Scott Kazmir pitched dominantly through seven innings and the Tribe exploded for all of their seven runs in the 4th inning en route to a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Kazmir (3-2, 5.13 ERA) was about as electric as a fifth starter could be, allowing eight hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out five over his seven innings in only 93 pitches. Of those 93 pitches, 71% were thrown for strikes. His fastball was consistently reaching 95-96 mph, and his cutter and off-speed stuff were also a plus tonight. This was Kazmir’s longest outing since May 22, 2010. Kazmir has averaged 7.5 runs of support so far this season and that support came up big in the 4th inning.
With the score knotted at 0 and runners at first and second and two outs, Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Ryan Raburn, Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera (in his second plate appearance of the inning) all consecutively had RBI hits that resulted in all of the seven runs for the Tribe. 11 batters went to the plate for the Tribe in the 4th inning, and the seven runs with two outs increased the Indians league-leading number of two-out runs to 119. Yan Gomes was a big positive tonight for the Indians, going 3-4 with an RBI, showing that he deserves a frequent spot in the batting order.
Homer Bailey (3-4, 3.84 ERA) had five strikeouts through 3.2 innings before imploding in the fourth. This was Homer Bailey’s shortest outing of the season, going 3.2 innings while allowing seven runs (all earned) on seven hits with one walk, one hit by pitch and five strikeouts. Alfredo Simon, JJ Hoover, and Manny Parra combined to hold the Indians scoreless throughout the rest of the game.
The Reds’ only run came on a Jay Bruce single in the sixth that followed a Brandon Phillips double. That double raised Phillips’ average to .357 against his former team. Kazmir did run into trouble in the top of the third inning, when he allowed three singles to Derrick Robinson, Shin-Soo Choo, and Cesar Izturis to load the bases for Joey Votto. Kazmir was able to force Votto into a 4-6-3 double play to escape the inning unscathed.
Nick Hagadone and Matt Albers pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively, two relievers who have had recent struggles. Both pitched perfect innings.
Rightfielder Ryan Raburn left the game in the fifth inning with a lower leg cramp and was replaced by Drew Stubbs. Raburn finished with an RBI double and a walk in his two plate appearances. Also, Asdrubal Cabrera appears to be still nursing a quadricep injury, as his baserunning was more gingerly than usual.
In other news around the MLB, Alex Colome became the second Rays pitcher to not allowing an earned run in his debut, the other being Indians righthander Scott Kazmir.
The Indians begin a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday as Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57 ERA) will toe the mound against Rays ace Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21 ERA). The game starts at 7:05 pm EST.
W – Scott Kazmir (3-2)
L – Homer Bailey (3-4)
A – 18,364