Indians 4, Angels 2
MILWAUKEE (AP)—After taking two out of three games from the Los Angeles Angels in their retractable-roof refuge from the snow, the Cleveland Indians are ready for a real home opener—no matter how cold, wet and miserable it gets at Jacobs Field.
“Road trip to Cleveland this weekend,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Travis Hafner’s three-run homer in the eighth inning powered the Indians to a 4-2 comeback victory over the Angels at Miller Park on Thursday, in the finale of a series that was moved from Cleveland to Milwaukee after snow wiped out the Indians’ four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
“The way these guys came out here and competed and battled against a good club after being off, I don’t think you can ask for a whole lot more,” Wedge said.
The Indians return to Cleveland for what should be their true home opener against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night, but they might get another chilly reception. The weekend weather forecast in Cleveland calls for a mixture of rain and snow with high temperatures in the low 40s.
“The weather’s definitely better inside the dome than probably what we’re headed back to,” Hafner said.
Still, the Indians aren’t entertaining thoughts of playing the division rival White Sox anywhere other than Jacobs Field.
“It’s time to get back home,” Wedge said.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen jokingly suggested they move the series to Caracas in his native Venezuela.
“Caracas, they need some fan support,” Guillen said after the White Sox took two out of three games in Oakland. “Let’s go play in Caracas.”
Wedge laughed off Guillen’s suggestion as another instance of Ozzie being Ozzie.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” Wedge said.
The Angels took a 2-1 lead on two eighth-inning errors. But Scott Shields (0-1) walked the first two batters he faced in the bottom half and Hafner hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right field for his first home run of the year.
“You know if you make consistent, hard contact, home runs will come,” Hafner said.
Shields threw a fastball after he fell behind Hafner, hoping he would take the pitch.
“He didn’t miss it,” Shields said. “He’ll make you pay for your mistakes.”
Despite the hassle of an unexpected road trip, Wedge praised Milwaukee fans and Brewers officials for their hospitality this week.
“Milwaukee’s been fantastic for us, and we really appreciate everything,” Wedge said.
The Brewers announced a crowd of 17,090 for Thursday’s game, bringing the three-game series total to 52,496.
“The crowds were much better than we anticipated, and they were into the games,” Hafner said. “They have those unique waves that are fun to watch. Overall, it was a great atmosphere.”
Although the venue change was more jarring for Cleveland than it was for Los Angeles—the Angels were going to be on the road either way—both teams tried to make the best of an odd situation.
Angels traveling secretary Tom Taylor and communications manager Eric Kay dressed in sausage mascot costumes to run in Miller Park’s famous sausage race in the bottom of the sixth inning on Thursday.
“Maybe we’ll have bats ready as they go by,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia joked before the game.
Taylor won wearing the hot dog costume, and Kay finished second in the brat.
“Honestly, that was one of the top-five coolest things this job has afforded me—easily,” Kay said.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said injured starters Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver are progressing well in their rehab stints, but Joe Saunders will get at least one more start. Saunders gave up one run in 6 2-3 innings for the victory Wednesday night. … Because of the weather forecast, the Indians moved Saturday’s home game against Chicago to 1:05 p.m. EDT from 7:05 p.m. … ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who was in Wisconsin for a speaking engagement, threw ground balls to his twin grandsons on the field before the game and toured both clubhouses.
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, Calif., contributed to this report.