Al Davis had it right: Just Win, Baby.
In a generally dull game which featured 16 walks, 2 HBP, 22 runners left on and nearly 350 pitches, the Indians scratched out a 4-3 win over Oakland and improved to 6-1 on the current road trip.
The hitting hero was Jack Hannahan who drove in the Indians’ first run on a sacrifice fly and later added a two out two run double. Hannahan leads the Tribe with 11 RBI’s and an .833 average with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.
The only exciting play of the night came in the 5th inning when the Tribe scored its final run came on sheer hustle and determination. Hit by a pitch, Jason Kipnis was picked off first but beat the throw to second for a steal and then scored on Choo’s single to right after a gutsy, headfirst slide around the catcher got his hand to the plate just before the tag.
Ubaldo Jimenez continued to struggle with command and consistency. He threw 106 pitches in only 6 innings, walked five and constantly fell behind or allowed hitters to get back into counts. He pitched out of trouble in four innings, stranded 7 runners on base and benefited from a botched double steal by the A’s in the fifth when an excellent choice and throw by Carlos Santana caught the trail runner. Jimenez needs to focus on fastball command and not force his breaking ball.
Tony Sipp (14.73 ERA) also struggled. He replaced Jimenez to start the seventh and gave up a leadoff triple to Jemile Weeks and walked the next batter before he struck out an over anxious Josh Reddick on a high fastball out of the zone. Joe Smith entered and yielded an RBI single to Yoenis Cespedes but got out of the inning on a nice tag by Kotchman on a poor throw by Hannahan.
Vinnie Pestano closed the door in the eighth and Chris Perez pitched an uneventful ninth against the heart of Oakland’s order for his fifth save.
Not a game of beauty but the kind of win a team needs to sustain streaks and itself after a poor start. The Indians stand at 7-5 overall, one and a half games behind Detroit.