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Missed opportunities yield series sweep, 3-2 loss

It was a weekend to forget for the Cleveland Indians as they left 21 runners stranded as part of a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.


A two-month stay between Texas and Arizona ended on a low note on Sunday afternoon.

The Indians went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position to lose 3-2 to the Diamondbacks from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.

Corey Kluber pitched well but the lack of timely hitting paved way to a third consecutive defeat in the desert. 

Missed opportunities

Despite starting four different innings with a runner on base, the Tribe could not put a dent in the ledger of D-backs' starter Patrick Corbin when the opportunity presented itself. 

"Anytime you have that good changeup, it kinda takes a little bit of the speed out of guys' swings," manager Terry Francona said in regards to Corbin. "He was really effective with that."

Austin Jackson (double) was stranded at second in the third, Francisco Lindor (single) remained at third in the fourth and Yan Gomes was standing at second at the conclusion of the fifth.

Kluber returns to form

Since the third inning of Opening Day, Kluber has regained his mojo and surrendered two earned runs on six hits, two walks and seven strikeouts in nine innings pitched. The ace of the staff was treated for blisters on his throwing hand this past week before posting his first quality start of 2017 - 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.

"He actually was pretty good," said Francona. "I think not only is he a good pitcher, but he knows how to pitch maybe even not on his best day."

The scoring barrier was broken in the fourth inning on Daniel Descalso's RBI single and Yan Gomes' throwing error that allowed Chris Owings to score on a double steal.

Owings tallied an additional insurance score on a solo home run in the sixth to close the book on Kluber.

Replay review takes over seventh inning

One rules check, two challenges and one run created a rather hectic situation for managers and umpires alike in the seventh frame.

With runners at first and second and no outs, Jackson grounded to Paul Goldschmidt in what initially looked to be a textbook 3-6-1 double play. Instead, Owings came off the bag and fired an errant throw to first to commit two errors in the same sequence. The first replay review was conducted and overturned after Goldschmidt's throw elevated Owings off second base.

"Once the runner's safe at second - you know [because] the runner at third scored on the overthrow - we just wanted to make sure that they wouldn't give us a runner going to third," Francona said about Yandy Diaz scoring from second and the possibility of Gomes advancing from first to third on the play.

Shortly thereafter, Michael Martinez appeared to reach base safely on a bunt single back to the pitcher Archie Bradley. Torey Lovullo's challenge overturned yet another call and put runners at second and third with one out.

"[The umpire] said there was a little bit of confusion that they were going to rectify after the game," said Francona of the rules check. "I said, I know, but we're in the middle of the game now."

Carlos Santana popped out and Francisco Lindor grounded out to leave two of the Indians' 21 total men on base, 10 of which were in scoring position.

Pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte singled in Gomes in the ninth off Fernando Rodney, but the valiant attempt at a comeback came up short. 

Up next

The Indians will fly back to Cleveland and take the day off before their home opener on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox at 4:10 p.m. ET from Progressive Field.

Carlos Carrasco and James Shields are slated to toe the rubber in the Central Division clash.

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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