Leaving 13 men on base, as the Indians did today, is asking for trouble. Leaving 9 runners in scoring position is even worse. That sort of failure to take advantage of scoring opportunities seems like a recipe for defeat. On this day though, the Tribe managed to pull out a victory.
T.J. House wasn't supposed to pitch for the Indians this season. When spring training broke, he wasn't in the starting rotation, he wasn't next in line, and he wasn't next after the guy who was next in line. Injuries and ineffectiveness have pushed him into things though, and while Zach McAllister is expected to return this week, taking back the spot that House has been holding, on this day T.J. Did the job. Two runs allowed in 5.1 innings isn't anything special, but it's solid, and it gave the team a chance to win on a day when the offense couldn't stop tripping over itself.
After falling behind 1-0 early, the Indians tied things up in the 3rd on a double by Asdrubal Cabrera. In the 4th and 5th the Tribe loaded the bases, only to come away with no runs both times. They fell behind again in the 6th, but came back immediately, tying the game in the top of the 7th on a ground ball to second base hit by Jason Kipnis. Dustin Pedroia came home with the ball, trying to keep the run from scoring instead of going for the double play. His throw beat Cabrera to the plate, leading the umpire to initially call it an out, but A.J. Pierzynski couldn't hold onto the ball, and the ump quickly corrected himself, making it a 2-2 game.
The Indians soon had the bases loaded again, with Carlos Santana at the dish. Santana had already doubled, and also reached base on a hit by pitch. Anyone who's been following things here knows I'm a big Santana supporter, so I was happy to see him at the plate, especially rather than Nick Swisher, who'd been the man in that spot in the 5th. Santana managed to get the run in in the most Carlossian of ways, by drawing a walk.
John Axford, Kyle Crockett, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen worked 3.2 innings of relief, all without being charged any runs. Shaw got David Ortiz to hit into a double play in the 8th, and Allen worked a 1-2-3 9th for his seventh save of the season.
The win pushed the Indians back within a game of .500, and gives them a chance to go .500 on this long road trip, if they can find a way to win again on Sunday. Corey Kluber will be on the mound, so that gives the Tribe a better than average chance. Hopefully they get the same number of chances to score that they had today, and hopefully they do a better job of capitalizing on those chances. Otherwise the Klubot is going to have to be working at a T2-like level.
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