Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera each had two RBI, Jason Giambi hit the game-deciding double in the seventh inning, and Chris Perez recorded his eighth save of the season as the Indians defeated the Royals 6-5 on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Indians started the game with a two run first inning from a bases-loaded walk from Carlos Santana and an RBI hit-by-pitch from Mark Reynolds. Royals starter Luis Mendoza (2-4, 4.41 ERA) limited the damage by inducing a Jason Giambi double play, one of four by the Indians on the day. The last time the Indians won a game while grounding into four double plays was August 7th, 2009.
The Indians got back on the board with an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run single in the fourth inning. However, the Indians were not able to create any more runs from this situation. The Indians left eight runners on base on the day.
Things got tricky in the fifth inning. Indians starter Corey Kluber, who had electric stuff throughout the first four innings, gave up two broken-bat singles to Mike Moustakas and David Lough to start the fifth. After walking Johnny Giavotella, Kluber faced Alex Gordon. After going to 3-0, Gordon smashed a Corey Kluber fastball to right field to tie the game at 4-4.
Kluber, who went 5 1/3 innings, lost composure after giving up two lucky hits to begin the inning. Walking Giavotella (career OPS: .623) in his second game of the season to load the bases for Gordon was a very poor mistake on Kluber’s part. As in the case for many Indians pitchers this season, they have trouble getting out of jams while limiting damage. When Kluber had run the count to 3-0 against Gordon, he felt as if he had to throw Gordon a strike. Sometimes it’s better to walk in one run than to give up four.
The Indians were able to regain the lead in the seventh inning against Royals lefty Tim Collins and righty Aaron Crow. After Collins walked Cabrera and Kipnis to begin the inning, Crow came in and walked Swisher to load the bases. Carlos Santana then hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center field. And continuing his tear of clutch hitting two batters later, Jason Giambi roped an RBI double down the right field line to score Kipnis. That Giambi RBI became the final and deciding run of the game.
Since May 27, Jason Giambi is batting .302/.429/.622, which adds up to .1051 OPS. He has also provided 4 HR and 10 RBI in that 19 game stretch.
Vinnie Pestano gave up a run on a Billy Butler double in the eighth to bring the game to 6-5, and then went on to walk Mike Moustakas. With runners on the corners and one out, Akron native David Lough grounded a laser to Jason Kipnis who snagged the ball on a one hop, flipped to Asdrubal Cabrera, and Cabrera fired a laser to Swisher at first to get Lough out by half a step at to end the inning and preserve the lead.
What is often lost in the awe-inspiring offensive numbers of Jason Kipnis is his ability to save runs based on his defensive ability. Kipnis finished the 1-4 with a walk and two runs scored, extending his on-base streak to 33 games.
Chris Perez pitched the ninth inning for his eighth save of the season, but did give Indians fans a scare by allowing two base runners. Chris Perez looks like the above-average closer that we came to know and love and hate.
In other Indians notes, Nick Swisher went 3-4 at the plate with a walk and has seemed to have regained his swing. Indians relievers Nick Hagadone, Cody Allen and Joe Smith all pitched well without giving up any runs.
The Indians will face the Royals tomorrow in the second game of their three game series at 8:10 pm EST. Indians starter Scott Kazmir (4-4, 4.83 ERA) will face former Indian Jeremy Guthrie (7-6, 4.11 ERA).