In the first game for the Ohio Cup, the Cincinnati Reds came to town and learned about the dominance of Tribe ace Corey Kluber. The Klubot followed up his Maddux with another dominant performance that put opposing pitcher Alfredo Simon to shame.
The scoring started in the first as Jason Kipnis led off with a double, Mike Aviles bunted him to third, and Michael Brantley grounded out to score him. I still don’t understand why Aviles is in the 2 hole when he wouldn’t even be playing everyday if this team was healthy. It’s just a bad decision by Francona, and it shows when you feel the need to bunt in the first inning with your 2 hitter.
The game stayed scoreless until the fourth, although Jose Ramirez tried hard to change that with his poor fielding in the top of the third. In the fourth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall made the score 4-0 with a three run bomb to center field. Michael Brantley added an RBI single in the 5th to give Kluber an extra insurance run he would not need tonight.
In the end, Kluber pitched 7 1/3 innings, struck out 7, and allowed one run because Nick Hagadone couldn’t strand a runner. That run snapped a streak of 17 scoreless innings for the Tribe ace. The offense decided to answer in the bottom half of the inning as Yan Gomes drove one to the home run porch off Carlos Contreras (not Jose) for two RBIs. That hit extended Gomes’ streak to 10 consecutive games, a career high. Contreras pitched three innings and allowed only those two runs after Alfredo Simon finished just five frames, allowing five earned runs in the process.
John Axford got his 10th save on the season by getting the game’s final five outs. He and Cody Allen make up the first pair of Tribe relievers with at least 10 saves each since 2000, when Steve Karsay and Bob Wickman accomplished the feat. It’s not necessarily good to have multiple pitchers with so many saves, but it is a feat that hasn’t happened in a decade and a half.
Kluber improves to 12-6 while lowering his ERA to 2.55. Simon, known as the Big Pasta (not kidding), fell to 12-7. Axford looked solid getting an unusual 5 out save. The battle of Ohio is now in favor of the Indians with three games remaining. Tomorrow night is yet another dollar dog night as Cincy looks to even up the series for the Ohio cup. Josh Tomlin faces off against Johnny Cueto in a 7:05 start. After tomorrow’s game, the series travels to Great American Ballpark as the Ohio cup will be decided before the weekend arrives.