Homers lift Indians past Cubs, but Miller injured in 4-1 win
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians might need to get along without reliever Andrew Miller for a bit.
Miller left Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs because of a tight left hamstring. He was set for an MRI on Thursday, and manager Terry Francona said the lefty had the same injury while pitching for Baltimore in 2014.
“He’s had it before,” Francona said. “The hope is, I think last time he said it was 3-4 days. That would really be the hope. We’ll know a lot more tomorrow. And hopefully, that’s all it is.”
Miller grabbed the back of his leg after throwing two pitches to Anthony Rizzo. He was visited by Francona and a team trainer before walking to the dugout.
“Him not throwing another pitch was really smart on his part,” Francona said.
Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion hit sixth-inning home runs for the Indians. Brandon Guyer connected in the fifth.
Lindor’s leadoff homer against Jon Lester (2-1) broke a 1-all tie, and Encarnacion homered into the bleachers with two outs. Lester had allowed only one hit until Guyer’s two-out home run in the fifth tied it.
Miller relieved Trevor Bauer (2-2) with a runner on first and Cleveland leading 3-1. Bauer held the Cubs to one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Miller hasn’t allowed a run in 10 innings this season. He fell behind Rizzo 2-0 before grabbing at his leg.
Cleveland added a run in the eighth on Rizzo’s throwing error at first base. Rizzo had an RBI single in the fifth.
“Whoever says solo homers can’t beat you (is wrong), I guess,” Lester said. “The only pitch that was a bad decision on my part — and I shook to it — was the pitch to Guyer. The other two, Lindor goes oppo and a ball on the ground that Encarnacion hits out. That’s the game, unfortunately.”
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the lineup for the second straight game after being hit in the helmet by a pitch Sunday. The 2016 NL MVP didn’t play in the Cubs’ 10-3 win Tuesday.
Miller replaced Bauer after Javier Baez’s two-out single. Tyler Olson retired Rizzo on a flyball.
Willson Contreras doubled to start the eighth, but Olson got pinch-hitter Victor Caratini on a groundout and struck out Kyle Schwarber.
Nick Goody struck out Addison Russell to end the eighth before Allen worked the ninth.
The teams split the two-game series in their first meeting since the 2016 World Series that saw the Cubs win Game 7 at Progressive Field for their first championship since 1908.
“There’s nothing to be upset about,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “They just got us today.”
Baez got the best of good friend Lindor in the seventh inning just before Miller entered the game.
Lindor made a dive to grab Baez’s grounder in the hole, but Baez beat Lindor’s throw by half a step. Baez wagged a finger at Lindor as he ran through the bag, prompting Lindor to laugh and apparently tease Baez about his footspeed.
“I loved it,” Lindor said. “I would have done the same thing. Baez one, me zero.”
HOLD IT DOWN
One of the night’s biggest cheers came when word spread through the ballpark that LeBron James hit the winning 3-pointer to give the Cavaliers a 98-95 win over Indiana in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. It just so happened that Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery had entered the game to face Lindor in the eighth inning.
“I figured they weren’t giving Montgomery that kind of an ovation,” Francona joked. “I didn’t know if he was from this area or something.”
Cubs: Maddon said Bryant has been checked by doctors and could return Thursday night when the Cubs begin a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. “He’s fine,” Maddon said. “I’d be surprised if it took a turn in the other direction.”
Indians: LHP Ryan Merritt (sprained left knee) will make one more start at extended spring training before starting a minor league rehab assignment.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks will start the opener of a four-game series against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field on Thursday.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger, who allowed two hits in his first career complete-game shutout against Baltimore in his last start, goes against Seattle on Thursday.
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