Mike Napoli homers but winless Indians lose 6-5 to Brewers
PHOENIX (AP) Mike Napoli hit his first home run of the spring but the Cleveland Indians remained winless after six games following a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Chris Carter hit his second home run for the Brewers, who are 4-0-1 in Cactus League play. Reserve shortstop Yadiel Rivera homered leading off the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Napoli signed a $7 million, one-year contract with Cleveland in January and is expected to start at first base. He and Joey Butler each hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning off Junior Guerra, yet the Indians fell to 0-4-2 this spring.
''The chance to play here every day was pretty attractive to me,'' Napoli said. ''Then when you look at the pitching and the lineup we have, it puts us in a position to win games.''
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco allowed one hit with a strikeout in two innings during his first Cactus League appearance.
Collin Cowgill also homered for the Indians. His drive came off Milwaukee starter Matt Garza, the only hit he permitted in 1 2-3 innings.
Hernan Perez had two hits for Milwaukee and is 4 for 6 this spring. Ramon Flores added an RBI single.
Rivera also had an RBI double in the seventh. He connected in the ninth off Ryan Merritt and has two home runs in the past two days - both ninth-inning drives that put the Brewers ahead. Rivera hit two homers in the minors all last year.
''Spring training or not, two ninth-inning, go-ahead homers like that, that's rare,'' Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. ''You don't see that. I've never seen it.''
Indians: Carrasco won 14 games last season and had 216 strikeouts in his first full season with the Indians. ''Fastball command was my goal,'' he said. ''I threw 25 pitches and only three were breaking pitches. Fastball location is what I was looking for and I was happy with it.''
Brewers: Garza got a scare when he took a comebacker off the shin from Jason Kipnis on the first pitch of the game. The right-hander followed that with two walks but pitched out of the jam.
''Today I had a lot of nerves and that wasn't a way to calm them down. But it was nice to be out there pain-free,'' said Garza, looking to bounce back from a 6-14 season and 5.63 ERA that he attributed in part to hip and core muscle issues. ''I still have a long, long, long way to go with fighting bad habits that I created having to compensate for hurt or weak spots. It's a long and painful process, I'll tell you that.''
NO SHORT-AGE OF CHOICES
Rivera has shown off his glove several times early in Cactus League play and now he's flashing some offensive pop, too.
''It's been there,'' he said. ''Now it's coming out.''
A ninth-round draft pick in 2010, the 23-year-old Rivera made his major league debut with the Brewers late last season.
''Defensively, we've all noticed some of the double plays he turned here that were really impressive,'' Counsell said. ''He's certainly a player we've taken note of early. He's a very good defensive player, and getting lots of at-bats at higher levels are helping him.''
The Brewers have Jonathan Villar at shortstop and top prospect Orlando Arcia on the way, but Counsell said Rivera gives Milwaukee more of a comfort zone at the position.
Indians: RHP Zach McAllister has the flu and will be scratched from his scheduled outing Monday.
Brewers: RHP Yhonathan Barrios was scratched from his scheduled appearance Sunday with shoulder stiffness. Counsell said it was a precaution and not believed to be serious.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar will start against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on Monday.
Brewers: Taylor Jungmann will make his first Cactus League start against the San Diego Padres.