After all those missed opportunities, it felt like the Indians were going to blow it, but it never happened.
First, some news: Shin-Soo Choo left the game in the ninth inning because of a sore hamstring. I don't want to speculate about the time he'll miss, if anything, as those types of injuries can mean anything from a day off to a DL stint.
The Indians have so far done exactly what they've needed to do with what has turned out to be a very easy schedule the last couple weeks: win. That being said, they made this win a very difficult one. The Royals seemed to be handing an easy victory to the Indians on a silver platter, but each time the platter was offered, the Indians politely declined to help themselves what was on it.
Jonathan Sanchez was absolutely awful, but he somehow lasted until the fifth inning. I thought Ned Yost should have pulled him well before Jack Hannahan hit the two-run double. I'm really glad Sanchez was pitching for the other team tonight, but it was excruciating watching him try to find the strike zone even when my team was benefiting from his wildness. He walked seven and hit a batter; the only reason the Indians only had 4 hits off him was because he rarely threw a ball in the strike zone. Sanchez now has walked more batters than innings pitched, quite an accomplishment this deep into a season. The Indians scored four runs off him, but they could easily have doubled that number.
Derek Lowe went six innings, allowed 8 hits and a walk, but just one run, so even with the offense's underachievement, the Indians still were in good shape going into the late innings. Tony Sipp was very good for the second straight out, but Vinnie Pestano struggled in the eighth, having to spear a hard grounder up the middle to get out of the inning with his team still in the lead. Meanwhile the Indians continued to get golden opportunities and fail to capitalize on them. In the bottom of the eighth, the Indians loaded the bases with nobody out, but failed to score. After Asdrubal Cabrera singled to load the bases, Jason Donald (who was hitting for Choo) struck out, Carlos Santana fouled out, and Travis Hafner hit a line drive in the gap that was caught for the third out.
Because Manny Acta had already pulled Shelley Duncan for defensive reasons, Jason Donald was forced to make his major-league debut in the outfield in the ninth inning. And of course the ball found him, as Chris Getz doubled down the left field line. Getz would score after two groundouts. The Royals put the go-ahead run on base with Eric Hosmer's two-out single, but Chris Perez retired Jeff Francoeur on a fielder's choice to end the game.