It was a magical night at Progressive Field on Saturday, as another solid start by underrated right-hander Corey Kluber – 6 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, and 1 BB – was undone by faulty relief work only to be rescued by Ryan Raburn in the 11th inning.
After jumping out to a 7 to 1 lead through four innings, the Rangers began chipping away, getting one in the fifth and putting up a pair of runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The score stood tied at eight as both teams struggled to mount any type of offense from the eighth inning on.
Then, with Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana on first and second bases in the 11th inning, Raburn, who failed to get down a sacrifice bunt, slugged a hanging breaking ball from Jason Frasor for a three-run dinger giving the Tribe the win, who remain just three games back from the first place Tigers. Reliever Bryan Shaw, who’s posted a 6.86 ERA since May 28, earned the win.
On offense, each of Cleveland’s starting nine had at least one base knock, and six of them – Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, Cabrera, Raburn, Michael Brantley, and Mike Aviles – all had at least two. And it’s worth noting, perhaps, that Raburn and Swisher both slugged their 11th homeruns of the season.
On the other side of the ball, mercurial closer Chris Perez tossed two shutout innings last night, the first time he’s thrown two innings in a single appearance since May 29, 2010. And left-hander Rich Hill continued to show improvement; since June 5, he’s posted a 3.75 ERA and hitters have posted a .146/.271/.146 against him.
Led by All Star Justin Masterson, the Indians take on the Rangers and Yu Darvish tonight at 7:05.