He wasn’t even in Cleveland for 24 hours before he had a chance to contribute. Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who just arrived from AAA Columbus earlier today, pinch hit for Shelley Duncan in the bottom of the eighth inning with two out and Shin-Soo Choo on third base. The speedy Carrera executed a perfect drag bunt down the first base line, narrowly dodging the tag from the Reds first baseman Joey Votto. For those of you that may not remember, the Indians got Carrera (and shortstop Juan Diaz) from the Seattle Mariners in the Russell Branyan trade last summer. (Wouldn’t it be nice to burn Seattle a third time – with Asdrubal Cabrera, Choo *and* Carrera?) This particular play, in fact the entire game, worked as a metaphor for the Indians’ season thus far. The Tribe keeps managing to find new ways to score, and new ways to put a W on the scoreboard for the evening. There have been a number of different heroes/contributors throughout the season, and there were several again tonight.
Even though the Indians’ other new call-up, reliever Frank Herrmann, did not have a good outing (2 runs, 1 earned, in 2 innings), the rest of the bullpen stepped in and picked him up. Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp and closer Chris Perez combined for four scoreless innings after Alex White left after the third inning with a finger injury. As I was watching this game on television, I originally I thought I’d be writing a post entitled “Another One Bites the Dust,” about how the Indians lost yet another player to the DL (or the strange land of “day to day” that several players now inhabit). White’s departure became the B story in this one. The Indians, who were no-hit through five innings by Cincinnati pitcher Travis Wood, suddenly leapt on the board with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Tribe already gifted two runs to the Reds in the top of the third inning with Matt LaPorta’s throwing error. The Reds pretty much handed those runs back as they hit Choo with the bases loaded, then surrendered a walk to Carlos Santana with the bases still juiced. The Indians are lucky that their three errors did not put this game completely out of reach.
Tonight’s win marked the sixth straight game that the Indians won at home in the last at-bat. When Michael Brantley doubled in the sixth inning to knock in Austin Kearns, he became the sixth Indians player with 20 or more RBI; Choo became the seventh later in the inning when he was hit by the pitch. (The others in the 20+ RBI group are Travis Hafner, Asdrubal Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera, Matt LaPorta, and Carlos Santana). Like I said in my earlier post, the offense can survive the injuries, but only if they get contributions from the entire lineup. Even though the Indians struggled for much of the game to get even a single hit, they still found a way to put a W on the board.
I’m hoping the Rally Cows can keep their home win streak alive; we’re set to go to the next five home games against the Reds and the Red Sox (as long as I’m not defeated by the sinus/double ear infection I’ve been fighting for what seems like weeks at this point)!