Game 95: Indians 9, Tigers 3
Tribe improves to 48-47
Your 2014 Cleveland Indians are well versed in playing some horrific baseball for stretches. Luckily, tonight, that stretch only lasted 6 innings. Then the cobwebs cleared and the gloves came off.
Trevor Bauer wasn't his best tonight, but he did what he had to in order to make it through 6 innings and give up only 3 runs - a quality start by definition. He kept his team within striking distance even though his curveball was uncharacteristically ineffective.
While the start of the game seemed to imply it would be a pitcher's duel - Bauer and Anibal Sanchez teamed up to retire the first 13 batters, the Tigers broke through in the 3rd and changed the tide. They loaded the bases with one out but the Indians got lucky as only 1 run would score.
The Tigers would get 2 the very next inning. After the Martinez Duo lead off with singles, Torii Hunter doubled to the right field corner. Victor would score but two good throws from David "Magic Hands" Murphy and Jason Kipnis would nab J.D. at the plate. They'd get the other run when Hunter stole 3rd and went home on an errant throw.
The error went to Yan Gomes and maybe he deserved it, but I think a stronger fielding third baseman handles the short hop on that play and Hunter stays at 3rd. Luckily, it would be the last run the Tigers would get.
In the 7th, the Indians batters not named Brantley would finally wake up. With the bases loaded and nobody out, the much maligned Nick Swisher would plate two with a single to right-center. That drove Sanchez from the game, who up until that point had been dominating the Tribe lineup. Ian Krol came on to face Ryan Raburn, pinch hitting for Murphy. Raburn punched the ball to RF, tying the game. Krol immediately gave way to Al Alburquerque, who would get back to back strikes outs of Gomes and Chris Dickerson.
With two outs, runners on 1st and 3rd, and the struggling Kipnis at the plate, it looked like the big inning was in jeopardy. But then the most beautiful thing happened. Kipnis hammered a 1-2 slider that didn't get in quite enough, for a 3 run HR. Asdrubal Cabrera would follow suit on the very next pitch, driving out the ball and Alburquerque, leaving the Indians up 7-3 and, eventually, giving Trevor Bauer the "win."
Kipnis wasn't done. He tacked on a solo home run to lead off the 9th. After a Dr. Smooth Double and Lonnie Chisenhall's second walk of the night, Swisher would hit a ball down the left field line that somehow stayed fair and bounced into the stands for an automatic double. Swisher wasn't even to first when the ball, which was hit a mile in the air, landed, so the Committee for Assigning Penalities to Unwritten Rule Infractions - CAPURI for short - will convene in the morning where they will likely find the Tribe DH guilty only of being old and give him time served.
Scott Atchison, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen each pitched a clean inning, in that order, I can only assume because Tito thought they needed the work. Going into a double header tomorrow, that seems crazy. For the effort, Cody needed 24 pitches to accomplish it.
With tonight's win, the Indians climb to 6.5 back of Detroit and draw even with the Royals, who lost 5-4 to the Red Sox. The man of the night, without a doubt, was Jason Kipnis. Maybe Fangraphs was right.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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