Indians 3, Yankees 2
Tribe improves to 56-64
Josh Tomlin... You just never know what sort of surprise he's got up his sleeve. Tomlin, already left for dead by most Tribe fans, missed most of this season after having shoulder surgery in April, but trouble in the #5 spot of the rotation cleared a path for his return, and he's now turned in two quality starts in a row. He allowed just 1 run on 2 hits Thursday night in the Bronx, a solo shot to Alex Rodriguez (#680 of his career) the only blemish on his sheet.
Tomlin isn't going to keep this up (not if regression has anything to say about his .121 BABIP allowed), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with having him around as depth for the rotation, because he's shown himself quite capable of turning in very good performances from time to time.
The Tribe jumped ahead early, as Carlos Santana led off the 2nd with a walk, and came around to score on a Lonnie Chisenhall double. The lead grew in the 3rd inning, when Jason Kipnis singled, then scored on a single by Michael Brantley. (It sure is nice to have those two both in the lineup again.) The lead grew again in the 4th, when Abraham Almonte walked and later scored on a Jose Ramirez single.
The Indians only threatened once after that, when Michael Brantley hit his league leading 38th double of the season* in the 8th inning, and Santana walked to put two runners on with one out, but they weren't able to plate any more runs. Fortunately, Tomlin's strong night (and a scoreless 8th from Bryan Shaw) meant three runs were enough for a two-run lead when Cody Allen entered to try and close the game out.
*Brantley is now on pace for 51 doubles, which would make him only the second Indians player in the last 20 years to reach 50 two-baggers, Grady Sizemore in 2006 being the other.
Neither team seemed thrilled with the strike zone, and that came to a head with nobody out in the 9th, and Rodriguez on second base, when Brian McCann was then called out on strikes. He immediately jawed with the umpire, leading Yankees manager to come out from the dugout and get involved, promptly getting himself tossed from the game. Carlos Beltran singled to make it a 3-2 game, then moved to second when Allen walked Greg Bird. A ground out moved the runners over to second and third, leading to a queasy feeling in this blogger's stomach. Didi Gregorious hit a harmless fly to left though, and the Indians had themselves a win.
For the moment, the Indians are percentage points ahead of the White Sox, and technically out of the AL Central cellar. That could change depending on the outcome of Chicago's game tonight. There's a case to be made that the Indians would be better off finishing poorly, to get a protected draft pick in the top ten. In the moment though, it's more fun seeing the Tribe win... especially against the Yankees.
Win Expectancy Chart
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