When it comes to playing in tight games, it's always nice to walk away with a "W" after winning a close one than losing it.
Tuesday evening at Progressive Field with the Indians and Chicago Cubs going to battle in the first of a short two-game set, as the Tribe did just enough with a pair of big homers and some even bigger outings on the mound to beat Chicago 3-2.
The win puts the Indians at 19-14 on the year, 9-7 at Progressive Field. The formula used to win was again in effect with Shane Bieber going 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits.
Bieber wasn't perfect by any means, but when he needed that 'one' pitch, he was able to rare back and get it, which is why skipper Tito Francona trusted him enough to allow him to throw 121 pitches, 75 of which were strikes.
Two of the key relievers from the Indians pen were able to finish things off, with James Karinchak going 1.1 innings, with a walk and a K, throwing 17 pitches.
Emmanuel Clase also came in and got a huge weight off the team's shoulders, as he got the biggest two outs of the night, a key double play ball in the 9th from the Cubs Matt Duffy that closed out the win.
Clase's efforts earned him his 7th save of 2021, while Karinchak earned his 5th hold for the Tribe.
Now with one of two between the two teams accounted for, here's a few thoughts as well as takeaways on the Tribe's latest win in front of 8,000 at Progressive Field
Bieber's Continues History Making Outings
It wasn't as sharp as many have been use to, but for Bieber he again was able to rear back when the game was on the line and get a couple massive outs that eventually won the game.
Tuesday his linescore saw the streak that everyone is talking about continue, as he got to eight strikeouts (again), for the 20th straight game.
To think just a few years back many didn't even know who Shane Bieber was, and now he's a household name in and around Major League Baseball.
He just has the ability to do enough to retire big name players with an inning or game on the line, which is what he did in a couple innings when the Cubs were looking to push the game open.
The biggest go at it of the night for Bieber came in the 7th with two outs he was able to turn it over the Karinchak, who got the Cubs Anthony Rizzo, who had reached a few times before this plate appearance, to fly out to end the inning.
The Long Ball Helps Out Again
Jose Ramirez is starting to find that 'home run groove' again like he had a few years back when he and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox had a fun spring, summer and fall going back and forth on who was going to be the home run king of the American League.
Last year it was well documented just how good the 28-year-old was, as he wound up hanging around in the top three in the American League in terms of MVP voting.
It's only 33 games into the 2021 season, but already JRam is at it again, and Tuesday he hit a big homer that led off the 4th inning - a 7-pitch at-bat that eventually saw him blast a four-seam fastball over the wall in right to tie the affair at one apiece.
You get a sense that Ramirez is in one of those special grooves right now that you only see certain players get into a couple of times a year.
Franmil Reyes was just the opposite of that on Tuesday, going 0-for-3, striking out twice swinging and once looking.
The Indians can afford to have a player like Reyes struggle once in awhile but they were able to more than make up for it with Ramirez and his blast to tie the matchup up at one in the 4th inning.
The Finale Before Heading West
The Indians will host the Cubs one more time before they pack a heavy suitcase with clothes as well as things to wear while they are 1500 miles away looking for ways to entertain their fans in the state of Oregon.
The west coast swing will start with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday evening, as the clubs will lock up for the first time in the 2021 season.
The first pitch of the first game for the west coast trip is set for 10:10pm Thursday night, and then game two will be highlighted by a 10:10 first pitch again out in Seattle on Friday.
The M's are currently 18-17, 2.5 games back of the rival Oakland A's for first in the AL West.
They haven't played great at home, going just .500 at 9-9, but it's enough for the Indians to not let their guard down in the wrap-around four-game set.