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Yandy Diaz continues torrid spring in 4-4 tie

The structure of Terry Francona's opening day roster gets more interesting each day as Yandy Diaz elevated his batting average to .381 with three singles and an RBI in a 4-4 tie with Arizona.

Summary

The Indians were able to end the weekend on a positive note after an exhausting three-day stretch of five games.

Cleveland put together a well-rounded effort on both sides of the ball and tied the Diamondbacks 4-4 on Sunday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark.

Led by Josh Tomlin's five innings of efficient work, the pitching unit combined for a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and only four opposing baserunners through eight frames. Yandy Diaz spearheaded the offense thanks to his first career multi-hit game at the major league level.

Had Hoby Milner not blown the two-run advantage in the ninth inning, Mickey Callaway's staff would have arguably had their best performance of the spring. 

Tomlin bounces back

After allowing six runs on eight hits in his last start, Tomlin returned to form against a team he has never faced in the regular season. The projected five starter in the pitching rotation surrendered a second inning solo shot to Chris Herrmann, but was able to retire 11 of the last 13 hitters he faced for a final line of 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (seven groundouts, two flyouts).

"He threw the ball over the plate, and he didn't throw it over the middle," said Terry Francona to reporters after the game. "He looks like he's right where he needs to be."

Shortstop Michael Martinez was responsible for Tomlin's one unearned run when he committed a throwing error to lead off the fifth.

Dan Otero, Boone Logan and Nick Goody pitched three scoreless innings in relief before Milner gave up the two game-tying scores. Michael Perez and Sergio Alcantara each notched an RBI single off the Tribe's most recent Rule 5 Draft selection to hand the home nine their third tie of 2017.

Diaz impresses Francona

He's only played 11 games, but Diaz has done everything in his power to be in the mix for a spot on the opening day roster. With Jose Ramirez potentially moving over to second base, his primary position during his minor league tenure, the window for an MLB opportunity at the hot corner is slowly creaking open. 

"He's an advanced hitter," Francona said. "He's got a really good idea of the strike zone. He's strong enough to drive the ball and use the whole field."

Diaz went 3-for-4 with three hits and an RBI as the cleanup hitter. The 25-year-old's second single was enough to plate Edwin Encarnacion and give the Indians a 2-1 lead, their first of the day.

"There's a lot to like offensively," said Francona. "He's got some work to do defensively. We'll stay after him and make sure he gets it done."

In the eighth, Eric Stamets placed a perfect RBI bunt single and Conner Capel grounded into an RBI fielder's choice to advance the lead to 4-2. Daniel Robertson and Greg Allen singled to begin the late-inning rally.

Up next

Michael Brantley's 2017 Cactus League debut is scheduled for Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:05 PM ET from Goodyear Ballpark.

Trevor Bauer and Brandon McCarthy are the probable pitchers for the 24th game of the spring training slate.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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