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Game 23: Indians 6, Tigers 5

It turned out that the big news tonight wasn't the win, but first things first.

Carl Pavano was fantastic tonight, shutting down the Tigers for seven innings. He hit his spots with the fastball, and made excellent use of his changeup. Aside from the first start against Texas, he's been exactly what the Indians have been hoping for, and tonight he went much further than that. The Indians have already gotten the equivalent in value to his base salary.

Between Pavano's dominating (yes, dominating) start and an early outburst from the offense, the game seemed destined to end smoothly. Grady Sizemore started the game by working a walk off Armando Galarraga, setting the stage for the rest of the lineup. Galarraga struggled to stay in the strike zone all night, and fell behind to the majority of Indians hitters that he faced. The offense got going in the second, with Jhonny Peralta singling home Mark DeRosa on an inside fastball, and was helped along by a Dellucci infield single plus a comical throwing error by Miguel Cabrera. After Ben Francisco popped out and Kelly Shoppach walked, the next three batters drove in runs, and the Indians ended the inning up 4-0.

After that, the game seemed to glide by on cruise control. In the third, Jhonny Peralta finally hit his first home run of the season, and with the blast passed Woodie Held to become the all-time franchise leader for home runs by a shortstop. In the seventh, the Indians added what would be a key insurance run after Kelly Shoppach drove home a run with the single. Shoppach's hit was to left field, and Joel Skinner did not hestitate to wave home Jhonny Peralta from second, as Carlos Guillen was playing in left and doesn't have a good outfield throwing arm.

Things were going swimmingly until the eighth, when Pavano was finally chased after giving up doubles to two of the first three hitters of the inning. Rafael Perez was summoned, but he failed to quell the rally, giving up singles to the two batters he faced. Jensen Lewis was then tried, but he gave up his sixth(!) home run of the year to Miguel Cabrera, and the Tigers were suddenly within a single run. I would assume Jensen Lewis is done protecting small leads for a while. The fourth pitcher of the inning, Rafael Betancourt, retired Carlos Guillen to end the inning, but the Tigers were now very much in the game. Kerry Wood was on his game though, and facing the underbelly of the Tigers' lineup; he retired the side rather easily, and preserved a last-minute one-run victory.

Next Up: Laffey vs. Miner, 3:40 PM. Bring your updated roster to the game, you'll need it.




Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Kerry Wood .209 Jensen Lewis -.122
Carl Pavano .204 Ben Francisco -.094
David Dellucci .117 Sin-Soo Choo -.064