Anderson flirts with perfection in beating Rays

Anderson flirts with perfection in beating Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rookie right-hander Cody Anderson handcuffed the Rays, while the Indians' offense had 13 hits in a 7-1 win on Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Making his second career Major League start, Anderson retired the first 19 batters he faced before Grady Sizemore homered on a 1-2 pitch with one out in the seventh to spoil his perfect-game bid.

"Man, that was impressive," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Anderson. "Again, he's two starts in, but he faced a team for the second time, so they saw him. Last time out, he flipped some really good breaking balls in there. Today, he had really good downhill plane on his fastball -- both sides -- and then he threw a really good changeup."

"You know, the guy obviously pitched a really well-pitched game against us," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Couldn't get too much going until late. Not a high strikeout guy, but a lot of late movement."

Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who went 3-for-5, answered Sizemore's blast with a solo home run off Kirby Yates in the eighth that pushed the Indians' lead to 3-1. That helped Anderson pick up his first career win after giving up just one run on two hits with one strikeout in his eight innings for the Tribe.

Gomes' solo smash

Nathan Karns started for the Rays and allowed RBI singles to Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis in the first two innings to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Kipnis ended the game 3-for-4 with two runs, including scoring on a wild pitch in Cleveland's four-run ninth inning.

Brantley's RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kipnis shoulders load: Kipnis looks like Cleveland's best bet to be an All-Star and he showed his value again in the early innings on Monday. In the first inning, the second baseman led off by slashing a pitch to left field for a double, and scored on a single from Brantley. In the second, Kipnis came through again, contributing an RBI single to score Gomes. More >

"Last year, he had some injuries," Gomes said of Kipnis. "He's coming back and showing the kind of player that he is. If that guy doesn't make the All-Star team, there's something wrong with that."

Kipnis' run-scoring single

Not for Nate: Karns has had zero offensive support in his last two starts. When Karns pitched six scoreless innings against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada was perfect through 7 1/3 innings. Against the Indians, Karns allowed two runs in six innings, but during his six innings, the Rays bats were again silent as Anderson was perfect through 6 1/3 innings. Remarkably, despite allowing nine hits, Karns came away with a quality start. More >

Karns strikes out seven

Frantic flyout: With two outs in the third inning, Rays catcher Rene Rivera skied a pitch from Anderson high over the infield, but Kipnis lost sight the ball in the Tropicana Field dome. As Kipnis threw his arms out, indicating that he could not see the baseball, Tribe first baseman Carlos Santana ran over and snared the pop-up for the final out of the inning.

"I started to walk back toward the dugout a little bit," Anderson said. " I looked over and I got a little feeling that, 'Shoot, that might drop.' But that was a nice play."

Santana secures popup

Almost perfect: Anderson began his Major League career with 13 2/3 shutout innings against the Rays, dating back to his first start on June 21 against Tampa Bay. The big righty wasn't overpowering on Monday, but he induced weak contact and flirted with history until the seventh, when Sizemore greeted his former team with a towering one-out shot into the right-field stands. The blast marked Sizemore's first of the season. More >

"Whatever was working for you the first day, I feel they're going to attack those strengths," said Anderson, referring to facing the Rays in consecutive starts. "So, sometimes you have to switch it up a little bit. I was able to throw some pitches in different counts that really helped me out."

Anderson perfect through 6 1/3

QUOTABLE
"You know, when you command the zone and you get ahead, you're going to have good outings. And that's what he did." -- Cash, on Anderson

"They drafted me my first year in college. I just didn't feel I was ready. I was still transitioning into being a pitcher. I just wasn't ready. [Outfield] is what I was trying to play in college, until they saw me try to hit." -- Anderson, on being drafted by the Rays in 2010

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Rays challenged a call in the ninth that saw Rivera get doubled off second base after Kevin Kiermaier lined out to the second baseman. After 41 seconds, the call on the field was confirmed.

Double play call confirmed

WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: In the second game of this four-game set at Tropicana Field, the Indians will send righty Danny Salazar (6-3, 4.06 ERA) to the mound to take on the Rays at 7:10 p.m. ET. Salazar will be aiming to bounce back from a rough start on June 23, when he gave up seven runs (six earned) in only 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers. Prior to that loss, he had a 3.03 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings in his previous six outings.

Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (6-2, 4.23) returns to the rotation after missing a turn due to a right groin strain. He is 6-1 in his last eight starts since May 14, and is tied for first in the Major Leagues in wins over that span. In three career appearances against the Indians he is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.