After the month-and-a-half of misery that was Cleveland Indians baseball to start the year, it felt like looking into the past watching as the Reds struggled to hit anyone home and ultimately wasted a solid outing from their starting pitcher. The Reds had more hits, more defensive gems, and - save for one crucial inning - looked like they deserved to win the game. Luckily that awful month has passed and the Windians are finally on the opposite side of a game like this.
Prior to the contest even starting it was a weird one. Reds manager Bryan Price left the dugout just before first pitch to argue with the officiating crew before eventually being thrown out of the game entirely when the discussion got heated. While there has yet to be a confirmation of what this little scuffle was about, it was likely leftover tension from last night when several Reds players were arguing over ball and strike calls. Either way, it resulted in Price being tossed and the Reds going forward without their skipper.
Whether or not Price being ejected gave the Reds batters a boost (as Rick Manning in the booth seemed so sure of), there was no doubting their aggressiveness out of the gate. After a relatively quick first inning - thanks to a double play - Kluber showed some signs of being human and needed 20+ pitches to get through the 2nd and 3rd innings and ended up putting the Tribe in an 0-1 hole.
Once Kluber found his groove however, he was able to turn that aggressiveness into quick innings later in the game. By the time the end of the 8th inning rolled around, Kluber left the game after 102 pitches allowing 9 hits, but the only run to score was an early 2nd inning sac fly from Zack Cozart.
With Michael Brantley receiving a scheduled day off, the Indians lineup looked especially weak. Second-year pitcher Anthony DeSclafani had the Tribe no-hit through 3.1 innings. It wasn't until Carlos Santana doubled in the 4th that the offense finally started to get going. For Santana, this was his second game in a row with a hit which is encouraging given just how bad he's been prior to this series. It seems the Ohio Cup has given new life to the Tribe #2 hitter.
As bad as the Indians offense looks on the box score, a lot of their troubles came from just how great the Reds defense played. In particular, Joey Votto absolutely robbed Brandon Moss of a big RBI opportunity late when he leapt roughly 40 feet into the air and snagged a live drive headed for right field.
The Indians didn't end up even tying the game until the 6th when the offense began to finally get DeSclafani off balance and David Murphy hit Jason Kipnis home on a single to center. After a blank 7th inning, the Tribe finally pulled ahead in the 8th after Roberto Perez walked, then Michael Bourn made it to first via a failed sac bunt and was eventually hit home by a monster double from Jason Kipnis.
With Yan Gomes likely returning for his first game since early April tomorrow, Perez had to know that this would be his last time being an everyday starter for some time - and he certainly played like it. Not only did he throw out one of the most proficient base stealers in the league, Billy Hamilton, but he also drew a walk late that ultimately gave the Indians an extra batter to get the winning run home.
Now riding a 5-game winning stream and with their 3rd consecutive series win locked in, the Indians head into the series finale tomorrow afternoon looking to sweep their in-state rivals. Gomes will be catching Trevor Bauer in his return, and the Reds will be sending out right-handed pitcher Raisel Iglesias.
|Denver Tribe Fan
|VA tribe fan