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Game 18: Indians 7, Royals 5

For five innings, Luke Hochevar was perfect. Then the Indians turned the tables, scoring six runs over the next two innings.

Justin Masterson's outing did not start out promising. He gave up two runs in the first inning, and if not for Matt Treanor, the damage might have been much worse. Justin couldn't find the plate, walking two in the inning, and leaving his sinkers up in the zone to the hot Royals lineup. Alex Gordon drove in Melky Cabrera with a triple and scored on Jeff Francouer's single. Although the Royals loaded the bases afterwards, Masterson got out of that jam. With nearly 30 pitches already thrown at that point, and mechanics that looked off-kilter, it seemed he wouldn't last long. 

Luke Hochevar, on the other hand, was unhittable early. He retired the first 15 Indians, adding to a streak begun in his last start against Seattle. After he retired Orlando Cabrera to end the 5th, he was working on not only a perfect game in this contest, but also on his 11th straight perfect inning, a "hidden" perfect game.

Things turned completely around in the sixth. Michael Brantley ended the perfect game with a sharp single. Hochevar then attempted to pick off Brantley, but was called for a balk. Matt LaPorta ended the shutout with a double down the left field line, scoring Brantley. LaPorta moved to third on a Jack Hannahan groundout but couldn't score on a Grady Sizemore grounder, hit directly at a drawn-in Chris Getz. It looked like Hochevar would get out of the inning, but he stopped his windup while pitching to Asdrubal Cabrera, apparently forgetting that there was still a runner on base. LaPorta trotted home on the second balk of the inning, and at that point, Hochevar just seemed to have lost it. The next four Indians batters reached base, and by the time the inning was over, the Indians had taken a 4–2 lead. Jack Hannahan, who as TribeJay noted a couple days ago has a slider-speed bat, hit a Tim Collins curve into the right field corner to plate two more runs in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Masterson settled down after his difficult first inning. He was still in the game as the Indians took the lead and finished the bottom of the sixth. Manny Acta tried to squeeze another couple outs out of Masterson in the seventh, but he walked both Getz and Melky Cabrera, leaving a difficult jam for the Indians bullpen. Rafael Perez was summoned to get Alex Gordon out, and he succeeded, inducing a fly out. Next to come in was Vinnie Pestano. Despite walking Matt Treanor, Pestano was able to get out of the inning, striking out Mike Aviles on what looked like a backup slider. 

Carlos Santana added what proved to be an important insurance run with a run-scoring single in the ninth. At the time, the game looked out of reach, with the Indians up 7–2 with just the bottom of the ninth remaining. But Tony Sipp had his first bad outing of the season, giving up three runs, including a Jeff Francouer two-run homer. Chris Perez had to be summoned to get the final out.



Highest WPA Lowest WPA
LaPorta .266 Sizemore -.145
Choo .145 Granpabrera -.065
Pestano .073 Santana -.034