHP Mat Latos (elbow, knee) threw 75 pitches over four innings Thursday night in a rehab start for Double-A Pensacola. He is slated to throw about 90 pitches and six innings next Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville and if he comes out of that outing feeling good, the Reds are optimistic he could start April 13 against Tampa Bay or right after that against Pittsburgh. … Cincinnati reliever Jonathan Broxton (right forearm) was scheduled to pitch back-to-back days Friday and today for Pensacola. If he gets through that OK, Broxton could join the Reds in St. Louis early next week, Price added. … C Devin Mesoraco (oblique) also is rehabbing at Pensacola. … Mets RHP Dillon Gee starts today against RHP Johnny Cueto.

BRAVES 2, NATIONALS 1

WASHINGTON — Benefiting from the decision to overturn Ian Desmond’s inside-the-park homer on replay review, the Atlanta Braves beat Washington 2-1 Friday, spoiling the Nationals’ home opener and giving rookie manager Matt Williams his first loss.

Desmond’s shot down the left-field line in the fifth inning, which appeared to tie the game at 1-all, was switched to a ground-rule double after a 5-minute delay after Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez requested the review. Desmond was sent back to second base and wound up getting caught in a rundown while trying to steal.

Washington did eventually even the score but Atlanta’s Chris Johnson delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth off reliever Tyler Clippard (0-1).

Luis Avilan (1-0) got one out in the seventh for the win and Craig Kimbrel earned his third save.

PHILLIES 7, CUBS 2

CHICAGO — Chase Utley hit a 2-run homer and an RBI single, helping Philadelphia win the opener of Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary season.

John Mayberry Jr. also had a 2-run drive for his fourth career pinch-hit homer as Philadelphia bounced back after dropping the last two games of its opening series in Texas.

Roberto Hernandez (1-0) pitched into the sixth inning in his Phillies debut after signing a $4.5 million, 1-year contract in the offseason.

Welington Castillo had a solo homer for the Cubs, who have dropped four consecutive home openers for the first time since 1991-94. Travis Wood (0-1) struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings but was charged with four runs, three earned, and six hits.

ROCKIES 12, DIAMONDBACKS 2

DENVER — Charlie Blackmon tied a team record with six hits and drove in five runs.

Blackmon finished 6-for-6 with three doubles and a 2-run homer. The only other Rockies player with six hits in a game was Andres Galarraga against Houston on July 3, 1995.

Carlos Gonzalez added a 2-run triple and a 2-run homer off the facing of the third deck as the Rockies improved to 13-9 in home openers.

That was more than enough for Juan Nicasio (1-0), who surrendered one run and four hits in seven efficient innings. His only mistake was a slider that Mark Trumbo hit for a solo homer in the fifth.

The Diamondbacks fell to 1-6, their worst start since 1998.

Randall Delgado (0-1) gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings.

GIANTS 8, DODGERS 4

LOS ANGELES — Michael Morse keyed a 6-run first inning with a 2-run single and San Francisco spoiled a Dodgers’ home opener played nearly two weeks after they began the season in Australia.

David Huff (1-0) got the victory, allowing two hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief while striking out three.

After retiring the first two batters, Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1) got pummeled for six runs while giving up six hits, including four in a row as the Giants batted around. They finished Ryu with two more runs in the second, extending their lead to 8-0.

 

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