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Game One Hundred Forty-Seven: Indians 5, Royals 4

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Recap
Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Casey Blake .286
Victor Martinez .278
Joe Borowski .148

Lowest WPA:

CC Sabathia -.148
Kenny Lofton -.070
Ryan Garko -.068

In basketball, trading baskets when you're up is a perfectly good way of sitting on a lead; after all, it makes the game clock your ally. In much the same way, with 15 regular-season games remaining, the status quo is the Indians' friend.

The Indians kept the lead at 5.5 games by scoring four runs in the last three innings of the game, not a recommended way of winning a game, especially against of the AL's better bullpens. They were shut down by Brian Bannister, who did a very good job of hitting his spots and mixing his pitches, only allowing two hits in six innings.

Entering the seventh, the Indians hadn't collected a hit since the first inning. Royals manager Buddy Bell pulled Bannister and brought in Joel Peralta, and the bats came back to life. Jhonny Peralta (no relation) lined out to center, Kenny Lofton laced  a single a right, and then Franklin Gutierrez brought the Indians back into the game with a "big fly" to left. After the home run, Peralta (the pitcher) and catcher John Buck had a long-distance spat which seemed to be related to pitch-selection.

Victor Martinez tied the game in the eighth by hitting a home run that barely carried over the right field wall. Mark Teahen probably could have caught it, but he didn't give himself a good angle, and he ran himself into the wall.

Joe Borowski was then summoned to pitch the ninth, which absolutely was the wrong move to make. The theory that you use your closer at home in a tie game is valid only if your closer is your best reliever available, and that certainly wasn't the case last night. Rafael Betancourt had just pitched a relatively stress-free eighth, and should have been available for a second inning of work. Borowski still got through the inning, though with a close call on Jason Smith's liner to right.

David Riske, who gave up Victor Martinez's homer, came back out to pitch the ninth. Jimmy Gobble was  warming in Kansas City's bullpen, presumably to pitch to Grady Sizemore. He wasn't needed, as Casey Blake hit Riske's first offering into the left field bleachers to win the game.

Next Up: Carmona vs. Greinke, 7:05.