Here are some of the important, interesting, or just plain strange events that occurred this week in Tribe History:
On this date, the Indians faced the visiting Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field to kick off the 2012 season. Sixteen innings and over five hours later, the two teams set the record for the longest opening day game in MLB history.
Jason Masterson cruised through the first two innings, including striking out the side in the first, while the Tribe opened the scoring on Jays’ starter Ricky Romero in the bottom of the second. Catcher Carlos Santana led off the inning with a walk. After DH Travis Hafner struck out swinging, LF Shelley Duncan hit a line-drive double to deep left field. With runners on second and third, first baseman Casey Kotchman ground out to first, scoring Santana and moving Duncan to third. Following a walk to second baseman Jason Kipnis, third baseman Jack Hannahan hit a three-run bomb to deep right making it 4-0 Tribe.
The Blue Jays would score in the fourth off right fielder Jose Bautista’s homer down the left-field line. The score would remain 4-1 heading into the top of the ninth. Justin Masterson was removed following the eighth after pitching a phenomenal game, striking out 10 while only allowing two hits, one walk and one run.
Closer Chris Perez replaced Masterson, looking to pick up his first save of the young season. It did not go well. Perez allowed back-to-back singles to the first two hitters he faced. With runners on first and third, Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Blue Jays within two runs. After walking Adam Lind and following behind 3-1 in the count, Perez gave up a game-tying two-run double to DH Edwin Encarnacion. Ultimately, it was left to Vinnie Pestano to get the Tribe out of the inning. The Indians had the opportunity for a walk-off win but could not manage to bring home pinch-runner, Jason Donald. Donald was on third with one out, but consecutive ground-outs by Casey Kotchman and Jason Kipnis ended the threat.
Both teams had opportunities in extras to finish the game but it was the Blue Jays who would finally break the 4-4 stalemate in the top of the 16th. After allowing the first two batters to reach base, including former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel, Indians’ reliever Jairo Ascensio allowed a three-run homer to catcher J.P. Arencibia to make it 7-4. Cleveland managed to get a runner on second with two outs but Jason Kipnis grounded out to second to end the game. Blue Jays reliever Luis Perez picked up the win while Ascensio was tagged with the loss.