Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen could have fallen apart in the eighth inning of the Tribe's season-opening 2-0 win over the Oakland Athletics at the O.co Coliseum on Monday night, but instead, he fought through a bases-loaded situation to preserve what was a scoreless game at the time.
Allen entered the game with one out and Oakland's Daric Barton on first base after a leadoff single, but walked the first batter he faced, Coco Crisp. That brought Josh Donaldson to the plate, and the third baseman belted a 2-2 pitch deep to center field.
However, Barton elected to tag up instead of running halfway to third base, and when the ball caromed off the top of the wall, it bounced right to Indians center fielder Nyjer Morgan, who relayed a throw to the infield to prevent the run from scoring.
Allen got out of the bases-loaded jam with a strikeout of Jed Lowrie and a groundout from Brandon Moss to first base.
"I was fighting it a little bit," Allen said. "Opening day, the adrenaline's pumping a little bit more than it normally is. I think once I got strike one on Lowrie when I had the bases loaded, it allowed me to relax a little bit because I had the count in my favor and just relax and make some pitches.
"Once I punched out Lowrie and (it was) like, 'Okay, we're one pitch away from getting out of this, get an out any way you can.'"
Allen threw 18 pitches to the first two batters he faced, but then, struck out Lowrie on four pitches and needed only three more before erasing Moss on the groundout.
"That was interesting," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We have so much faith in Cody at such an early stage in his career. Something like that doesn't throw him. Once the run didn't score, I think we all felt that Cody was going to get out of it, and he did. He made some really good pitches against a really good hitter."
The way Allen bounced back from the adversity impressed starter Justin Masterson, who allowed only three hits over seven innings of work in the victory.
"Cody did a tremendous job working through that and making sure (they didn't score)," starter Justin Masterson said. "It was probably not the prettiest game, but it worked well for us.
"He threw some fastballs, threw a couple curveballs. That's really what I saw, but he stuck to his game plan. He had a really good curveball going and it was coming out really nice. He just stuck to it, and he got a little help. The ball hits the top of the wall, and we got a couple guys tagging up, so that saved a little bit there. Then, he was able to get some outs. That's the biggest thing. You give up a hit like that and you're able to come back, make sure nothing else happens, that's saying a lot for Mr. Cody Allen."