July 29, 2017 – Brandon Guyer Scores Go-Ahead Run with Clutch Hit-by-Pitch
Brandon Guyer became somewhat mythical for crowding the plate and sacrificing his body in clutch situations. Guyer led the league in Hit by Pitches in 2016 with 31, seven more than his nearest plate-crowding competition. FanGraphs August Fagerstrom even anointed him the Hit-by-Pitch King, given that he was hit more frequently (normalized for appearances) than any other player in modern history.
On this day, Corey Kluber was on the hill against the White Sox’ Miguel Gonzales for this Saturday night contest on the south side of Chicago with some sweet 1917 throwback unis. Kluber gave up a seeing eye single to start the game, but then struck out the next three Sox.
In the top of the second, Carlos Santana walked and then reached second on a fly ball to right field that was mishandled by Alan Hansen. Yan Gomes drove in Santana with a sacrifice fly.
Kluber retired the Sox in order in the bottom of the second. He used only 10 pitches in the inning.
Bradley Zimmer and Francisco Lindor notched consecutive singles to lead off the top of the third. Michael Brantley drove in Zimmer with a sac fly to deep center field. An Edwin Encarnacion single brought Lindor in to score. With two outs, Austin Jackson bounced one over the wall in left-center for a ground rule double that scored Encarnacion and made the game 4-0 Indians.
Jose Abreu cut the deficit drastically in the Chicago half of the third when he cracked a three-run homer to deep left field. In the bottom of the sixth, Kluber got both Matt Davidson and Omar Narvaez to strike out swinging, but with two outs Alan Hansen lined Kluber’s first pitch down the right field line. Tim Anderson followed with a bloop double to short right, which allowed Hansen to score from second and tie the game.
Andrew Miller held the game in a tie by recording the last two outs of the seventh and all of the eighth.
In the top of the ninth, Carlos Santana drew a two-out walk from Aaron Bummer. Austin Jackson sent a line drive single into right field, advancing Santana to second. Greg Infante came on to relieve Bummer and hit Yan Gomes with his very first pitch to load the bases.
Terry Francona brought Brandon Guyer off the bench to pinch hit for Erik Gonzales. On a 1-2 count, Infante hit Guyer sharply in the elbow, sending Guyer to his knees in the batter’s box. Guyer was awarded first base, forcing in Santana for the go-ahead run. In this case, Guyer was hit on the elbow, rather than in the thigh or calf as he took his stride out over the plate.
Cody Allen retired the Sox in order for the save and the Indians cashed in on Guyer’s willingness to sacrifice his forearm for the win. In a postgame interview Guyer explained, “The goal going up to the plate is to get a run. That’s not how I want to do it, but at the end of the day, it helped our team win a game. I’ll take it.”
Andrew Miller quipped, ” Fortunately, if anybody’s used to it, it’s got to be him.”
Guyer led the league in HBP in both 2015 and 2016, but Shin-Soo Choo currently leads all active players with 143 HBP for his career to date. He is unlikely to catch all-time leader Hughie Jennings with 287 or modern-day leader Craig Biggio with 285.
Honorable Mention: August 4, 1932 (Game 1) – First Win in Municipal Stadium
The Indians played their first game at the Stadium on July 31, 1932, but did not notch a win on the lakefront until August 4th, with 8-2 Victory over the Red Sox. The Tribe hit five triples in their spacious new home. However; fans complained about the massive outfield and after the 1933 season the Indians moved back to League Park until they brought Sunday and Holiday games back to the lakefront in 1937.