Tribe improves to 71-71
Carlos Carrasco's first pitch of the game, the very first pitch, sailed off the bat of Alex Gordon and into the right field stands to give the Royals an extremely quick 1-0 lead. If you're paying attention to small sample sizes, stastical noise and luck, uou might think it was a sign of things to come in the game. If your evidence was the Royals consistently jumping to early leads against the Indians, you'd think it was a bad sign. But if you watched yesterday's double headers and expected the trend to continue, you might actually feel good. Luckily for all the Tribe fans in attendance and watching and listening at home, the best was yet to come.
After the Gordon home run, Carlos Carrasco went to work. Maybe he was already there and just thought Gordon would spot him a fastball to start the game, but regardless of whatever he thought, he went on to throw 6 innings while giving up 5 hits, 2 walks and striking out 9 Royals batters along the way. He looked fantastic, like the pitcher the Indians will need in September. The only reason for pulling him after only 6 innings was the pitch count. He was sitting at 82 and would typically have had one or two more innings in him, but coming off the DL before his previous start he was only slated to go 80-100, with the low side of that being more realistic. To go 6 innings with 9 Ks and still be pulled at that low limit was a testament to the way Cookie attacked and dismantled the Royals hitters.
While Cookie went to work on the mound, Jason Kipnis hit a leadoff home run of his own (but on the the 4th pitch instead of the 1st) to even the score. Edinson Volquez didn't seem to have quite his best stuff, perhaps fighting a mechanical issue, and ended up surrendering 4 runs to the Tribe offense over 5 innings. Over the course of the game, the Indians hitters would score in 6 of their 8 frames, continuing to answer anything the Royals threw at them and then some.
In the 2nd inning, it was a Lonnie Chisenhall double. In the 3rd, a Giovanny Ursehal solo blast into the bleachers. Chisenhall drove another in in the 5th with a sac fly. Up 4-1, things got dicey in the 7th. Zach McAllister who seems to be struggling mightily as of late, quickly got the first out and then yielded two singles before inducing a pop fly for the 2nd out. Tito had seen enough and went to Bryan Shaw to get out of the inning. But a wild pitch advanced the runners and then old lady BABIP reared her ugly head as the Royals scored two runs off of two consecutive weak infield hits.
With their lead shrunk to a single run, the Indians responded again. With one out, Michael Brantley doubled and Carlos Santana drew a walk behind him. Brantley came around to score on another Chisenhall single before Yan Gomes gapped a double left center, clearing the bases and putting the Tribe back on top 7-3. Not done scoring, Jose Ramirez led off the next innings with a double over the head of Gordon and Francisco Lindor drove him in with a triple that looked like a home run on first glace. Alex Rios thought it was a home run and didn't pursue the ball when it caromed back into play and Lindor mostly trotted around the bases, thinking it was a home run, before speeding into 3rd. The replay clearly confirmed that it hit off of the very tip top of the wall, but Ramirez had scored easily regardless, capping the score a 8-3.
That additional run allowed Tito to stick with the good HMS Manship who had come out to get the final out in the 8th. Jeff Manship struck out the first two Royals in the 9th before recording the last out with two men aboard, sealing a big victory. Despite being a thorn in the Tribe's side all year, and being probably the best baseball team in the AL, the Royals are in a bit of a skid and the Tribe's 3 runs off of their vaunted bullpen is a sign of exactly why that is.
But the credit goes to the Cleveland Indians, not the blame to the Royals bullpen, and they climb right back into .500 and wait and hope for the Rangers to lose and give one back tonight.
Win Expectancy Chart
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