For the second straight night, the Indians went into the ninth inning down a run, but this time came up short despite having a golden opportunity to at least tie the game.
The Indians couldn't score a run off Jered Weaver until the seventh inning, but had more opportunities to score off the LAoA starter than you'd expect. In the third and fourth innings, the Indians had a runner in scoring position with one out, and runners on first and third with two outs. The outcome was predictable, though the offense fared a bit better than I thought it would. In fact, if the wind wasn't blowing in, the Indians might have scored a run or two. Asdrubal Cabrera's fly out in the sixth especially looked ticketed for the right field seats, but the unusual wind direction for this time of the year kept the ball in the yard.
Josh Tomlin in his last start allowed four runs on eight hits to Minnesota, but tonight he pitched very well, even with the mistake to Mark Trumbo in the seventh. He was a strike-throwing machine, going eight innings on 92 pitches, 69 of them strikes. Unfortunately, he had no room for error, as his one mistake came in a scoreless game.
The seventh started with a Bobby Abreu single. Vernon Wells then hit a swinging bunt, and Carlos Santana made a very good play to get Wells at first. Abreu went to second on the play, the second time an Angel had reached second to that point. After Alberto Callaspo flied out, Manny Acta elected to walk Howie Kendrick intentionally. Kendrick had hit the ball hard in each of his first two at-bats, and was the best hitter in the lineup, especially of late. That brought to the plate Mark Trumbo, and Tomlin went to work on him, getting ahead and then trying to put him away with his curve. His first curve was in a very good spot, but Trumbo got a piece to stay alive. Tomlin the doubled up on the pitch, but instead of being down and out of the strike zone, it hung thigh-high on the outer half of the plate. Trumbo smacked the ball to the base of the right field wall for a two-run double.
Tomlin would pitch a 1-2-3 eighth, which marked the farthest he'd gone in a game this season.
The Indians got a run back on Matt LaPorta's seventh inning home run. In the eighth, the Indians looked to have the beginning of a rally after Austin Kearns walked to lead off the inning. Acta put on the hit-and-run with Michael Brantley at the plate, but Brantley hit the ball a bit foul. Later, Brantley hit into a double play, and the once-promising inning was short-circuited.
Rafael Perez pitched a scoreless ninth, and the Indians went into the bottom of the inning down one and facing Angel closer Jordan Walden, just like last night. The score was even the same. Travis Hafner, led off the inning with a chop single, and he was pinch-run for. Carlos Santana then singled just past Kendrick, placing runners on first and second with nobody out. Lonnie Chisenhall was up next, and he was asked to bunt, quite a tall order for a young player facing a closer whose fastball sat in the upper 90s. But Chisenhall not only put Walden's high fastball on the ground, he put it in almost perfectly down the third base line. Jeff Mathis was able to get to the ball, but threw late to third. The bases were loaded with nobody out, and Matt LaPorta was up. Walden was all over the place in the LaPorta at-bat, getting ahead 0-2 before uncorking a series of pitches well out of the strike zone. On the 2-2 pitch Walden threw an upper-90s fastball about 8 inches from LaPorta's head, but on the 3-2 pitch LaPorta hit a check-swing bouncer, and couldn't get to first in time to prevent a 4-2-3 double play. Walden then struck out Jason Kipnis to end the game.