CLEVELAND -- The Indians headed into this season with increased confidence in the organization's depth. In an 8-6 win in the first game of a doubleheader sweep of Chicago on Monday, Cleveland showed precisely why it feels it is in a much better position in that regard.
The Tribe promoted right-hander Zach McAllister to make a spot start and the prospect gave the ballclub six solid innings en route to his first Major League win before being optioned back to Triple-A Columbus. In the ninth inning, lefty Nick Hagadone halted a White Sox rally to earn his first career save.
It was an example of how gaining more big league experience can help a young player.
"It's a process for every single one of these guys," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Last season, the 24-year-old McAllister made four starts for Cleveland, going 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA. When he took the mound against the White Sox on Monday afternoon, the right-hander did not have to battle the same kind of jitters he ran into a year ago.
"There's more confidence in me," McAllister said on Monday. "I think last year was a big learning experience for me and it definitely helped me out for this start."
Hagadone, 26, posted a 4.09 ERA in a nine-game stint with Cleveland last season and has now fashioned a 1.08 ERA in seven appearances for the Indians this year. In the ninth inning in Game 1 on Monday, Acta turned to Hagadone with no outs, a runner on second base and two runs already across the plate for the White Sox in the frame.
Hagadone walked one batter, but got the three outs needed to seal the win.
"Last year, we probably couldn't trust him in that situation," Acta said. "Now, we feel like he can come in and throw strikes. It takes time."
And it takes confidence.
"Being able to get the experience," Hagadone said, "and other innings in other situations building up to it definitely helps."