Indians improve to 64-66
The magical mystery train, carrying the hopes and dreams of lads and lassies both young and old, weak and strong, optimistic and, well, optimistic, rolls on! After all, if you're not still optimistic you've likely already unpacked your hopes and dreams from the magical mystery train several stops ago. Me? Oh, I'm still on board. Just passed out behind a crate in the back. A few too many GLBC brews perhaps, but I'm still here.
Tonight's game had a little bit of everything good pitching, timely offense, close calls and bad breaks. The game started well for the Indians when Jason Kipnis led off with double. Francisco Lindor, who apparently has failed to realize that he has been one of the most productive offensive players in the month of August, prepared to sacrifice him over. After two failed attempts, Lindor was able to reach on a fielder's choice while still advancing Kipnis to 3rd on a poor choice/throw by the 2nd baseman Ryan Goins. Michael Brantley would ground into a double play but Kip came in to score, giving Cleveland the early 1-0 advantage.
From there, it the pitchers would take control. David Price wouldn't allow another Indians baserunner past 1st until the 7th inning. The 7th would also be his final inning and he'd leave giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 9 and walking 1. Luckily for the Tribe, Danny Salazar was equal to the task of going against Price. He's also go 7 and give up 6 hits, but he's allow only 2 runs and 1 walk while striking out 10. Danny spent the night effectively mixing his pitches while throwing his usually great changeup.
The only trouble he'd run into was largely of his own doing. With 2 outs in the 5th, Goins hit bouncer back to Salazar that deflected off of his glove for a single. Ben Revere would follow and do the same thing on a gounder back to Danny. Suddenly, the Blue Jays had two on for the best player in the American League not named Mike Trout*. Josh Donaldson proved his worth, Tripling to deep center, with the ball just barely caroming off of Abraham Almonte's glove. Danny would settle down and get out of the inning, but Toronto was now up 2-1.
*And, possibly, even better than Trout.
But the Indians weren't done! With one out in the 7th, Carlos Santana drew a walk and Ryan Raburn doubled to right field. Running all the way, they sent Santana who was able to score all the way from 1st while Raburn advanced to 3rd. Jerry Sands would then put the Tribe up 3-2 with a 2 out single to left.
The final inning and a half would hold us much action as the rest of the game up to that point. Bryan Shaw came in and retired the first two batters he faced before giving up a single to Jose Bautista. Tito then went to the patented 4-out Cody Allen save, but things got dicey. He gave up a single to Edwin Encarnacion and intentionally walked Troy Tulowitski after falling behind, loading the bases for Justin Smoak. Allen would get Smoak to strikout on a 2-2 curveball, ending the inning.
In the 9th, with Yan Gomes aboard, Lonnie Chisenhall, pinch hitting for Sands, singled off the glove of Donaldson. With the ball bouncing away from Donaldson, Gomes advanced to third and throw went over the head of the pitcher covering, which allowed Gomes to score and Lonnie to reach 3rd - on a single. It might be best to simply watch it for yourself, here.
The insurance gave Cody Allen a 2 run lead and it looked like he might need it. Singles from Kevin Pillar and Goins would bring Josh Donaldson to the plate with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 9th. Donaldson fouled off a 1-2 fastball before failing to check his swing on a vicious curveball in the dirt, sending the Indians to the 6th straight victory and the first of the series.
Win Expectancy Chart
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