Game 97: Indians 5, Tigers 2
Tribe improves to 50-47
In the GameThread preview, I said it would take an impressive showing from Zach McAllister to best Max Scherzer in the second game of a doubleheader. The Attach delivered, but the offense was mostly kept in check by a barely-effective Scherzer. It took a mighty effort from the Tribe's newest superhero tag-team, Carlos & Carlos, to seal the doubleheader sweep.
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th, Carlos Carrsco came out to face the meat of the Tigers order, and also their fourth and fifth hitters. After falling behind 2-0 against Miguel Cabrera, Carrasco battled back like a champion to K Cabrera. Miggy went down hard, like so many Hot-N-Ready pizzas have in his presence. Cookie induced groundouts from the Martinez boys after a tough battle with Victor, and put the Indians in great position for a comeback. But let's rewind a bit before we get to that.
McAllister put together one of his best performances of the season tonight, though he didn't last very long. He had a tough 2nd inning, giving up a single, throwing a wild pitch, walking the bases load, and then walking in a run, but fortunately he escaped having given up just the one run. He settled into a groove after the 2nd, firing on all cylinders and not allowing a single Tiger to reach base again until the 6th. Miggy lead off the Tiger 6th with a double, and The Attach left the game after getting Victor Martinez to fly out. His final line of six strikeouts with just three hits and three walks is as good as you could hope for from a guy recently return from injury/AAA facing the 1st place Tigers.
Max Scherzer, on the other hand, was not himself. Seemingly bothered by cramping in his pitching arm all night, he never had his best stuff. Nonetheless, he managed to basically shut down every Indian not named Chris Dickerson for the majority of the game. Dickerson cranked his first homer of the season, a solo shot off Scherzer, to lead off the 3rd. The Indians loaded the bases with two outs in that inning, but couldn't drive in another run. The offense put together another couple of threats, but wouldn't score again until Dickerson hit another dinger in the 6th, knocking Scherzer out of the game. The Indians were up 2-1, and in a battle of the bullpens, the odds were in their favor. But things are never easy with this team.
Defense once again made things harder than it needed to be. With one out in the Tiger 7th, Scott Atchison delivered the perfect double play ball, which was botched in transition by Jason Kipnis. Empowered by the gift out, Austin Jackson crushed a triple to score Alex Avila who had walked earlier in the inning. The score was tied, and it looked like the bullpen might be in for a long night the way the offense was playing.
Fortunately, Carrasco came to the rescue. After Joba Chamberlain and his symbiote beard set down the Tribe 1-2-3 in the 8th, Cookie played the "anything you can do, I can do better (and with less body fat)" card to set the Tigers down in order.
Roberto Perez led off the Indians 9th with a double off of Tribe All-Star Joe Nathan. After Chris Dickerson inexplicably struck out pulling back a two-strike bunt, Jason Kipnis walked. Nathan's wild pitch advanced allowed runners to advance to second and third, so the Tigers elected to IBB Michael Brantley, who had already hit a double and a single. Insulted by the IBB to Brantley and not content to be the second-best Carlos this game, Carlos Santana smashed a bases-clearing double to put the Tribe up 5-2.
Cody Allen gave up a leadoff double to Torii Hunter, but came back to slam the door on the Tigers in the 9th, and that was all she wrote. As has been the case in both previous games in this series so far, the late innings were pivotal. McAllister and Team Carlos saved the Tribe bullpen and helped the Indians sweep the doubleheader and take the first three in a row from Detroit in this four-game series.
Sweeping a doubleheader is never easy, especially when it's against your division-leading arch-nemesis. That makes it all the sweeter.
- Cabrera's double off of McAllsiter in the 6th probably would have been a homer in any other park
- John Axford threw a wild pitch allowing Cabrera to advance in to third after that double, but salvaged the inning and - at the time - McAllister's chances for a win by K-ing J.D. Martinez and Hunter back-to-back
- Chris Dickerson carries on the legacy of George Kottaras, becoming the second inconsequential Tribe acquisition to have a multi-homer game this season
- Joba Chamberlain's beard is really, embarrassingly disgusting
Win Expectancy Chart:
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