Records: Cleveland 19-21, Toronto 20-21
It's like we've been waiting for it forever, but it finally happened: a no-doubt-about-it blowout win. Doesn't it feel good? The Indians hung a 15-spot on the Blue Jays tonight, besting their season-high by three and giving us all the chance to enjoy a stress-free evening of baseball. Corey Kluber turned in another excellent outing but for once it wasn't needed, as the bats ensured a resounding Tribe victory.
Things were pretty quiet in the early goings. the Indians knocked Dustin McGowan around a bit but found themselves clinging to a 2-0 lead that could have been bigger if not for some wasted RISP opportunities. Carlos Santana opened the game up in the fourth, putting the Indians up 4-0 on a two-run blast (maybe *this* will be the thing to snap his funk?). Kluber cruised through four perfect innings but started to struggle, giving up a run on a Bret Lawrie double in the 5th and a Jose Bautista double in the 6th. It was starting to look like the Jays might claw their way back, but that was not the case. Klubot set down the next five batters he faced, finishing his night with 9 K's, and just one walk over seven innings. From the 7th inning on, it was bombs away for the Tribe offense.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off the 7th with a double, and was driven in by David Murphy's single up the middle. The indians added another on a Mike Aviles RBI single. The tacked on two more in the 8th courtesy of an RBI single from Cabrera and a two-run double by Murphy. The game was out of reach for the Jays by then, with the Indians up 9-2. But the real fun had just begun.
Mike Aviles kicked off the 9th with a double and was driven in by Michael Bourn's league-leading fourth triple of the season. Nick Swisher - who was the only Tribe starter without a hit tonight - grounded out, but Jose Ramirez drove in Bourn with a solid single (Ramirez came on for Nyjer Morgan in the 6th - more on that later). The 11th and 12th runs of the night scored on David Murphy's fifth hit of the night, a double crushed to the gap in right-center. Yan Gomes put the icing on the cake against his former team with a laser shot three-run homer. Lonnie Chisenhall collected his fifth hit of the night against Steve Tolleson, Toronto's backup 3B, just for good measure. Carlos Carrasco would do his best to help the Jays back into it in the bottom of the 9th, but even he could only manage to give up two runs.
The Indians sent ten men to the plate in the 9th, inflating their run total to 15. That's the most they've scored in a single game this season, besting a couple of 12-run performances. They also put up a season-high 22 (!) hits, including five each (!!) from Murphy and Chisenhall. Tonight's game was the first time since 1932 that two Indians players have collected five hits each in a single game, and that affair was an 18-inning loss.
Despite fantastic performances by the offense and Kluber, there were a couple worrisome takeaways. Michael Brantley left the game in the 5th after scoring on Santana's homer. He's listed as day to day with "back tightness," which we can only hope isn't serious. Brantley has been the Indians' key offensive contributor this year, and losing him for any significant amount of time would be devastating. Brantley was replaced in the field by Nyjer Morgan, but Morgan would leave the game with a tweaked knee from an awkward play in left field thank in part to that ridiculous astroturf. Losing Morgan wouldn't be as painful as losing Dr. Smooth, but it would still sting.
Injuries aside, this was a stupid-fun game to watch. The Tribe will look to keep the mojo flowing when Danny Salazar takes the mound tomorrow against J.A. Happ.
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