Indians fall to 16-14
Danny Salazar by all rights should have given up at least four or five runs today. He allowed ten base runners in five innings, including six (!) walks, but only allowed one run, and left the game after five innings with the Indians holding a 2-1 lead. The Astros tied the game in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh, but the Indians saddled Houston closer Luke Gregerson with his first blown save, sending the game into extra innings. And more extra innings. And even more extra innings. Cody Anderson threw three perfect innings, but in his fourth inning gave up the walk-off home run. The Indians used ten pitchers, including two starters (Salazar and Anderson); thankfully there's an off-day tomorrow. Even so, this was a painful way to lose a game.
(The below was written during the game.)
Danny Salazar got into deep trouble by throwing 13 of his first 20 pitches outside the strike zone. A single and two walks loaded the bases with nobody out, but Salazar bowed his neck and struck out the next three hitters to get out of the mess. He had to throw 32 pitches in that first inning, but kept the game scoreless.
Another bases loaded jam, but Salazar again wriggled out of it. He got Carlos Correa to ground out to end the threat.
The Indians could have gotten burned by a poor judgment call. With Lonnie Chisenhall at first, pitcher Doug Fister threw the ball past his first baseman and down the first base line, where a fan grabbed it. In a fan interference situation, the umpire can determine how far a runner would have gotten, and in this case the umpire said that Chisenhall would only have gone to second had the fan not interfered. Chisenhall went to third on a Juan Uribe groundout, but couldn't score on a Rajai Davis grounder. But Jason Kipnis made sure that the run would score with a two-out single to left.
Yet another jam created and ended by Salazar. Marwin Gonzalez doubled with one out, then Salazar walked LGFT Luis Valbuena. But Salazar then struck out out Carlos Gomez and got a weak ground ball off the bat of Max Stassi.
Mike Napoli skied his 7th home run of the season on the second pitch of the inning. The ball just cleared the high fence in left field.
George Springer got a run back by blasting a home run well over the left field wall. Thankfully there are no extra runs awarded for length of home runs; otherwise, the Astros might have the lead now.
Salazar allows another walk (his sixth) but striking out two more batters (his ninth and tenth). He's well over 100 pitches, and this in all likelihood is his final inning. Francona should be able to lean heavily on the back end of the bullpen today with an off day tomorrow. I'd expect Manship/McAllister to pitch the sixth/seventh innings, and if the Indians are still leading by then, Shaw and Allen to finish things out.
Doug Fister is still going strong, and thanks to a double play kept his pitches to a minimum. He's only thrown 81 pitches through six innings.
Tommy Hunter enters the game instead of Manship (who was warming up in the fifth). Jose Altuve just missed tying the game, hitting a drive off the top of the left field wall. Let's hope the Astros' poor RISP average continues today...nope, Carlos Correa ties the game with a single up the middle. That's the end of the day for Hunter, with Kyle Crockett entering to face Colby Rasmus. Crockett got ahead of Rasmus 0-2, but ended up walking him (the tenth walk of the day by Tribe pitchers). Here comes Zach McAllister, the third reliever of the inning. Marwin Gonzalez bounced a ball right back at McAllister, who nabs it and tosses to first to end the threat. The Astros leave the bases loaded for the third time today, so it's a minor miracle that the Indians are even in this game, much less tied.
Hey, it's another Astros leadoff hit. Luis Valbuena got the hit off Zach McAllister, and Carlos Gomez bunted him over to second. After catcher Max Stassi struck out, Preston Tucker gave the Astros the lead with a single. And now...another pitching change! I mentioned earlier that Terry Francona would lean hard on the bullpen with the off day tomorrow, but this is ridiculous: Bryan Shaw is the fourth reliever to enter the game in the last two innings. Jason Kipnis makes a fine play to end the inning (originally called out, but almost reversed on replay in a matter of second).
Perhaps the Tribe's final scoring opportunity evaporated when Jason Kipnis got ahead in the count 3-0, but then flew out, leaving Jose Ramirez stranded at second base.
The Indians were able to get to closer Luke Gregerson with a run in the ninth. Mike Napoli (double) and Carlos Santana (triple) hit back-to-back extra-base hits to tie the game at three. Marlon Byrd hit a sharp grounder right at Carlos Correa, who bobbled the ball but recovered and threw to first for the second out while keeping Santana at third. [Edit: this turned out to be the decisive play of the game.] Yan Gomes grounded out to end the inning, and now the Indians can send the game to extra innings with a scoreless bottom of the ninth.
Joba Chamberlain takes over for Bryan Shaw. He throws a perfect inning, and we're headed to extra innings.
Yes, let's take the bat out of Jose Ramirez's hands so that Rajai Davis can have a chance at an RBI. As it turned out, Ramirez couldn't get the bunt down and swung away with two strikes...and almost got a base hit out of it. Luis Valbuena made a fine play to nab the sharply-hit ball, and went to second to get the lead runner. Jason Kipnis with two outs got his fourth hit of the day with a single, chasing Ramirez to third. Francisco Lindor grounded out to end the threat, though, and for the Indians to win they'll need to get to the eleventh inning.
Terry Francona goes all-in in the bottom of the tenth, replacing Jeff Manship with Cody Allen with two outs. With Allen in the game, there's only Dan Otero left in the Tribe bullpen. Allen walks the tenth Astro of the day to get to Carlos Correa, which is a very non-optimal outcome. But Allen gets out of it, as Correa flew out to deep right field. We head to the 11th.
With Allen already in the game, I think the Indians need to score here in order to leave town with the series win. After the eleventh inning it's either Dan Otero or perhaps Cody Anderson, who is going to be skipped this time around the rotation. Former Phillie Ken Giles is in to pitch, and Mike Napoli greets him with a single. Carlos Santana is obviously not bunting here, but he doesn't help things by popping out to Valbuena in foul territory. Napoli is stranded at first base after Marlon Byrd strikes out and Yan Gomes flies out.
Allen remains in the game, and issues the team's eleventh (!) walk of the game to Colby Rasmus, who would get to third with the two outs after a bunt and a groundout. The Indians elected to put Carlos Gomez on intentionally (12th walk) to face catcher Erik Kratz, who has just one hit in his first 23 at-bats. Allen struck out Kratz to end yet another Houston threat. For the day Tribe pitchers have walked 12 batters, struck out 14, and stranded 17 Houston runners on base.
LGFT Tony Sipp enters the game to face Lonnie Chisenhall to start the 12th inning. The Astros are still in relatively good shape, as Sipp is just the fifth reliever used by the Astros (while the Indians have used seven). So the longer this game goes on, the more Houston has the advantage, especially with Allen done for the game. Valbuena makes another excellent defensive play to nab Chisenhall. Jose Ramirez and Rajai Davis are retired, and now it's Dan Otero time.
Cody Anderson is now warming up in case he's needed, presumably because as a starter he takes longer to warm than a reliever. George Springer has had a rather interesting game, going 1-for-1 (home run) with four walks. But this time he makes an out, flying out to end the 12th inning.
Cody Anderson makes his first MLB relief appearance, and it goes very well. He retired all three batters, including an inning-ending strikeout. Meanwhile, the Indians draw just their first walk of the game, but fail to score in their half of the inning.
Anderson struck out two of the three batters he faced in his second inning of work. He looks as good now as in any of his previous starts.
Jason Kipnis' bid for his sixth hit of the game was denied by Carlos Correa, who made an outstanding pick on a one-hop shot up the middle. Had that ball gone through, Kipnis would have been the first Indian since Omar Vizquel (in the 22-0 game against the Yankees in 2004) to get six hits in a game.
Anderson is on fire. He retired the Astros again in order, finishing off the inning by getting George Springer to chase a letter-high 96-mph fastball. He's only thrown 36 pitches so far, 24 of them strikes.
Michael Felix is matching Cody Anderson out-for-out. Carlos Santana got a two-out single (hitting the ball where the shortstop usually is), but nothing came of it. Marlon Byrd was ruled safe at first after a review, but Yan Gomes, who is in the midst of a massive slump, struck out to end the threat.
It is over. Anderson missed up in the strike zone to Marwin Gonzalez, who lined it over the right field wall. The Astros left 17 runners on base, but still pulled out the win.
Final: Astros 5-3