Close losses an unwanted theme for Tribe

Four times on road trip Cleveland has been handed a one-run defeat

Close losses an unwanted theme for Tribe

PHILADELPHIA -- Since embarking on a nine-game road trip just over a week ago, the Indians are 4-4, with one left before heading home. But they're probably a combined handful of feet away from having a chance to go back to Cleveland undefeated.

Manager Terry Francona said nobody's complaining. But Trevor Bauer, who started Saturday night's 4-3 loss, laid it out postgame.

"Shoot, we're an inch and a half, two inches away from that ball getting over his head," Bauer said, referring to Peter Bourjos' highlight-reel play to end the game on a liner from Jason Kipnis to the warning track. "It's the way the game goes. [Marlon Byrd] hits a ball that's five feet short. [Juan] Uribe's was five feet short of being a home run. They get a fourth run on just bloops and broken bats that happened to fall a foot their way."

Before Saturday's loss, every game the Indians had dropped on the road trip had left them standing on the field -- walk-offs by the home team. This time, the Phillies scored the decisive run in the seventh, rather than the ninth or in extra innings.

With the game still being decided in the seventh, though, Cleveland's record in such games dropped to 2-7 on the season. They've played 10 one-run affairs, accounting for nearly half their games. They're tied for the most in baseball, and among the three teams atop the league, the Indians have played three fewer games than the Twins and four fewer than the Giants.

"It's stressful on everybody, especially when you're on the road because you're always one pitch away," Francona said before Saturday's game.

At 10-11 overall, the Indians' 4-6 record in games decided by one run is fairly proportionate. But to see where they could be if a few plays went their way, all they have to do is look across the diamond.

With Saturday's win, the Phillies improved to 7-2 in one-run games. A team most predicted to be battling for last place in the National League East with the Braves finished April 14-10, the fifth-best record in the NL. The Indians, meanwhile, sit in fourth place in the American League Central, five games behind the White Sox (who are 6-3 in one-run games).

While it's more encouraging than to be getting blown out, ultimately, it's only wins and losses that are counted in the standings.

"You try to be one run better, not one run worse," Francona said.

Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.