It took Ubaldo Jimenez four months of pitching with the Indians, but it looks like he's regained his past form.
In the past 28 days (which encompasses 5 starts, opposing batters hit .231/.314/.388 against Jimenez, and that's translated into a 3.24 ERA. Since his June 5th start against Detroit, Jimenez has gone at least 6 innings in each start, and hasn't given up more than 4 runs in any of them. Today's start continued that streak, as Jimenez allowed just two runs in 6 innings, with the two runs coming on LGFTP Luke Scott's two-run homer in the fourth inning.
The offense was busy reversing a statistical hurdle of their own. Matt Moore is not only one of the best young pitchers in the majors, but a southpaw to boot, but the left-handed heavy Indians had no problems with the 23-year-old Tampa Bay starter. The Indians hadn't faced Moore before, but they didn't even struggle against Moore the first time through the order. Michael Brantley led off the second inning with double, and that extra-base hit was the first of five in the second and third innings alone off of Moore. Later in the second, Lou Marson doubled in Brantley and Duncan (who had worked a ten-pitch walk), then after a Jack Hannahan RBI groundout, Aaron Cunningham got into the act, doubling home Marson. Jose Lopez and Carlos Santana doubled in the third, and after Santana's hit, the Indians were up 5-0, more than enough for Jimenez and the Tribe bullpen.
Another piece of good news was Tony Sipp's scoreless seventh inning. The Indians have been struggling all season to find a consistently good left-handed reliever, so they really need Sipp to regain the form that he showed in 2010 and 2011. Today's outing marked the fourth straight scoreless appearance for Tony, and with this appearance coming in a 3-run game, I think he's back in the Manny Acta's Circle of Trust.
Shelley Duncan capped off the Tribe scoring in the eighth by hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning, one RBI for each of his newborn twin sons. Those insurance runs meant that Esmil Rogers would pitch the ninth instead of Chris Perez, and Rogers allowed a B.J. Upton solo homer but nothing else in closing out the Tribe win.