During the course of a 162-game baseball season, every team is going to win a couple games they should have lost.
Tuesday night’s game between the Indians and the Royals definitely falls into the latter category for the hometown team. The offense was sputtering early and often against SP Ervin Santana, and threatening to waste a decent outing by Ubaldo Jimenez (5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). To their credit, however, the Indians would not stop battling; they made Santana work a little bit harder every inning, finally breaking through in the 7th to make the game 2-1.
But then the Indians did their best to screw the pooch (oops, one of Stephanie’s dog puns must have gotten left over from yesterday) as the game turned over to the bullpen. After Hagadone got through the 7th unscathed, Cody Allen was called upon to keep it a one-run game. The first batter Allen faced, Eric Hosmer, chopped an easy grounder right back to the mound, but one atrocious throw to first later and Hosmer (who should have been out) was standing on third with no outs. The Indians had essentially given up another run for free, and that two-run deficit loomed large.
In the bottom of the 8th, however, the offense awoke. Ryan Raburn led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on Drew Stubbs’ weak groundout. Michael Bourn slapped a single to plate Raburn, and Mike Aviles followed with another single to set up Jason Kipnis for some heroics. Kipnis to this point in the evening had been pounded away by Royals pitching, and prior to his final at-bat he struck out looking twice on fastballs low and away. With LHP “Tiny” Tim Collins on the mound, Kipnis made a crucial adjustment and took a low and away pitch right down the left-field line, scoring Bourn and tying the game. The Indians would then take the lead on Michael Brantley’s sac fly. The Indians got a little bit lucky on the sacrifice fly, because Jeff Francoeur (who has a great arm) was not in RF, but instead it was David Lough, whose throw was nowhere near in time to get Aviles at the plate.
Which leads us to the top of the 9th inning. Vinnie Pestano, who hasn’t been right all year, came in to collect his second save of the year. He would go on to allow three hits in the inning, as well as a walk, but he somehow avoided giving up a run. Lough started the inning with a single, and tried to score on an Alcides Escobar single… sort of. I have no idea what Lough was doing, but he ran through a stop sign to stop halfway home, and then he was dead to rights. Pestano walked Alex Gordon (the old unintentional intentional walk) to get to Hosmer, who grounded out meekly to end the game.
Whew. That was an adventure.
In Other News:
-Baltimore beat Detroit (and Justin Verlander) 5-2. That’s good.
-I’m not quite sure why Yan Gomes isn’t playing more. This probably needs to be a post on its own, but his bat looks to be fairly sustainable, and his glove behind the dish is a vast, vast improvement over Santana. With the injuries to Swisher and Asdrubal, you would think the Indians would be doing everything they could to get Gomes out there more.
-Hey everyone! Lonnie Chisenhall is back! In his first start in the bigs since being sent down, Lonnie only struck out once, and didn’t look foolishly overmatched at the plate. We can only hope he’s not a AAAA All-Star.
-Chris Perez made a rehab appearance at AA Akron, and it didn’t go so well. He gave up 5 runs and 3 HR. To AA ballplayers. Oof.
-Tomorrow: Justin Masterson (8-5) goes against Luis Mendoza (2-3) at 7:05pm in the rubber game of this 3-game set.