I left for Progressive Field tonight hoping the Indians would continue their early 2014 dominance of the Detroit Tigers and that they would shrink the gap between the two teams to just a single game. Instead, the Indians fell behind and dug a deficit that was too deep to overcome.
Corey Kluber had a solid, albeit unspectacular start, as he allowed 8 hits over 7 innings pitched. Luckily, Kluber was able to limit the damage, allowing just two runs off of a Victor Martinez homer in the 4th inning. Kluber had some help from his battery mate as Yan Gomes gunned down two Tigers runners. Rick Porcello allowed six hits over six innings, but the Indians could not plate a run off of the Detroit starter.
Neither bullpen was strong tonight, as John Axford allowed a 3 run homer to JD Martinez in the 8th inning and Carlos Carrasco gave up an Ian Kinsler double in the 9th that scored Rajai Davis, who had doubled off Marc Rzepczynski to open the inning. Most of the Tigers bullpen was solid, as Al Alburquerque pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts. Ian Krol helped make the game interesting in the 8th as he entered with a 5-0 lead and left with the score 5-4. Krol allowed back to back homers to two unlikely candidates in Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana. Fans were chanting “Lonnie! Lonnie!” in the stands as Chisenhall came to bat in the 8th, but Krol struck him out to silence the crowd.
As the mayflies began to appear at the ballpark, Joba Chamberlain entered the game. Fans hoped the mayflies would have a similar effect to the midges in October 2007, but Joba was unfazed on the mound as he got Nick Swisher to strike out swinging. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless 9th to earn the save, his 15th of the season.
Michael Brantley made a cameo appearance in the 9th with a pinch hit bloop single off of Nathan. Hopefully this means Brantley is over his injuries and will be able to play left field in the near future. Francona’s lineups look ugly without Brantley high in the order.
Another cameo appearance was made by Vinnie Pestano as he sprinted from the center field bullpen to record the final out of the 8th inning. Hopefully Vinnie can return to the form alluded to in this video.
I loved that the stadium was packed tonight (33,545 in attendance), even if plenty of fans were rooting for the opposition. Dollar dogs and fireworks make any game better, especially when the fireworks are set to good music. Tonight’s show was set to Nirvana, a 2014 Rock Hall inductee. Plus, the fireworks allowed me to digest the loss.
Rick Porcello improves to 9-4 while Corey Kluber falls to 6-5. With the win, the Tigers improve to 38-32 and, teamed with a Royals loss to Seattle, they have returned to their usual spot atop the Central. Omar Vizquel will be inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame before tomorrow’s game and if you are going to Progressive Field, arrive early so you can get your Omar Vizquel replica jersey. Trevor Bauer and Justin Verlander are scheduled to start for their respective teams with first pitch scheduled for 7:15.