Jose Ramirez Homers in Final Exhibition Game for the Cleveland Indians

Indians Pirates

Indians 5, Pirates 3

In the final exhibition game of the year, the Cleveland Indians pulled off a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-3. Cleveland handed the ball to right-hander Aaron Civale, while the Pirates gave the starting nod to left-hander Derek Holland. It wasn’t a pitching duel by any means but was a nice tuneup for both starters.

Furthermore, this game was one where both teams didn’t capitalize on situations with runners in scoring position (RISP). Both the Indians and the Pirates fell short in a major way in that category, but more on that later.

First Inning Fireworks

During the first inning, Indians first baseman Carlos Santana reached on a fielders choice. That stemmed from a fielding error committed by second baseman Adam Frazier. In turn, that allowed Jose Ramirez to score for the Tribe’s first run of the game. Following that, Franmil Reyes came up to the plate and hit a single, scoring Francisco Lindor from third.

Meanwhile, during the bottom of the first inning, Pirates first baseman Josh Bell hit a home run on a line drive to right field off of Civale. Bell ended up being a bright spot in the Pirates lineup going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a strikeouts before the game concluded. More on the Pirates offense later.

Home Runs Rule for the Indians

Once the top of the third inning rolled around, Santana joined the home run action with a drive to left field. That allowed Cleveland to add another run to the board before the aforementioned Jose Ramirez hit another in the top of the fifth. The Ramirez home run came during the first part of the inning off of Pirates reliever Kyle Crick.

Fast forward to the top of the ninth inning, where the home run ball caused more havoc for Pittsburgh. Defensive replacement Christian Arroyo hit a solo homer off of left-hander Miguel Del Pozo. Of the three home runs hit by Cleveland, Arroyo’s went the farthest. According to Statcast measurements, it traveled an estimated 392 feet and came off the bat at 100 miles per hour.

In total as a unit, the Indians managed nine hits, five RBI, one walk, and nine strikeouts over the span of 37 at-bats. The team left six men on base and went 1 for 9 with RISP.

Pirates Fall Short Offensively and in the Pitching Department

As previously mentioned, the key for the Pirates offense was Josh Bell. Bell did the most impact in an otherwise lackluster day for the Pirates offense. Other key offensive moments for Pittsburgh came during the bottom of the fourth inning, when third baseman Colin Moran hit a double. Additionally, following the second out of the sixth inning, the aforementioned Josh Bell hit a double of his own. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to any additional scoring chances for the Buccos outside of the two runs scored by the team during the first inning.

During the seventh inning, the Pirates tried to get a rally going against Indians closer Brad Hand. Hand served up a single to Jose Osuna to start the inning before following with consecutive strikeouts against outfielder Cole Tucker and catcher Jacob Stallings. Outfielder Jarrod Dyson came up to bat next and hit a double, but Hand escaped without allowing an additional run by striking out shortstop Kevin Newman.

On the pitching front, Derek Holland pitched three innings, throwing 61 pitches. Pittsburgh used six relievers total who combined for seven strikeouts on 78 pitches. Robbie Erlin had the best outing of the group tossing a scoreless seventh inning. At the plate, the Buccos put up seven hits, three RBI, two walks, and eleven strikeouts over 34 at bats.

Final Pitching Tuneup for the Indians

After being named the fourth starter on Tuesday, right-hander Aaron Civale concluded the pre-season by throwing five innings, allowing four hits and a home run. Civale recorded six strikeouts and two earned runs. Prior to the suspension of spring training, Civale pitched in two different starts, posting a 1.80 ERA.

Adam Plutko, who was named a member of the bullpen Tuesday, threw a scoreless inning in relief. Together as a group, Cleveland’s relievers threw a total of 79 pitches and recorded five strikeouts. Overall, it was an encouraging outing for Brad Hand as well who will need to perform at a high level this season for an Indians team looking to win the American League Central.

Next up on the docket is Opening Day on Friday. Shane Bieber will start for the Indians with Danny Duffy getting the nod for the Kansas City Royals. It will be the start of a 17 consecutive game stretch for the Indians. First pitch occurs at 6:10 Eastern.

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