Tribe improves to 72-67
At 10:15 PM this evening, here is what the Cleveland radar looked like:
A rather ugly line of storms was bearing down upon downtown Cleveland. The Indians and White Sox were locked in a 1-1 tie, and if the Indians didn't score in the bottom of the 10th, they probably wouldn't have another chance to win the game until either much later in the evening or perhaps not until Saturday night.
But thankfully David Murphy made those fears moot.
TJ House made the start, and for the second straight time matched an outstanding pitcher inning for inning. Last Sunday he out-dueled Danny Duffy in Kansas City, and tonight he matched Chris Sale, actually outlasting him. Sale allowed just one run on a first-inning Michael Brantley single, but after that shut the Tribe bats down. But House was up to the challenge, yielding just an Alexei Ramirez solo home run in his seven innings of work. He struck out seven White Sox, and didn't walk a batter, getting the game to the eighth inning and, more importantly taking the usual three-pitcher seventh inning out of play.
After the Indians scored early off Sale, you hoped that tonight would mirror some of the games they'd had off the Chicago ace last year. But no, the offense went into a deep slumber, and not even the Chicago bullpen would wake it up. The pitching has carried the club in recent weeks, and once again it would have to tonight. Brian Shaw and Cody Allen got the game to extra innings with relatively clean innings, but in the 10th the front end of the bullpen would have to pitch its way out of a serious jam. Adam Eaton would reached to lead off the inning off Scrabble on a bunt single, he'd go to second on sacrifice bunt, and Jose Abreu would be intentionally walked. CC Lee, who to this point had pitched in relatively low-leverage situations, was now called upon to extricate the Indians from this mess. He would walk Avisail Garcia, but got Dayan Viciedo to pop up (he swung out of his shoes on high slider) and would induce a ground out to end the threat.
By this time, an ominous line of showers was approaching the Cleveland. The system had delayed the Tigers-Giants game for several hours, and it appeared the bottom of the tenth was going to be last time the Indians would bat before the rains came. But thankfully the weather did not affect this game. Yan Gomes led off the inning with a line drive towards the corner, and when Michael Taylor didn't catch the ball, it bounded back towards the infield. By the time the White Sox got to the ball, Gomes was at third base, giving the Indians a golden opportunity to win. That set off a series of moves by both clubs. Bourn was walked by White Sox reliever Maikel Cleto, then left-handed reliever Eric Surkamp came into the game to ensure that Lonnie Chisenhall would bat, and then he was walked to load the bases. Jason Kipnis was now the batter, and after getting ahead in the count 3-1, swung at two straight pitches that looked to be out of the strike zone to strike out, leaving the bases loaded with one out. Then Robin Ventura went to the bullpen yet again, bringing in Ronald Belisario to face Roberto Perez. Terry Francona then countered with David Murphy, who had just re-joined the club after missing almost a month with an oblique injury. But after falling behind in the count 1-2, he fouled off several pitches before finally getting one that he could do something with. He lined a high slider into shallow center field, ending a nine-inning scoring drought and making the Indians a winner tonight.
Win Expectancy Chart
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|Denver Tribe Fan