One of the difficult things about being married to a disenchanted Indians fan is that, when they’re doing poorly, you get a running commentary on just how bad they are. While I was watching Saturday’s game against the Tigers, my husband was in the living room with me, reading a book and occasionally looking up to make some snide comment about how sucky the Indians are and how they’re Miguel Cabrera’s, um, let’s politely say “handmaiden.” He clearly wasn’t expecting a nail-biter of a win.
Honestly, neither was I. Detroit scored in the 1st inning when Miguel Cabrera singled in Rajai Davis. They made it 2-0 in the 3rd on a J.D. Martinez double that scored Yoenis Cespedes. This gave the husband plenty of fodder. Even Carlos Santana’s solo home run get the Indians on the board in the 4th, only got a ” Great, now it’s only 2-1.” The Tigers scored in the 4th as well, on a Rajai Davis double that scored Jose Iglesias, making it 3-1. We had a brief discussion as to whether 3-1 was an insurmountable deficit. I took the “No, it isn’t” side.
I’ll admit I was worried that this was going to be another ho-hum Indians loss. Carlos Carrasco started for the Indians and went 5.2 innings, giving up 3 earned runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 8. It’s a respectable line. On the other side, Justin Verlander returned from the DL to make his first major league start of the season and held the Indians to 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks while striking out 2.
Things started to cook for Cleveland in the 5th, when walks by Giovanny Urshela and Mike Aviles bookended a single by Michael Bourn to load the bases. Jason Kipnis, who extended his hitting streak to 9 games, hit a sacrifice fly to score Urshela, making the score 3-2. (Urshela has had a quite a heady week. He made his major league debut, got his first major league hit, notched his first major league home run, and, today, made his first major league error.)
The Tribe scored two more in the 6th inning. Michael Brantley (who has now hit safely in 11 games) singled and scored on a big, beautiful triple by David Murphy. Murphy later scored on a sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes to put the Indians ahead 4-3. The Indians scored again in the 8th, when Yan Gomes doubled to drive in David Murphy (who had been hit by a pitch). When J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th to make it a one-run game again, the husband just “tsked” the television. I tried not to worry.
Even a jaded Tribe fan can’t help but watch the game when they’re ahead in the 9th inning. Cody Allen came in during the bottom of the 8th, giving up a single and then striking out Rajai Davis to end the inning. He started the 9th in fine style, striking out Ian Kinsler. Of course, then Miggy came to bat, and it was as though a cloud moved in front of the sun.
“Don’t intentionally walk him!” the husband yelled at the TV. “I mean, don’t give him anything to hit. He doesn’t need another home run off us.”
“Actually he doesn’t have a home run off us today,” I said and then immediately slapped myself. Fortunately, the jinx didn’t take because Allen struck Cabrera out. However, the umpire apparently didn’t want to get jumped in the parking lot and said Cabrera didn’t checked his swing when the replay showed quite clearly he’d gone around. After all that, Cabrera ended up officially recording a walk. Then reasons. Cespedes singled, moving Cabrera, aka the tying run, to 3rd, and putting the winning run on 1st, causing the folks in Comerica Park and the folks in our living to go equally nuts but for different reasons. Then a miracle happened.
J.D. Martinez hit into a double play. Boom. Done. Indians win 5-4. I didn’t even need to say “I told you so,” to my husband.
The Indians play one more in Detroit Sunday afternoon before facing the Chicago Cubs in a unique four-game series–two in Chicago and two at home.