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Game 77: Indians 5, Diamondbacks 4

The Indians managed to keep pace with the suddenly Central-leading Detroit Tigers by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks just a few hours after the Tigers topped the Blue Jays. Both games featured improbable turning points—earlier in the day, Detroit managed to take the lead on an 8th inning Jhonny Peralta triple (!), while the evening contest saw the Indians submit a head-shaking hit of their own when Orlando Cabrera took J.J. Putz deep in the top of the ninth to give the Tribe a one-run lead. 

Cabrera's jack and Chris Perez's subsequent save ended a three game Cleveland losing streak and was only the second win in seven games for Manny Acta's (over? under?) achievers. Snapping the losing streak wasn't the big news of the day, however—top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall tasted major league dirt for the first time today, or at least he did if he put dirt into his mouth during the game. Chisenhall comported himself well, playing a sharp third and picking up two hits, a double and a single, both pulled into right field. The second of those hits put the Indians up 4-3 and slotted Mitch Talbot for the win, but Vinnie Pestano, who entering tonight had surrendered 4 earned runs in 30 appearances while simultaneously posting a 38:10 K:BB in 28 IP, scuffled for the first time since early June, allowing the D-Backs (what a horrendous nickname) to even the game at 4 runs. No worries, though, as Uncle Orlando is always willing to help, and he deposited a hanging breaking ball into left field to take back the lead.

Early on, it looked like the Indians would blow the game open, putting Ian Kennedy on the ropes in the top of the first and scoring two runs. Then, just slightly later, it looked like the Diamondbacks would blow it open, putting Talbot on the ropes in the bottom of the first and scoring three runs. In the end, both pitchers settled down and turned in solid performances, although Talbot was lifted after only five innings for a pinch hitter (an ineffectual Hafner). Around the time Talbot left the game, Arizona started doing that NL thing where they use pinch hitters identified by randomly pulling baseball cards out of a 2005 Donruss complete set. The D'Backs bench appears to have been composed as the result of some kind of bet. By the end of the game, Kirk Gibson had called on Willie Bloomquist, Xavier Nady, Wily Mo Pena, and Melvin Mora to contribute to his cause. I can only imagine what wisdom this dismembered version of a badly broken mid-aughts fantasy roster passes on to Arizona's younger players each night.

In other AL Central news, the aforementioned Tigers maintained their one game lead on the Indians, Kansas City dropped a game to San Diego, and the Twins lost 15-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers of Indio. This last score makes particular sense because the Twins suck.  

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
O. Cabrera .404 V. Pestano -.287
A. Cabrera .227 M. Brantley -.193
C. Perez .217 G. Sizemore -.114