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Edwin Encarnacion homers in spring finale, 9-4 win

A five-run sixth inning proved to be the difference in a 9-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday. The IBI's John Alfes recaps the final spring training game of 2017...


Thirty-six games in the Cactus League provided 108 different Cleveland Indians players with the opportunity to showcase their abilities prior to the regular season. Now that the evaluation stage has come to a close, 83 of these players have either been demoted to the minor leagues or released.

Spring training is officially over for a team hungry to return to competition.

The Tribe was able to eclipse the .500 mark and finish the spring with a 17-16-3 preseason record after a 9-4 victory against the Diamondbacks on Friday night from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.

Edwin Encarnacion and Yan Gomes launched a pair of solo shots in the second inning to jump-start the offense and garner some positive momentum heading into the 2017 campaign.

Bullpen day yields mixed results

Six of the seven relievers on the big league roster logged one last appearance before earning a two-day break this weekend.

While Dan Otero, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Shawn Armstrong combined for 3.2 scoreless innings, Boone Logan (1 ER) and Bryan Shaw (3 ER) allowed all four runs in their 1.1 frames of work.

"[Otero] sets the tone. He throws strikes. Works quick," said manager Terry Francona to reporters of his decision to start Otero. "I think [Shaw's] working still. We'll keep an eye on him a little bit, but we've all seen him do it."

Travis Banwart, one of the few remaining non-roster invitees at camp, pitched four shutout innings to seal the win and earn his third career spring training save.

Encarnacion and Gomes deliver

It took over a month and a half, but Encarnacion's famous "Edwing" made its first appearance after a scorching line drive just beyond the left center field wall. Three batters later and the Indians found themselves holding a 2-0 advantage courtesy of Gomes' third bomb in March.

"That was a nice swing," Francona said about Encarnacion. "He took a couple good swings. That's good."

Yandy Diaz finished the spring with 22 hits in 48 at-bats (.458), two of which came on Friday. The 25-year-old tripled and scored on a Carlos Santana double in the fifth, laced an RBI single in the sixth and departed the contest with an MLB debut awaiting him on Monday.

The remaining portion of the offensive production came courtesy of Austin Jackson's RBI double, Gomes' sac fly, a wild pitch, Yu-Cheng Chang's RBI double and Andrew Calica's sac fly. Francona seemed pleased with Gomes and the way he handled the last week of games.

"He's worked hard," said Francona. "He's situated where he should be in good shape. He's strong. He's healthy. He's taken a lot of good swings."

Gomes finished the Cactus League with a .370 (17-for-46) batting average, including six doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs.

Up next

The Indians will travel to Texas tonight before conducting an on-field workout on Sunday at 4 PM ET from Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Corey Kluber is slated for his third consecutive Opening Day start vs. Yu Darvish and the Rangers on Monday at 7 PM ET.

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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