It is usually said that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at the onset of Spring Training. That theory flew out the window on Friday, when the Indians and Reds renewed their rivalry in a Cactus League contest at a breezy Goodyear Ballpark.
Both teams showed off their revamped lineups, but Cleveland came out on top with an 11-10 walk-off victory over Cincinnati. Mike McDade hit a bases-clearing double off Reds pitcher Drew Hayes in the ninth to win it. The always-energized Nick Swisher was ecstatic about the early showing from his new Indians squad.
"You add little pieces here or there, man," Swisher said, "And the team gets excited, and we pop out seven runs in the first three innings in the first game. Guys are really excited just to get out in those game-type situations where you can compete, not only against our own guys."
Swisher, who signed a four-year contract worth $56 million with the Tribe over the winter, roped an RBI single in the first inning -- his first act as a member of the Indians in a game. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall chipped in a two-run homer, left fielder Michael Brantley contributed a pair of doubles and catcher Carlos Santana had two run-scoring singles.
That combined effort helped Cleveland take a 7-5 lead in the third inning after trailing 5-0 in the first.
Indians lefty Giovanni Soto, who got the start in the Cactus League opener as he gets ready for a stint wth Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, allowed five runs on three hits in just two-thirds of an inning. Joey Votto got Cincinnati's five-run first rolling with an RBI single and catcher Ryan Hanigan wrapped up the rally with a two-run double.
Miguel Olivo and Devin Mesoraco each homered for the Reds in the contest. Both blasts came off Indians right-hander Joe Martinez, who was charged with five runs on five hits in two innings of relief for the Tribe.
According to Reds manager Dusty Baker, "The offense was moving pretty good. We had a lot of young guys out there -- a lot of walks, untimely walks, especially at the end of the game. You want to rescue them but they have to get their work in.
"We saw some positive things, but you hate to lose like that late. Those untimely walks. We did everything well except a lot of young guys might have been a little nervous the first time out."
Left-hander Tony Cingrani -- one of Cincinnati's top pitching prospects -- started for the Reds and allowed three runs on three hits in one inning. Cingrani had one strikeout and issued one walk in the effort.
Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, who signed a four-year deal worth $48 million shortly before Spring Training began, said it was great to see Cleveland's starting nine on the field for the first time this year.
"It felt cool," Bourn said. "You always want to see how it looks when you go out there together and match up and play against another team. I felt like we looked OK today. We scored some runs, got some walks, made some good plays on defense also. It was a good day for the starters."