Encarnacion’s slam sends Indians past Angels 11-7 in 11
CLEVELAND (AP) — Bradley Zimmer didn’t care one bit that his mouth was filled with talcum powder.
To the rookie, it tasted like victory.
Edwin Encarnacion connected for a grand slam in the 11th inning as the Cleveland Indians, who wasted a seven-run lead and were held scoreless for eight innings, beat the Los Angeles Angels 11-7 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.
Encarncion’s shot off Bud Norris (1-3) soared over a five-player, drawn-in infield and landed in the left-field bleachers to cap a strange night for the Indians, who led 7-0 after two innings.
“You could put the whole team on the infield and it’s not going to work,” Zimmer said of the Angels’ shift on Encarnacion. “The guy was made for situations like that. There was no doubt in my mind that he wasn’t going to come through there.”
According to the Indians, they are the first team since at least 1930 to hit two grand slams in one game with the second being a walk-off.
After roughing up Angels starter Jesse Chavez for seven runs in the second, Cleveland couldn’t do anything until the 11th, which began with Zimmer drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second. Zimmer, who hit a grand slam in the seven-run second, moved up when Norris unleashed a wild pitch while walking Francisco Lindor.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia then walked Michael Brantley and brought one of his outfielder’s onto the infield grass before Encarnacion drove Norris’ first pitch into the stands.
When he reached the plate, Encarnacion was doused with water and white powder as the Indians celebrated their second walk-off win in four games.
The homer put Encarnacion over 1,000 career RBIs, and it was his first walk-off for Cleveland, which signed him as a free agent this winter.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Encaracion said through a translator. “It felt amazing to connect with the ball and to hit it out like I did.”
Dan Otero (2-0) got the win, working out of a jam in the 11th by retiring Albert Pujols on a hard comebacker with a runner at third and two outs. Otero was the final reliever to leave Cleveland’s bullpen.
Zimmer had an eventful night. He connected for his first slam, stole a base and ran down Ben Revere’s drive to deep center for the final out in the 10th before crashing into the padded wall. Zimmer also got picked off first and made a poor defensive choice to help the Angels tie it in the sixth.
Brantley also homered and made two terrific catches for the Indians, who have won 10 of 11 over the Angels.
Kole Calhoun hit a three-run homer and Luis Valbuena had a two-run shot for Los Angeles. Scioscia was proud of the way his team battled.
“That’s a great comeback, and we had our chances to push it all the way through,” he said. “Our guys kept battling. We pressured them a lot, but they made some big plays defensively that were the difference.”
Indians starter Mike Clevinger was forced to change gloves after the first inning by crew chief Bill Miller. The umpires felt the color of his glove was too light and he had to borrow one from teammate Corey Kluber.
Chavez didn’t make it out of the third inning, forcing Scioscia to use six relievers. Scioscia expects to add at least one pitcher from Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday. “You can’t start a road trip like that — having to use all those guys — and it’s my fault,” said Chavez, who gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. “I let us down with the way I pitched.”
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco has the second-most losses in the American League with 11. He is 0-2 with a 10.66 ERA over his last three starts, totaling just 12 2/3 innings.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in eight previous appearances — four starts — against the Angels.