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When Tribe came to forks in the road*, they didn't take them, eventually losing to the Cardinals 8-3

Missed opportunities at the plate and in the field cost Indians dearly in 8-3 loss

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals 8, Indians 3

Box Score

Indians fall to 11-20

There were two crucial turning points in this game, and both times they went against the Indians. The first came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Indians had loaded the bases with one out for Michael Brantley. Lance Lynn was over 90 pitches, and had lost control of the strike zone, walking two in the inning and had fallen behind Carlos Santana prior to giving up a base hit to the Tribe first baseman. Now he fell behind Brantley 3-0, and given that is one of the best contact hitters in the game, it seemed almost a cinch that the Indians would get at least one run out of the inning. But after Brantley took two fastballs for strikes, he put a terrible swing on the payoff pitch, striking out for just the 4th time all season (107 PA). Brandon Moss then completed the blown opportunity by striking out. St. Louis still held a 3-0 lead.

The Cardinals got two of those runs in the second inning, an inning in which none of the three single were hit very well. LGFT Jhonny Peralta reached when a comebacker glanced off Carrasco's shoe. Yadier Molina blooped a singled to shallow right field (which was a nice piece of hitting), and LGFT Mark Reynolds hit a soft line drive to right that drove in Peralta. In all, Carrasco would pitch into the seventh, allowing four runs on ten hits, striking out seven and walking none. His counterpart Lance Lynn pitched six innings, allowing zero runs on four hits, striking out nine but walking four. At first glance you'd think Lynn by far the better pitcher but the spread between the two starters wasn't all that much. Lynn tonight however was able to get out of jams via the strikeout, making pitches when he absolutely had to make them. He was the recipient of a generous outside corner, and used that to his advantage, tempting Tribe hitters with pitches just outside that new corner.

This season the Cardinals have usually made baseball games a a six-inning affair thanks to a stellar bullpen, but tonight the Indians got back into the game after Lynn left. They scored three runs off the St. Louis bullpen in the seventh inning, and had two at-bats with the tying run at second base. They still trailed, but it was now just a one-run game.

That's when the second turning point happened. With one on and one out in the top of the eighth, Peter Bourjos hit a ball back at Bryan Shaw, who attempted to start a double play by throwing to Jose Ramirez at second base. The ball tailed away Ramirez, but it was still a ball that should be caught 100% of the time. Because Bourjos was running, it was going to be difficult to turn two, and Ramirez seemed to pull the glove towards his throwing had before he caught the baseball. The ball ticked off his glove, and both runners were safe. Nick Hagadone replaced Shaw, and retired Kolten Wong on a nasty curve, but he missed badly in the strike zone to Matt Carpenter, and the Cardindals star third baseman didn't miss the fastball on the inner half of the plate, lacing the pitch into right field to plate the first unearned run of the inning. Scott Atchison then came in to try to keep the deficit 5-to-3, but Matt Holliday lined a fastball over the right field fence to put the game away.

At least the Cavs won.

*A nod to Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who turned 90 years old today.

Win Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Game Thread

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