8/13/2014 1:20 A.M. ET
Indians have some fun after opener washed out
Aviles leads wet-n-wild charge; doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Mike Aviles picked up the phone in the Indians' dugout and got manager Terry Francona on the line. Like a kid asking a parent to stay late at a friend's house, the infielder hung up after hearing all he needed to hear.
Aviles -- with fellow Cleveland infielders Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall at his side -- wanted to do tarp slides as a steady rain pounded the infield at Progressive Field late Tuesday night.
"I asked him if we could," Aviles said of his brief chat with Francona. "He didn't really say, 'No,' but he didn't really say, 'Yeah.' I didn't hear a, 'No.' It was like a, 'Maybe.' It counts. You've just got to read between the lines."
In the moments shortly before the Tribe's game against the D-backs was postponed, Aviles, Kipnis and Chisenhall sprinted from the dugout, ran across the tarp and slid headfirst through the puddles and raindrops to the delight of the fans who remained. It was an entertaining ending to a game that was wiped out following a delay that lasted three hours and 40 minutes.
Due to the postponement, the Indians and D-backs will play a traditional doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. Game 1 will feature Cleveland righty Trevor Bauer against Arizona lefty Andrew Chafin, who will be making his Major League debut. Game 2 will pit the Tribe's Josh Tomlin against left-hander Vidal Nuno.
Arizona and Cleveland played into the top of the fourth inning Tuesday, with the Indians holding a 1-0 lead in a game that began with promising performances by Tribe lefty T.J. House and D-backs righty Josh Collmenter.
"It definitely was a good pitching matchup early," House said. "I kept the ball in the zone -- low pitch count. Just kind of nice and easy and it worked real well. That's one of the reasons why I was a little disappointed it ended. I was feeling so good."
Cleveland's lone run came courtesy of an RBI double in the third inning by Kipnis, who no longer has that hit on his statistical record.
That may or may not have made him easily swayed by Aviles.
"I lost my double, so I was emotional. And an RBI," Kipnis said with a smirk. "I didn't know which way was up. I was easily influenced."
Inside the clubhouse during the lengthy delay, which began at 7:57 p.m., the Indians did what they could to pass the time. While the teams attempted to wait out the storm, Kipnis posted a video of players attempting to kick a soccer ball into a laundry basket. Kipnis also took on Chisenhall in a game of R.B.I. Baseball on Nintendo.
Chisenhall came out on top in that game.
"He was helped," Kipnis complained. "He had the clubbies come over and tell him the secret, and he subbed out pitchers and had pinch-hitters. Ellis Burks had three home runs in two at-bats in that game."
Meanwhile, Aviles -- not in the starting lineup -- was beginning to go stir crazy.
"When you get to that point where it's like 11-11:30," Aviles said, "and you're just over the whole thing, it's like, 'Hey, are we going to play? Not play?' You get a little restless. After a while, I was in here -- obviously everybody knows how much energy I have -- and I was just getting restless.
"It's not good for a person with as much energy as I have to just sit around with nothing to do."
So Aviles suggested doing the tarp slides.
"It was pretty easy to get Kip to come along," Aviles said. "And Lonnie was right there with him. It wasn't hard."
The trio slid multiple times, including a dramatic finish via Kipnis.
The Indians second baseman tagged up at third base, waited and then bolted for the plate. As the few lingering fans cheered, Kipnis slid headfirst into home, as Aviles -- on his knees near the mound -- raised his arms to motion that the second baseman was safe.
"We weighed the risk versus the reward, and it was well worth it," Kipnis said. "I always wanted to do that."
Aviles was impressed.
"He tagged up," said the infielder. "The guy caught the ball, but he didn't throw him out. And, we win."