Cleveland Indians rookie starting pitcher Cody Anderson may not be the next Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson or Greg Maddox but it would be very hard to convince the Tampa Bay Rays of that. Anderson records his first Major League victory in the Indians 7-1 win over the Rays in the first of a four game series at Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg on Monday night. Both of Anderson’s starts are against Tampa Bay, the only Major League team the right hander has pitched against.
Anderson was perfect through six and a third innings. However one swing of the bat by former Indian Grady Sizemore changed all of that in the 7th inning. Sizemore, in just his second game as a member of the Rays took Anderson’s pitch deep and gone to the right field seats for a solo home run to end the perfect game, no hitter and shut out. It made the score 2-1 Indians. Evan Longoria followed with a single to left for Tampa Bays only hits off of the rookie.
Anderson went eight innings allowing one run on two hits with two strike outs and no walks. The Sizemore home run is the only run the Rays scored off of Anderson in both meetings. On June 21 in Cleveland, Anderson shut out Tampa Bay for seven and two thirds innings. Anderson allowed six hits, with four strike outs and one walk. Anderson earned a no decision in the 1-0 walk off win by the Indians.
The Indians offense got going early with single runs in the first and second innings on singles by Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis. It was exactly what the Indians needed after being swept over the weekend by the Orioles in Baltimore where they were shut out in both games of a double header on Sunday. Before Monday’s series opener, manager Terry Francona held a team meeting to go over ways to start winning baseball games consistently. The Indians offense is scoring less than three runs a game in the month of June.
After Sizemore cut the Indians lead to 2-1, Yan Gomes got the run right back with a solo home run to left to make the score 3-1. Gomes was just a triple shy of the cycle on Monday night.
The Indians put the game away in the ninth inning by scoring four runs off Rays reliever Ronald Belisario. Two of those runs scored on wild pitches including one on an intentional walk to Brantley that scored Kipnis from third base.
Bryan Shaw faced three batters in the bottom of the ninth retiring them on a double play and a strike out to close out a series opening victory for the Indians on the road.