CLEVELAND (AP) — Once Mike Clevinger’s dominant day ended, he watched his teammates rally on TV.
There was a leadoff walk, a fortunate error, a clutch hit and two bases-loaded walks in an eighth inning that seemed to have a little bit of everything.
To Clevinger, it looked like 2016, when Cleveland made it to Game 7 of the World Series.
“It wasn’t all these flashy wins all the time,” he said, recalling the Indians’ memorable run in ’16. “It was like grinding out to the eighth, ninth inning, losing a lead, coming back and that’s Tribe baseball. That’s how we’re going to win and I like it.”
Roberto Perez drew a bases-loaded walk on four pitches from Dylan Covey in the eighth as the Indians rallied for a chilly 5-3 win in their home opener over the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
The Indians, whose bats have started out as cold as the early-spring weather, did just enough — and got some needed help from the wild White Sox — to score four runs in the eighth after nearly wasting Clevinger’s 12-strikeout performance.
As they wait for All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to get healthy, the Indians will have to find offense any way they can.
“Playing in this weather, it’s just difficult,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s difficult for everybody. I mean you saw their relievers were having a tough time today. When the weather warms up, it’ll be easier for everybody. Pitchers included. But in the meantime, you just have to fight for everything you can get.”
After the dreadful outing by Covey (0-1), Caleb Frare came in and walked pinch-hitter Greg Allen on five pitches to force in another run and give the Indians a 5-3 lead. White Sox manager Rick Renteria made several visits to the mound in the eighth to try and get his relievers on target, with minimal success.
“Basically, it didn’t work,” Renteria said. “It didn’t work out. I’m fully confident that everyone I put in will be successful. If they do not do well, you can blame me.”
Cleveland’s Jon Edwards (2-0) picked up the win despite giving up a two-run homer to White Sox rookie Ryan Cordell in the eighth. Brad Hand worked the ninth for his second save.