Francona, Indians have tough day in 11-3 loss

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 02, 2013
Indians manager Terry Francona had a rough afternoon. His team's pitching staff wasn't any better. The Tampa Bay Rays got 14 hits off Cleveland starter Zach McAllister and four relievers, including home runs by Yunel Escobar and Evan Longoria, in an 11-3 victory over the Indians on Sunday. If there was a bright side for Francona, he was able to watch part of the defeat from the clubhouse after being ejected in the fifth inning. Home plate umpire Bill Welke tossed Francona before he exited the dugout following a 1-0 pitch to Nick Swisher that appeared to be low and outside. ''I thought his strike zone was inconsistent all day, not just on that one pitch,'' Francona said. ''After the game, I told Bill, `In fairness to you, I went back and looked at all the pitches, and I feel stronger now than I did when I was yelling at you from the dugout.' '' Francona broke into a small smile and added, ''I may have cursed (during the postgame conversation).'' Francona's first ejection of the season included a spirited argument with Welke, who first drew his ire Friday for his work at second base. The skipper ran out of the dugout to confront Welke, indicating with his arms how far outside he believed the pitch to Swisher was. As he walked off the field, Francona fired a wad of gum to the ground, then yelled at Welke once he returned to the dugout. Bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. assumed managing duties for the rest of the game. ''It was a tough day for all of us, but we know Tito has our back,'' left fielder Michael Brantley said. ''Everybody in this locker room has the utmost respect for him, and we know he'll fight for us.'' ''I respect what Tito did, trying to pump our team up,'' third baseman Mark Reynolds said. ''Unfortunately, sometimes you've got to take your licks out there.'' Francona said he was already riled up because of a play in the fourth inning that saw Sam Fuld's triple down the right field line bounce off a ball boy. First base umpire Adrian Johnson judged that the ball boy didn't intentionally interfere with the ball, allowing Fuld to remain at third, but his explanation of the rule ''agitated'' Francona. ''Cubby (second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth) let me vent a little bit after that, which I appreciated,'' Francona said. McAllister (4-5) took the loss in his shortest start of 2013, allowing a season-high five runs in 4 1-3 innings. ''Just about every inning, I was battling out of a jam because I didn't have very good command today,'' McAllister said. ''I couldn't get ahead of hitters and it cost me.'' Nick Hagadone followed and gave up a two-run homer to Escobar in the sixth, while Rich Hill allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Right-hander Matt Langwell made his major league debut in the eighth. The first batter he faced was Longoria, who ripped his second pitch out of the park for a two-run homer. ''There are inconsistencies that come with young pitchers,'' Francona said. ''In this league, when you make a mistake, guys make you pay.'' After falling behind 4-0, the Indians scored three runs in the fourth off Tampa Bay right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (3-2). Yan Gomes doubled home Reynolds, while Mike Aviles' single brought around Carlos Santana and Gomes. Santana went 3 for 4, while Bourn and Brantley had two hits apiece for the Indians. Tampa Bay won two out of three in the series, which started with a rain-delayed contest Friday that ended at 2:53 a.m. Saturday. The Rays won the opener 9-2 after enduring 4 hours, 49 minutes of delays. The Indians blanked the Rays 5-0 on Saturday. ''They're a very good ballclub,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of the Indians. ''I know they've had a little bit of a tough spot, but they've been playing very good. I like their lineup a lot.'' Cleveland closer Chris Perez (right shoulder soreness) has been cleared to resume throwing on Wednesday, but starter Brett Myers (right elbow inflammation) is still 4-5 days away from doing so, according to Francona. Both pitchers are on the 15-day disabled list and were examined before the game. NOTES: The Indians start a nine-game road trip Monday against the Yankees. Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (8-3) faces New York LHP Andy Pettitte (4-3) in the opener of the three-game series. ... Santana snapped a 0 for 9 skid, but went 3 for 13 (.231) on the five-game homestand. ... Indians OF Drew Stubbs went 0 for 4, extending his hitless stretch to 16 at-bats. ... Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera, a two-time all-star, was given the day off. ... Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then autographed the ball for Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as his catcher. Perry played for Cleveland from 1972-1975.
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