Hagadone builds confidence with Houdini act

Hagadone builds confidence with Houdini act

Hagadone builds confidence with Houdini act

NEW YORK -- The Indians needed two outs to escape a key moment on Tuesday night. With the bases loaded and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano at the plate in the seventh inning, Cleveland manager Terry Francona handed the ball to lefty Nick Hagadone.

"That's huge for me to know that Tito's got the confidence in me to put me in that situation," Hagadone said on Wednesday.

The Indians ultimately dropped a 4-3 decision to the Yankees, but Hagadone's escape act in the seventh surely provided a confidence boost for the left-hander. Hagadone worked ahead in the count and then fired an 81-mph slider, which Cano beat into the ground for an inning-ending double play.

That held Cleveland's deficit at one run and impressed Francona.

"I think it was good for him. It should be," Francona said. "He just faced one of the best left-handers in the league, and he got a double play. It should help him immensely."

Hagadone headed into that appearance having posted a 14.21 ERA with a .333 opponents' batting average over his previous seven appearances, dating back to May 11. During that span, the lefty's season ERA soared to 7.20 from 2.08. Hagadone said his confidence was not lacking, but getting Cano out at a critical point certainly did not hurt.

"A one-run game with the bases loaded, it's just big for my confidence," Hagadone said. "To come through against a hitter like that, to know that I can get him out, that was big for me. I always have confidence in my stuff. But any time you can come through in a situation like that, it's always good."

Last season, Hagadone posted a 16.43 ERA over his final 10 appearances with the Indians after putting up a 2.04 ERA across his first 17 games. The left-hander said that slump was harder on him than the rough patch he has experienced lately.

"It definitely is different," Hagadone said. "I feel, for the most part, really good about how I've thrown the ball lately, and I feel confident going forward."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.