Indians improve to 26-30
After Trevor Bauer did a great job in 6 innings, Scott Atchison and Josh Outman tried their best to put a damper on the day, but Mike Aviles wouldn't let them.
Bauer tied a career high with 8 strikeouts, while allowing only 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk in 6 innings. It may have been his best start yet. The strikeouts were especially impressive, given that the Rockies have been striking out less frequently than any other National League team (of course, we all know the difference between NL teams and AL ones). After Bauer struggled in his previous outing, it was great to see him bounce back. Every pitcher has bad days, the key is to avoid stringing them together and letting them become the norm.
When he exited the game the Tribe was ahead 6-2, and looked to be on its way to a comfortable win. Lonnie Chisenhall started the scoring with a single that scored Yan Gomes in the 2nd. Next up was Aviles, who hit what appeared to be a warning-track fly ball to left, but turned out to be a 3-run homer (it turns out Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez was just having some fun with the camera crew when he stood there, looking prepared to catch the ball).
With the score 4-2 Indians in the 6th, Chisenhall tacked on another two runs with a home run down the right-field line. He's now 9 for 16 against lefties this season, and while that's a very small sample, it's time to put him in the lineup every day, no matter who is pitching (it's past time, actually).
Unfortunately, Atchison (who's done really well this season) gave up a a home run and then allowed two singles, which brought the tying run to the plate. At that point Outman was brought in, but his first pitch was crushed into the right-field seats, tying the game. Bryan Shaw came in and put out the fire, striking out the next two hitters, then coming back out for a 1-2-3 8th inning.
Jason Kipnis drew a pinch-hit walk to lead off the bottom of the 8th, and after Lonnie bunted him over, Aviles came up big by driving him in with a singe to right. Cody Allen walked the leadoff man in the 9th, because we all need a little excitement in our lives, but he got the next man to hit an infield popup, then got a double-play grounder to end the game.
The last two weeks have been quite a roller coaster, starting with the awful series against Oakland, in which the Indians were outscored 30-6, followed by sweeping Detroit with a pair of walk-off wins, then the split series in Baltimore, followed by getting swept in Chicago while scoring only 5 runs in three games, and now winning the first two against Colorado. The Tribe began that stretch 7.5 games out of 1st place, which is exactly where they find themselves right now. Rarely has treading water felt so dramatic.
After tomorrow's series finale, the Indians embark on what is probably the most difficult stretch of their entire schedule, with a home series against Boston, and then 18 of 25 games on the road, with the only home series against the very good Tigers and Angels. Finishing off this sweep before getting into all that sure would be nice.
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