During the first five innings of this game, I threatened to set my television on fire no fewer than eight times. I yelled at the TV so much, my husband went around shutting all of the windows in the house, so neighbors would be spared from my multiple tirades. Last night was an extremely frustrating game – the lackadaisical offense, mixed with the sloppy defense and bad umpiring, meant that I was already coming into tonight’s game in a bad mood. As Yordano Ventura continued to baffle Tribe hitters, I became more and more frustrated. It seemed like the top of each inning lasted approximately 45 seconds, while Corey Kluber attempted to dance out of trouble in the bottom half of innings early in the game. As Kluber worked to minimize damage, the offense started to show signs of life once they reached the sixth inning. Michael Brantley singled home a run, and the offense finally got to Ventura for something. I was almost more afraid of the Royals bullpen, one of the best in the majors this year, but the Indians continued to battle back. Michael Bourn flashed some power with a triple and a home run, and before you knew it, the Indians had their first lead of the night. I think this quote – “if we pull this out, I will have felt every emotion tonight” is the best and most succinct summary of this game.
After a number of boneheaded moves last night, it looked like we may be in for more of the sloppy play tonight. Asdrubal Cabrera dropped a throw from Yan Gomes during the bottom of the third, an attempt to catch Emilio Bonifacio stealing second. Cabrera catches that throw, the Indians were looking at two outs and nobody on. Instead, they had a runner in scoring position and just one out. Kluber walked both Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler to load the bases, before Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. A Mike Moustakas double knocked in Hosmer to make it 3-0, but that was the last run the Royals would score. With the way that the Indians offense looked last night, and early tonight, three runs felt more like 30. But by minimizing the damage, the pitching staff kept the Indians in the game and gave the offense a chance to start chipping away at the lead.
And chip away they did. An infield single from Nick Swisher, followed by a Carlos Santana single and a Michael Brantley single plated the first run and knocked Ventura out of the game. The Indians continued to add on at least one run in every inning for the rest of the game – two in the seventh to tie the game, one in the eighth, and one in the ninth to make it 5-3. Michael Bourn showed a rare burst of power tonight, hitting a triple and a home run while knocking in two of the Indians’ five RBI. Despite the boneheaded play in the third, and a somewhat boneheaded move in the eighth when he was thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice (where he should have stayed put at second), Asdrubal Cabrera went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Swisher and Brantley had the two remaining RBI. Chris Perez pitched a dominant ninth, eliminating some tough Royals hitters in Emilio Bonifacio, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler, striking out two (Hosmer and Butler) and wiping out the trio on just 12 pitches.
This was the kind of win that just leaves you pumped. You need to keep pace in the Wild Card race, and you need to make sure that you don’t allow Kansas City to hang in there with a sweep during this series. It looked so bleak early on, that it was thrilling and exciting by the end of the game. I went from screaming profanities and threatening felony arson, to screaming and yelling in joy. The Indians strike me as a team that is easily affected mentally, and that they let things get into their head. There’s no way to quantify or prove this, it’s just my impression of watching them throughout the season. They’re either owned by a team, or they own a team – Detroit walked all over them, while they were dominant against the White Sox and Rangers. I’m hoping that this game gives them a boost of confidence and leaves them amped and ready to strike against Bruce Chen tomorrow.