Indians advance to 62-66
Corey Kluber was a bit of a slow starter for the Cleveland Indians tonight. Twice. On the first pitch of the game, Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun hit a solo home run to kick things off. The Tribe offense responded in the second inning with a Yan Gomes sacrifice fly, and later in the third with a Lonnie Chisenhall single that scored Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley.
Unfortunately, for Kluber, he had a second chance to start over when a sudden storm delayed the game for a full 38 minutes. In the Angels first at-bat post rain delay, former Indian David Murphy hit a solo home run, then four batters later Kaleb Cowart hit a ball to left that Michael Brantley fumbled so poorly that it would make Hanley Ramirez blush. Right or wrong, you can defend Brantley’s defense all you want, but there is no defending that play.
Both starters got into a groove and the game remained deadlocked in a 3-3 pitcher’s duel until a, shall we say eventful, eighth inning. A five-run explosion came courtesy of a Carlos Santana double that scored Francisco Lindor and a grand slam courtesy of Yan Gomes. It was a no-doubt home run, and Gomes did not hide the fact that he knew it was gone, taking a couple seconds to admire his go-ahead blast before rounding the bases. Maybe it was the fact that the Angels walked Lonnie Chisenhall to get to him, or just Gomes getting caught up in the moment, but I loved the cocky stare down and bat drop either way. This was the type of inning that a large majority of the 2015 Indians would not have been able to pull off. There is no rolling over and dying anymore for this team. Revel in it the eardrum-shattering crowd noise. You deserve it.
The Tribe offense was mostly shut down in the middle innings of the game, but it felt more like the Angels starter Garrett Richards being on his game more than the Indians offense struggling. If that big eighth inning against the Angels bullpen was any indication, that was definitely the case.
Defensively, the Tribe came up big behind their pitching staff. Giovanny Urshela had a split-second catch to rob Shane Victorino that will make highlight reels for a few days. Instead of the pinch-hitter having a double down the line, Urshela reacted in the blink of an eye to get a hand up and grab the liner to third. Newcomer Abraham Almonte continued to make his inevitable decline that much more painful with a big jumping catch in center that stopped another potential double.
Winning is fun, and grand slams are great, but maybe the best thing about the game was a call by Matt Underwood. Corey Kluber struck out Kaleb Cowart looking to end the sixth inning and somewhere in Underwood’s brain, a wire was crossed, resulting him in excited yelling "SWUNG" followed by "…got him looking."
With the win, the Indians have won four straight and are… still five games back from the second Wild Card spot in the American League. They go for the sweep tomorrow.
Win Expectancy Chart
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