Say it three times fast. Or better yet, if you’re an Indians fan, don’t. Just sit back and savor the memory of a baseball game in which just about everything went right for a change. Tonight in Detroit’s Comerica Park, the Indians beat the Tigers, 4-2.
Tonight the walkingest pitcher in baseball, Ubaldo Jimenez, went nearly seven strong innings while walking only one batter, the last man he faced in the seventh inning. Jimenez was a little shaky at first, hitting Tigers leadoff hitter Quintin Berry with a pitch. With one out in the first, Berry stole second, then scored on a double from Miguel Cabrera. It wasn’t a great way to start the ballgame, and Indians fans had every reason to suspect that Jimenez, who got lit up by the White Sox in his last start, would have some trouble again tonight.
Fortunately for the Tribe, this was not the case. Jimenez pitched a fine game, allowing only one more hit, a bunt, over the next four innings. In the sixth, he gave up consecutive two-out singles to Cabrera and Prince Fielder, but retired the next batter on the first pitch to end the inning. Jimenez left the game with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Nick Hagadone then came on in relief and threw one pitch to Berry, who hit a routine fly to center for the third out. One pitch, one out, and Hagadone was done for the evening.
Vinnie Pestano came on in the eighth and retired all three hitters he faced, and Chris Perez, despite allowing a run on a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly, got his eighteenth consecutive save. Perez was greatly assisted by a fine defensive play by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who barehanded a ground ball which looked as if it would go through the infield for a single. He took a fraction of a second to set himself, then made a perfect throw to Kipnis at second to force out Delmon Young. Instead of Detroit having runners at first and second with no out, they had a man on first with one out. The next batter, “Southside” Jhonny Peralta, doubled in a run, but he’d have doubled in two had Cabrera and Kipnis not made that play.
Cabrera, Lou Marson, and Michael Brantley each hit triples for the Indians. What’s more, each triple was hit with a runner on base, so each triple drove in a run. Shin-Soo Choo also got an RBI with a single. It’s good to see Marson hit well lately. It was also good to see Carlos Santana back in the lineup as the DH, even if he did go 0 for 4. According to Indians manager Manny Acta, Santana will probably catch on Wednesday. Let’s hope he doesn’t get dinged with a foul tip or a baseball bat again any time soon!
Adding a grace note to tonight’s win, the Chicago White Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, so the Indians gained a game on each of their biggest division rivals. As Harry Wayne Casey, better known as KC of Sunshine Band fame, once so memorably and so rhythmically put it: that’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.
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