CLEVELAND -- After the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation got off to a slow start, they have now put together back-to-back quality starts, and both have resulted in victories for the Tribe over the San Diego Padres at Progressive Field.
On the heels of Corey Kluber's six-inning outing Tuesday night, Zach McAllister saved the bullpen in the first game of a doubleheader by throwing 7.2 scoreless innings in a 2-0 Indians win.
"He came out of the bullpen with a fastball-changeup combination that was really strong, and he pretty much used it the entire way," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It was probably one of the better changeups I've seen him have, and he established it early in the game. Then, he really threw his fastball and located it, threw it up when he wanted to, down really (well)."
McAllister kept the Padres at bay, largely because of his ability to work ahead of the hitters and keep them off the base paths. San Diego collected only five hits and no walks against McAllister, who struck out seven hitters in the win.
"You hear it said all the time, the fastball's the best pitch," Francona said. "When he's commanding his fastball, and then, when he had the changeup to go with it, it made him really tough."
McAllister was able to save the bullpen until the top of the eighth inning, something Indians starters have not been able to do well through the first seven games of the season.
Cody Allen finished off the eighth inning after McAllister got the first two outs of the frame, and John Axford, earned his fourth save with the Indians despite letting runners get to second and third with one out.
"Anytime you have 18 innings to play, it's great not getting deep into the bullpen the first game," Francona said. "With the addition of the extra pitcher, it helps a lot because you have a 26-man roster today, but it's very helpful and we don't have a day off tomorrow."
McAllister got all of the offensive support he would need in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With one out, first baseman Nick Swisher reached on a throwing error charged to Padres third baseman Alexi Amarista. Then, on the very next pitch, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis belted a home run to center field.
The Indians had a chance to add on to their advantage after the home run, as designated hitter Carlos Santana walked and left fielder Ryan Raburn doubled to left field, which put two runners in scoring position with one out. However, Padres starter Eric Stults struck out outfielder Michael Brantley and reliever Nick Vincent got catcher Yan Gomes to strike out on a foul tip.
In the second inning, the Indians had the bases loaded with one out, but third baseman Mike Aviles fouled out to first base and right fielder David Murphy grounded out to first to end the threat.
"He pitched a really good game," Francona said of Stults. "We had a chance in the second inning and we didn't cash in. We had a chance to add on and we didn't. Sometimes, you tip your cap to the pitcher because he did a really good job."