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Game 66: Indians 10, Reds 9

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It was a no-holds barred slobberknocker, and the Indians had just enough firepower and just enough good relievers to hold on to win.

This time the Indians kept up with their competition, and managed to outslug someone. I wouldn't recommend this as a template for future victories, but with the team struggling, any way your can pull out a victory is a good one.

Nothing came of Derek Lowe's return start against the Reds..except lots and lots of runs. Lowe didn't hit a Cincinnati batter, but plenty of Reds hit his pitches. Lowe's sinker wasn't sinking, and it showed; he allowed a run in the first (Joey Votto home run, naturally), two runs in the second, two more in the third, and another two in the fifth. Along the way he allowed eleven hits and a walk thrown in for good measure.

The difference between this game and many others in the past couple weeks was that the Indians were treating the opposing starter as badly as Lowe was being treated. Mat Latos was facing the Indians for the second time in a week, and the Indians apparently had been figured out the second time around. Shin-Soo Choo jumped on the second pitch of the bottom of the first, hitting a game-tying home run. That first inning started a blow-for-blow battle in the runs department; the first five team at-bats of the game featured at least one run scored. Lonni Chisenhall hit a two-run homer in the second to stake the Indians to a 4-3 lead after the Reds had taken the lead in the top of the inning. The Reds took back the lead after scoring two in the third, but the Indians would come back with 3 runs in the fourth (which included a Lonnie Chisenhall triple).

Leading 7-5 going into the fifth, Derek Lowe had a chance to get through the inning and be eligible for a five and fly victory. But after Joey Votto led off the inning with a double, LGFT Brandon Phillips tortured his former team yet again with a double down the left field line. Johnny Damon went over to field the ball, but let the ball get past him, and seemed to injure himself in the process. By the time he retrieved the ball, Phillips had gotten all the way around the bases. The play was a scored a double and an error. but regardless of how the play was classified, the game was tied at 7. Lowe got through the inning, but it was too late for him to be involved in the decision.

Latos had been pulled in the fifth, so the rest of the game would be a battle of bullpens. Manny Acta, probably tired of seeing close games turned into blowouts by the front end of the bullpen, went for broke by bringing in Joe Smith to pitch the sixth. Bringing in Smith this early would mean that the Smith/Pestano/Perez trip would need to managed four innings between them. And it worked, though barely. Smith would allow a run in the seventh on a Jay Bruce homer, and so Vinnie Pestano was called on to finish the seventh. He would retire Scott Rolen to finish the inning, and retired the Reds in order in the eighth. Meanwhile, the Indians took the lead in the sixth, and tacked on an important insurance run in the seventh.

The Indians led 10-8 going into the ninth, and Chris Perez would be facing to the 2-3-4 hitters, including Votto and Phillips. He retired Chris Heisey on one pitch, meaning that Votto would not come to the plate as the tying run. Perez struck out Votto, but allowed two straight singles by Phillips (of course) and Jay Bruce, cutting the deficit to 10-9. But Perez struck out Ryan Ludwick, making the Indians the survivor of this battle of attrition.

Source: FanGraphs