Clearly the deities that oversee Cleveland Indians rain delays are not fans of podcasts, as this is the second recap (in four tries) that I have written after watching a lot of STO reruns. After a rain delay of 2:28, this game lasted 4:29, which totals to just about seven hours if your math is foggy at this hour. Luckily, tonight’s game was worth staying up late to watch, with a walk-off win sweeping the Boston Red Sox right out of Cleveland. In the process, the Indians climbed back up to .500, just 3.5 games in back of the Detroit Tigers.
Corey Kluber was his usual self through the first five innings, pitching like the ace figure he has morphed into. In the sixth, he made one mistake that David Ortiz launched into the right centerfield stands, a mistake that came after he retired 16 consecutive Sox hitters. His start unraveled more so in the seventh, as he allowed a walk and two singles that tied up the game.
For the Indians, their inability to hit for power continued for a lot of innings. The Tribe scored first with a Michael Brantley RBI single off recently suspended (pending appeal) Brandon Workman. Workman was tagged for three runs over five innings, though his leadoff walk in the sixth got his catcher tossed. AJ Pierzynski argued balls and strikes with home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, who I want to believe tossed him partially because he is AJ Pierzynski.
Workman was replaced in the sixth by Chris Capuano. Capuano provided little relief out of the ‘pen as he allowed three singles and was unable to record an out. Burke Badenhop cleaned up Capuano’s mess by retiring the side on just five pitches. After six innings, it looked as if the Tribe would cruise to a 4-2 victory.
The clock hit midnight as the seventh inning began. As Thursday approached, Kluber’s start began to unravel. He allowed a walk and two singles that tied up the game and ended his night after just 6 1/3 innings pitched. Kluber’s four earned runs are the most he has allowed in a single start since April 19th. His four strikeouts are also his fewest in a start since that Toronto loss.
Neither team could muster up a hit until Jason Giambi hit a double down the right field line off Junichi Tazawa with two down in the 9th, giving the Indians their first extra base hit of the game and just their third of the series. Mike Aviles could not bring Giambi home, and the game went to extras.
Brian Shaw pitched a scoreless 10th inning, with Francona once again assured that he can rely on the reliever until his right arm eventually falls off. David Ortiz hit a single to center with two outs in the inning, but Shaw struck out David Ross on his 24th pitch of the inning to leave unscathed. Koji Uehara continued his dominance in the home half of the tenth, getting Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Brantley in succession.
Carlos Carrasco pitched for the first time since May 26th, ready to make an appearance the length of a start. He started the 11th by hitting Jonny Gomes (he did not charge the mound) before getting lucky when Aviles turned a Stephen Drew sacrifice bunt into a fielder’s choice. After striking out Daniel Nava, Carrasco got Jackie Bradley, Jr. to whiff on an off-speed pitch. In the bottom of the 11th, the Tribe had a shot with Kipnis in scoring position and just one out. However, Koji Uehara retired the side and kept the game tied. Carrasco pitched a 1-2-3 12th inning with, surprisingly, no drama.
Edward Mujica became John Farrell’s sixth different relief option and ended the game as his last one. Ryan Raburn struck out to start the inning. Mike Aviles hit an infield single out of the reach of Xander Bogaerts before Michael Bourn singled to right, allowing Aviles to hustle all the way to third. John Farrell was forced to use a fifth infielder as Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate. Turns out that extra infielder wasn’t necessary as Cabrera pulled a Mujica meatball over the right field wall for a walk-off 3-run homer.
Terry Francona is known for his love affair with matchup relief pitching and he kept the relationship strong tonight. After Kluber’s exit in the seventh, Tito used Scott Atchison to get two outs, Nick Hagadone to get two outs, John Axford to get two outs, and Josh Outman to get two outs, and that was all before the game went into extras. Brian Shaw pitched a scoreless tenth before Carlos Carrasco finished with two scoreless innings. As a whole, the Tribe bullpen (six pitchers) pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out ten, walking none, and allowing just two hits. It is a good thing the Indians have an off day tomorrow (today?) so the ‘pen can recoup.
The Indians played quality defense tonight, with great plays made behind Kluber and the relievers (is it just me or does that sound like a band?). The Indians extended their errorless games streak to three in a row, marking the longest such streak of the season. Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis made impressive fielding plays behind Corey Kluber in the fifth inning. Brantley, the second most stone faced player on the team, made a nice catch in front of the scoreboard wall in left field. Kluber, the most stone faced player on the team, reacted with an emotionless golf clap. I found that interaction entertaining. It is important to note that any errors in extras could have cost the Tribe the game, and the defense stayed steady when the game was close.
The Indians finished 5-11 with runners in scoring position. Brantley was 3-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Tonight’s hero, Asdrubal Cabrera, finished 2-5 with 3 runs scored, 3 runs batted in, and even a stolen base. For the Red Sox, David Ortiz was the only player with multiple hits, finishing 2-4 with his 2-run homer.
The Indians extended their winning streaks to 9 in a row at home and 6 in a row overall, with a perfect homestand before tomorrow’s (today’s?) day off. The Tribe continue to have the best home record in the American League, improving to 21-11 at Progressive Field. At 30-30 overall, the Indians have the same record as they did at this point last season.
Carlos Carrasco improves to 1-3 and Edward Mujica falls to 2-2. The Indians will be sleepwalking to Texas tomorrow for a weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington. Yu Darvish and Trevor Bauer face off in the series opener on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 eastern.