Indians 7, Tigers 5
Tribe improves to 69-70
Michael Brantley wasn't going to be trifled with tonight. After Detroit had the audacity to come back and tie the game following Branley's go-ahead home run in the 7th, he went out and hit another one in the 8th. "I can do this all night," he said to the Tigers as he rounded third base*, and they knew he meant it, and decided just to go quietly in the 9th.
*Um... Brantley did not actually say that.
As the win expectancy chart below will attest, tonight's game was wild and woolly. Detroit took the lead in the 2nd inning on a single to right field, but proceeded to make two outs on the play, in a play you probably ran out of room for if you were keeping score at the stadium. Take a look:
Nice work, Tigers.
The Indians tied the game in the 4th when Abraham Almonte homered. He hasn't been the Tribe's best player during the six weeks since he joined the team, but no one this season has exceeded my expectations the way he has. Almonte wasn't finished for the night either. He led off the bottom of the 6th with a bunt single, then stole second base, and came around to score one of two runs driven in by a Giovanny Urshela double. Monstro was been struggling mightily at the plate, so it was nice to see him pick up a big hit.
Danny Salazar had gotten through the first six innings having allowed just the one run, but to my eyes he didn't look especially sharp, having walked a couple and struck out only three. After retiring the first batter, Salazar loaded the bases with a single, an infield single, and a walk, and with that his night was over. Bryan Shaw entered the game, and it was not going to be his night. Almost immediately he threw a wild pitch, and a single tied the game, though Detroit was good enough to run into another out on the bases during the play. (For the second time of the night, it took instant replay for the Indians to get the out, after the umps initially called runners safe.)
Right off the bat in the bottom half of the frame, Brantley hit the first of his two home runs, and Yan Gomes drove in Lonnie Chisnehall a few minutes later to extend the lead to 5-3. Shaw gave up another three hits in the 8th though, halving the lead. Cody Allen allowed another one of Shaw's runners to score, tying the game again. With two outs in the Tribe side of the inning though, Brantley did it again**. It was his 15th home run of the season, tying him with Carlos Santana and Brandon Moss for the (very unimpressive) team lead.
**And to think, just hours before the game I wrote about how awesome Brantley has been. It's not often I write a piece like that and the guy goes out and makes his numbers look even better. Is the Lukehart jinx weakening???
Allen got three quick outs in the 9th to end the game. Meanwhile, only one other American League game was played today, but it included the best possible result for the Tribe's slim postseason hopes, a Rangers loss. The Indians are now 4 games behind Texas for the second Wild Card spot. With only 23 games to go, that's a pretty big hole, but certainly not an impossible one.
Tonight's victory moves the Indians to within a game of .500. They've reached this point a couple times during the summer, but weren't able to get that next victory, and haven't actually been at .500 since they were 2-2 during the first week of the season. They'll send Cody Anderson to the mound Friday night, to face off against Justin Verlander and try, try again for the win that levels their record.
Win Expectancy Chart
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