Indians manager Terry Francona is willing to accept just about anything in the clubhouse if it produces victories. Almost anything that is. He might draw the line at chickens. "I don't know about farm animals" he said shaking his head. He might not have any choice. Not after the Tribe pulled off a 6-4 victory over Baltimore on Wednesday -- the same night the Indians unleashed their chicken. The chicken – actually a reddish-brown rooster – appeared in the Progressive Field outfield during Indians batting practice carried out by staff ace Justin Masterson and presented to reliever Cody Allen. Wearing a tiny cape adorned with a Cleveland "C" and led by a leash the chicken calmly wandered among pitchers in center field as they shagged fly balls. The poised bird was a gift for the pitcher who has been nicknamed "Chicken Al" by fellow pitcher Frank Herrmann in spring training. And after the Tribe's performance against the Orioles that included a four-run first inning players were talking about the chicken staying for good. "I tell you what if we get on a roll that's going to be our mascot" said outfielder Ryan Raburn who appeared in his first game since he was activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. "Whoever's the owner of it we're going to have to keep that sucker. We might have to get him his own locker." After all the chicken's good-luck karma helped the Tribe get off to an explosive start against Orioles starter Zach Britton. Singles by Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis – who reached base on a perfectly laid bunt down the third-base line – set up an RBI single from catcher Yan Gomes. Two batters later Raburn rocketed a double to right – in his first game since Aug. 18 while he nursed an Achilles injury -- that scored Kipnis and Gomes. Mike Aviles' RBI single capped the four-run explosion. Starter Zach McAllister cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fifth. A double a single and a wild pitch resulted in three runs scored that inning before he was relieved by Bryan Shaw. Shaw (3-3) contained the Orioles for one crucial inning -- until the Rally Chicken did its work. In the bottom of the fifth Gomes' third hit of the game was a double that scored Kipnis and gave the Tribe the cushion it needed. In all Gomes was 3-for-4 with a double and to RBI. The chicken? He's 1-0 in helping the Tribe as it battles in the wild-card race. The Indians are three games back with 23 games remaining. And he also bumped the Tribe's attendance Wednesday evening to 11523.
Gomes, Raburn and a chicken help Indians to 6-4 victory over O's
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Sep 5