The Indians offense tagged Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.30 ERA) for five runs, including two home runs, on their way to a 5-2 victory.
Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.79 ERA) pitched just five innings, but allowed only four hits and one run on 101 pitches. Ubaldo struggled with his command through the first three innings, walking three batters while reaching 69 pitches. However, the only run Jimenez ceded was a solo home run to nine-hitter Leonys Martin in the third inning. Martin had been 2-20 up to that point.
Ubaldo did not have his best stuff tonight, but he found a way to work through that and still be effective. The old Ubaldo would have blown up against such a juggernaut Rangers lineup, but he was able to limit the damage to just one solo home run over five innings.
The scoring for the Indians began in the second inning, when Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch (the first of two such incidents for Giambi on Wednesday). The next batter was Mike Aviles, who launched a curveball from Texas starter Nick Tepesch into the left field seats. Mike Aviles has come on as of late, batting .293 in the month of June.
The Indians continued the barrage in the third inning, as Michael Brantley had an RBI single after Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis reached on singles. Michael Brantley, who has the lowest slugging percentage on the team (.360), batted fourth. Quite a puzzling move by Terry Francona, who has been inconsistent and interesting in his lineup selection throughout the season. However, it did “work” tonight.
Kipnis, who went 3-5, tacked on another run with a leadoff home run in the fifth inning to the right field bleachers. Michael Brantley walked two batters later. Carlos Santana subsequently nailed a double into the right field corner, scoring Brantley all the way from first. Carlos Santana is still falling in love with his big wide swing. When he does shorten up his approach, he is able to keep the ball in play and become a more adept run producer.
Five Indians relievers pitched four innings of one run ball, and things were going quite smoothly until the ninth inning. With the score 5-1 with two outs, Pestano allowed a single to Leonys Martin, which was at first called an error but then switched to a single. Jurickson Profar followed with an RBI double, his third hit of the game. Profar has been an Indians killer so far in his young career, hitting .538 (7-13) with 1 HR and 2 RBI. However, Vinnie Pestano was able to force Daniel Murphy into a flyout to finish the game. Pestano did not record the save because he pitched himself into the save situation.
On a personal note, it was enjoyable to watch the Indians bullpen preserve the victory instead of their recent history of blowups. I’ve still seen too much of Rich Hill for my liking, but he was able to retire AJ Pierzynski in a clutch situation in the bottom of the sixth. Nick Hagadone was also able to do the same against Daniel Murphy in the seventh.
This was the Indians first series win since May 17-20 against the Seattle Mariners. The Indians have won consecutive games for the first tine since May 29-May 30 at home against the Reds. With a look towards optimism, 70 of the Indians’ final 97 opponents have records below .500.
The Indians are off on Thursday, and will host a three game series against the Washington Nationals on Friday. Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.68 ERA) will toe the hill against lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59 ERA) on Dollar Dog Night at Progressive Field.
W – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4)
L – Nick Tesepch (3-6)
A – 34, 248