ANAHEIM -- Giovanny Urshela could have had the spotlight turned on him for the wrong reasons Tuesday night. Instead, the Indians rookie third baseman was able to enjoy playing the role of hero, launching the go-ahead home run to help Cleveland claim an extra-innings win over the Angels.
Urshela's two-run shot over the left-field wall in the 12th inning helped send the Indians to a 2-0 victory, overcoming a baserunning blunder two innings earlier. Baseball can be cruel, but it can also be forgiving. Urshela experienced the latter in the win at Angel Stadium.
"I was thrilled for him," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The gaffe came in the top of the 10th inning, when the Indians and Angels remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie. Urshela tried to ignite a rally with one out, pushing a pitch from lefty Jose Alvarez down the right-field line for a double. Tribe second baseman Jose Ramirez then slapped a pitch into the hole between second and third, where Angels shortstop Erick Aybar ran down the grounder.
Urshela felt he saw an opportunity to sprint to third base, but Aybar gloved the ball, fired it to third baseman Conor Gillaspie and the rookie runner was caught for a critical out.
"We're human. We make mistakes," Urshela said. "In that situation, I was trying to get to third base. I'm always keeping that in mind there in the game. I saw the ball in the hole, so I thought I had a good chance to take third."
Francona said the baserunner has to know for certain that he can be safe in that scenario.
"If the third baseman goes for the ball, then [the runner] can go for it because there's nobody there," Francona said. "But, he has to see that through. I understand what he's trying to do. He's trying so hard to score a run. ... He was kind of beating himself up."
Urshela redeemed himself with his 12th-inning blast off Angels pitcher Cam Bedrosian.
"That felt great," Urshela said with a smile. "That felt good to help the team win."
Francona enjoyed seeing how the rookie handled the situation.
"He stayed in the game, didn't sulk and helped us win," said the manager.