Anderson's spot start turns into top-notch effort

Indians righty puts early-season struggles behind him

Anderson's spot start turns into top-notch effort

CHICAGO -- Indians right-hander Cody Anderson gave up five hits and one run through three innings Monday night, throwing better than he has but looking far from where he wants to be.

But after that third inning, Anderson completely shut down the White Sox. In a 5-1 Indians victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader, Anderson retired his final 12 batters. He finished seven innings, allowing only the one run with no walks and a season-high nine strikeouts.

That, then, is where he and the Indians want him to be.

"The understatement would be that we were excited with the way he threw the ball," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Anderson entered the nightcap 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA. He was recalled as the 26th man to make a spot start in his third Indians stint this season. He was optioned to Triple-A Columbus only six days before, where he used his bullpen sessions to regain command of his breaking pitches.

The result was easily his best of the season. Anderson kept his postgame comments short and sweet because, really, what more is there to say?

"Felt good," said Anderson, who improved to 3-0 with a 1.83 lifetime against the South Siders. "Arm felt good. It's been feeling good all season. Finally just put one together."

Anderson got out of the rocky first three innings relatively unscathed. After that, he kept looking better. He spotted his fastball to get ahead in counts. Then he dropped in his changeup and curveball to put away hitters.

"I think confidence plays a big part in everything," Francona said. "You start feeling better about things, then the pitches have a little better finish on [them]; your work, your tempo is better."

Anderson has also been tinkering with his mechanics and trying to keep from becoming closed off in his delivery. On Monday, he looked smooth and steady as he guided the Indians to their first win in four games.

"That was really good," Francona said. "One, we needed a win, but it was nice to see him pitch like that."

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