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Hits missing as Giants sweep Tribe with walk-off homer

04/27/2014, 9:50pm EDT
By PAUL HOYNES (CLEVELAND) PLAIN DEALER

San Francisco Giants' Brandon Hicks swings for the game-winning home run against the Cleveland Indians. ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO — The Indians’ Danny Salazar may have turned a corner Sunday at AT&T Park.

It's not known if Salazar left a trail of bread crumbs for his team’s hitters to follow so they can make the same turn.

The San Francisco Giants completed a three-game sweep of Cleveland with a 4-1 victory powered by Brandon Hicks' three-run walk-off homer off Cody Allen with two out in the ninth inning.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view more photos

The Indians scored five runs in the three-game series.

"This one is on the hitters," said second baseman Jason Kipnis.

Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and Asdrubal Cabrera, hitting fourth, fifth, and sixth Sunday, were a combined 0-for-29 in the series. Overall, the Indians hit .162 (17-for-105) and went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

"We have good hitters," said manager Terry Francona. "We have to make better adjustments during games so it's harder for opposing pitchers to get us out."

Buster Posey started the ninth with a single off Allen (2-1). He was replaced by pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza. Pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco moved Adrianza to second with a sacrifice bunt.

Allen struck out Pablo Sandoval and intentionally walked left-handed hitting Brandon Crawford to bring Hicks to the mound for a right-on-right duel. Hicks, who came into the game hitting .222 with two homers, hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left field.

"It was a 96 to 97 mph fastball at the top of the zone," Francona said. "That's hard to catch up to, but he caught up to it."

The three runs were the first earned runs Allen has allowed this season in 13 appearances. He had allowed one unearned run before Sunday.

It was the first homer Allen has allowed on the road since July 4 in Kansas City.

"I wasn't trying to elevate a fastball there," said Allen, who entered in the eighth to strand Angel Pagan at third. "I was trying to throw it down and away. I was already in a bad count (1-0) and he was probably thinking fastball there and he got one out over the plate and put the barrel to it."

The Tribe has lost seven of their last 11 games.

The Indians, silent for much of the afternoon, tied the score, 1-1, on Yan Gomes' leadoff homer in the eighth off Santiago Casilla. It was Gomes' third homer of the season and ended a 52-inning homerless streak by the Indians.

Kipnis accounted for the Tribe's last homer, a two-run drive off Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie on Monday at Progressive Field.

Salazar, who may have been pitching for his job in the rotation, allowed one run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out eight walked one, but was still in line for the loss until Gomes homered.

"Today I tried to bring the guy who was here last year," Salazar said. "I wasn't thinking about anything. I was just keeping the ball down. Yan was outstanding behind the plate. Sadly, we didn't get the win, but we battled."

Salazar entered the game at 0-3 with a 7.85 ERA in four starts.

Despite Salazar's pitching, the Giants were in control through seven innings mainly because of right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. In his previous start, Vogelsong lasted 1 1/​3 innings against Colorado, but he threw seven scoreless innings against the Indians in front of the 258th sellout crowd to watch a game at AT&T Park.

When he left, the Giants held a 1-0 lead thanks to consecutive two-out doubles by Sandoval and Crawford in the fourth.

"I looked at the video and I couldn't believe Sandoval hit that pitch," Salazar said. "It was a great pitch way off the plate. The second double to right was a good two-seamer inside, but it came back to the middle."

Michael Bourn saved Salazar further damage as he ran down Hicks' long drive to left center field to end the inning.

"That was a big play," Salazar said. "I appreciate that. He ran to catch that ball."

Unlike his previous start, Salazar didn't crumble at the first sign of trouble. From the fifth throkugh the seventh, he retired eight of the next nine batters.

"He was pretty good," Francona said. "Seven innings, one run, on a lot of days you're thrilled with that. He was up in the first inning, but made the adjustment.

"He threw his fastball when he was supposed to, attacking the right hitters. He threw his change up, but not too much. ... That's a pretty good ball game right there."

The seven innings repesented Salazar's longest start of the season.

The Indians didn't put much pressure on Vogelsong. Bourn singled in the first and third innings, but that was it. After Bourn's single in the third, only one baserunner reached agaibnst Vogelsong.

The Giants are 8-4 lifetime against the Tribe. They are 6-3 against the Tribe at AT&T Park.

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Tag(s): Pro  Indians