Indians improve to 46-54
Another superb complete game gem from Corey Kluber set things up perfectly for the Tribe, and for once he actually received some run support. Although he just failed to record the shutout in the 9th, the Indians' ace was terrific all afternoon, striking out six while allowing just the one run on five hits.
Kluber received excellent support in the field throughout, with two terrific plays by Francisco Lindor, one in the 3rd and one in the 4th, helping him to preserve a perfect game through four innings before Eric Hosmer (who else?) ruined it with a double at the start of the 5th .
After a week of almost complete futility, the offense finally broke out with 18 hits including four(!) homers. It's amazing what a few hits and a big lead can do to a team. With everyone laughing and having fun, hit followed hit followed hit, and baseball suddenly seemed like a completely different game.
Most of the damage was done in an amazing six-run 6th inning that featured six straight hits and saw homers from both of the newcomers to the Tribe's infield, Giovanny Urshela and Francisco Lindor, immediately followed by another from Michael Brantley. In-between three straight singles from Bourn, Holt and Kipnis had got another run in and put two on base for Lindor's three-run jack.
Earlier in the game it had been pretty much the usual story. The Tribe put themseves in plenty of RISP and bases-loaded situations, but ended up with just two runs to show for it.
They certainly got off to a good start. In the 1st Kipnis and Lindor singled and Santana walked the bases loaded with one out. Although Brandon Moss struck out, Yan Gomes forced home the opening run when he was hit by Jeremy Guthrie.
It was pretty much the same story in the 2nd. Michael Bourn led off with a double and then somehow managed to escape a Tyler Holt fielder's choice when he was caught in a rundown but Mike Moustakas made contact with him on the basepath. Guthrie then drilled Kipnis (bringing a warning to both teams) and the bases were loaded again, this time with no-one out. Lindor then got the runner home with a sac fly to CF. However, Kipnis made his third baserunning blunder in the last three days and was picked off with the chance to add-on quickly fizzling away.
Tempers flared in 5th when Brantley was hit low on the leg by a pitch (Guthrie's 3rd HBP on the day) which brought Francona rushing out to complain. Naturally, he was ejected for doing his job. However, when things cooled down, I doubt if anyone in the Tribe's dugout would really have wanted the incredibly mediocre Guthrie to be removed out of the game.
After the six-run 6th, the Tribe threatened again in the 7th, when a third hit of the day by Michael Bourn was followed by Kipnis' third hit (a double), but Lindor couldn't get them home this time.
Never mind. They managed to pile on with six consecutive hits again in the 8th. After Michael Brantley blooped a single into short left field and Carlos Santana hit a double to center field, Brandon Moss drove them both home with a single. Yan Gomes then blasted the Tribe's fourth homer of the day for two more runs as the game turned into a complete rout, even though they didn't capitalize further on singles by Urshela and Bourn (his fourth hit of the afternoon).
So now it's off to the West Coast for four games against Oakland followed by a speedy reunion with David Murphy in the three-game set against the Angels. Let's hope they take their scoring boots with them.
Win Expectancy Chart
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|17||Deep South Ken||3|
|22||Matt R. Lyons||2|
|24||Denver Tribe Fan||1|