Game 121: Indians 2, Orioles 1
Tribe improves to 61-60
The Unfair One maintained his recent dominance over 7 2/3 innings tonight, and yet he somehow didn't get the win. A pathetic offensive showing combined with one bad bullpen inning seemed poised to give Klubot the shaft. Help sometimes comes from the unlikeliest of places, though, and tonight that unlikely place was Mike Aviles.
What more can we say about Corey Kluber at this point in the season? He has been a godsend, holding together a rotation otherwise consisting of puddin' pop sticks and Elmer's glue. In many ways, tonight was a textbook Klubot start. He scattered 10 K's over 7 2/3 dominant innings but this time, he actually managed to give up a run. When you pitch for the Indians, sometimes one mistake is enough to bury you.
Wei-Yin Chen is a good pitcher, but the Indians made him look better than he is. The team as a whole has struggled mightily against LHP this year, and that struggle continued tonight. The Tribe managed just four hits off of Chen in seven solid innings from the Oriole starter.
Rookie Zach Walters provided the only Tribe offense until the 11th inning, driving a liner just over the "little monster" in left to put the Tribe up 1-0 in the 5th inning. The homer came in an at bat where earlier, Walters appeared to tweak an oblique on a hard swing. Fortunately, he was OK and stuck around for the whole game. He was the only Indians hitter with two hits tonight.
The game cruised along into the 8h, with Kluber having struck out nine batters so far. To start the 8th, he struck out Chris Davis for the fourth time in the game. Things got a bit weird after he hung that golden sombrero, though. The next batter, Adam Jones, attempted to bunt but what hit in the hand. The play was called a strike, but O's Buck Showalter rushed the field and looked poised to challenge. Turns out you can't challenge that kind of play, but it didn't stop Showalter from making a bizarre scene, dragging out an argument for several minutes to the bemusement of Kluber and the rest of the Indians. Jones eventually grounded out weakly, chirping at the umps as he sat down. The ordeal seemed to throw Kluber's concentration a bit. He gave up a single to Nelson Cruz and at 116 pitches, and was done for the night. Leaving to a well-deserved standing ovation, he was relieved by a Bryan Shaw determined to ruin his life.
Shaw came on like a bathroom wrecking ball, giving up back-to-back singles and allowing Cruz to score the run that would blemish Kluber's final line and leave him with a no decision. Cody Allen came on to get the final out of the inning with one pitch. It felt like we were headed for another long, stupid game.
The Indians went quietly in the 8th, 9th, and 10th, but fortunately so did the O's. Cody Allen pitched a scoreless inning and Scott Atchison pitched back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, setting the Indians up nicely for a potential walkoff in the 11th.
The first batter of the 11th, Mike Aviles, hit a homer. So the Indians won. And so probably Aviles is gonna be around for at least another week. But we won! So I guess we got that going for us, which is nice.
Hope is still alive for the season, and the pitching matchups for the rest of the series look favorable... is the magic back?
Win Expectancy Chart:
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