Indians fall to 77-77
The Tribe's hunt for a wild-card spot fizzled badly this afternoon as they failed to get anything going against the Royals.
The offense simply couldn't get a handle on the soft-tossing Chris Young, who retired the first 11 hitters he faced. That run was finally broken by a 4th inning two-out walk by Michael Brantley. In the game preview I suggested that the Tribe would attack Young on the basepaths, and sure enough Brantley stole 2nd base on the very next pitch (he was initially given out but that was overturned after review) for his 15th of the season. However, that was the only baserunner the Tribe managed against Young.
With Young having done his job with five no-hit innings, the Royals turned to lefty Danny Duffy in the 6th, but it was the same old story, yet another 1-2-3.
But then things got a little crazy in the 7th. First, it took a superb leadoff bunt single by Francisco Lindor off Ryan Madson to break up the no-hitter, but after another Brantley walk the Tribe looked to be in decent shape. Santana advanced Lindor on a flyball and then there was a weird play in which Chisenhall lined out to the pitcher, Brantley got back to 1st after a poor throw by Madson and Lindor ran home without ever tagging up. Initially, the umpires awarded the run. However, after a chaotic ten-minute delay that included two separate reviews, the Royals were (rightly) awarded the double play on the crew chief review and the threat was over.
Clearly that was a very poor piece of baserunning by Lindor, although the 3rd base umpire tried to let him get away with it. After the game Lindor fessed up in typically candid fashion: "I went back. I just didn't go all the way back to the base. I messed up. I messed up. It was my fault. It shouldn't have happened, but I did it and I embrace it."
And that was that. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis mopped up (despite a late Kipnis double) and the Tribe was two-hit.
Danny Salazar had started out well enough, conceding just three scattered singles in the first three innings. However, three consecutive hits (an infield single by Cain, a Hosmer RBI double and a single by Perez) put him in a deep hole. Although Mike Moustakas got a second run home on a groundout, Salazar did manage to limit the damage to two runs, while seemingly experiencing real problems with his control. Having struck out a pair in the 1st, it wasn't until the 5th that he secured his third K, and after one out in the 6th he was removed, having thrown 102 pitches.
So it was over to the bullpen. Kyle Crockett did a good job in the LOOGY role, striking out the only hitter he faced, Mike Moustakas, and Ryan Webb then struck out Alex Rios on three pitches. However, when he came back for the 7th Webb gave up an infield single to Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon drove him home. At least Giovanni Soto made another of his rare but promising low-leverage outings for a 1-2-3 8th.
With the Astros, Angels and Twins all having won their games, the Tribe is now four games back in the wild-card chase and in need of a miracle.
Win Expectancy Chart
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