To say that Chris Perez had an eventful Tuesday would be an understatement.
Hours before nearly imploding yet again in a crucial game for the Tribe, one of the most ridiculous off-field stories of the season has come to a resolution.
Perez was found guilty after withdrawing his not guilty plea in exchange for a no-contest plea towards the misdemeanor drug charge in which shipments were addressed to the Perez’ dog, Brody, on June 19. Perez was fined $250, a year of probation and was ordered to speak to Rocky River High School students about the dangers of drugs.
A case against Melanie Perez is reportedly still pending. Should she pass a mandatory drug test, she will be ordered to pay only a $50 fine.
There is still no word on whether Brody will choose to press further charges against his owners.
So with Weedgate off of the Indians’ minds, and the health of Justin Masterson clearly on it, the Indians turned to Ubaldo Jimenez (6 INN/4 H/4 SO/2 BB), who continued his sterling stretch. Cody Allen and Joe Smith would each throw a scoreless inning as well; bobbing and weaving through a tough Baltimore lineup.
The Indians were buoyed by a pair of sacrifice-flies from Asdrubal Cabrera and a clutch (and ultimately game-winning) two-run double by Yan Gomes off of Chris Tillman (5.1 INN/4 ER/5 H/3 SO/5 BB). It looked like it would’ve been plenty on a night where the Orioles’ big guns appeared toothless.
But bad Perez showed up on a night where he didn’t appear to have it, as he promptly gave up a pair of singles that set the stage for sudden Tribe-killer Nate McLouth to blast a ball into the right field bleachers.
At this point, Perez was essentially a dead man walking to the those in the park and watching at home. Boos (probably rightfully this time) rained down from a sparse crowd of 9,962, which sounded more like 30,000 in this moment.
For what it’s worth, McLouth’s homer seemed to wake Perez up as he proceeded to strike out both Brian Roberts and Manny Machado. Perez finished cleaning up his mess by (miraculously?) getting the American League’s homerun leader in Chris Davis to meekly ground out into the shift to end the game.
The win brought the Indians to within three games out of the second Wild Card with the Rays and Athletics playing as I type this, so the Indians could be up to a 2.5-game deficit by morning. And if you’re a dreamer still hoping for the division, the Red Sox squeezed by Max Scherzer and the Tigers, 2-1. Despite Perez’ struggles, the worst thing to happen tonight was the White Sox’ bullpen melting down against the Yankees, turning a 4-1 lead into a 6-4 loss, allowing New York to pick up a game as well.
The Tribe will attempt to win the series tomorrow night in the Battle of the Zachs: McAllister for the Indians and Britton for the Orioles.
W: Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9); L. Chris Tillman (15-5)