Don’t look now, but here come the Cleveland Indians! Winners of four in a row, and seven of their last ten, the Tribe is finally starting to play like the team many expected them to be before the year started. While they haven’t made any headway in the Central Division (which looks like the best division in baseball) yet, they’re playing solid baseball and starting to remind us that curses are for fairy tales.
Cincinnati scored first when Brayan Pena walked in the second inning. Jay Bruce then doubled to move Pena to third, and a groundout to second by Billy Hamilton brought Pena home and gave the Reds a 1-0 lead. While one run may not seem like much, the Indians have a terrible record when the other team scores first, and Carlos Carrasco didn’t seem sharp on the mound. However Carrasco was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, and the Indians then went to work.
Lonnie Chisenhall reached first on a fielder’s choice and Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez walked to load the bases for the Indians. Reds starter Mike Leake then walked Michael Bourn to force in a run and tie the game at one. The baseball monster known as Jason Kipnis then singled to center to score Ramirez and give the Tribe a 2-1 lead. When the Reds again tied the game in the top of the third inning after a pair of doubles by Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier, the game was beginning to have the feel of a slugfest.
And a slugfest it was. Unfortunately for the Reds, all of the slugging came from the Indians, specifically Brandon Moss. Moss tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with a massive solo home run to right field. The Tribe’s cleanup hitter then came back in the fourth inning with a double to deep right field to score Bourn and Kipnis and give the Indians a 5-2 lead.The Indians tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh after another single by Kipnis and double by Carlos Santana, and the home team had a commanding 7-2 lead.
Carlos Carrasco settled down after a rough start to the game and gave the Indians six solid innings and not giving up another run after the second. Nick Hagadone and Zach McAllister (he’s been great in the bullpen) pitched a pair of scoreless innings, and while Scott Atchison gave up a run in the ninth when Frazier scored on a wild pitch, the game was terrific performance by the Indians as they continue their resurgence.
On a personal note, the Ohio Cup means a bit more to me than it may to some people. I attended college not too far from Cincinnati and many of my closest friends are Reds fans. When the Indians and Reds play each other it often becomes a time of trash talking for us and bragging rights are always huge after the Ohio Cup is finished. With this game, the Indians have struck first and the sense of defeat coming from a few households in Cincinnati is palpable. I love it.