Indians improve to 26-21
Look at it. Isn't it beautiful?
With the Royals coming back from a 7-1 defecit in the 9th to beat the White Sox 8-7 and the Indians victory today, the Cleveland Indians sit alone at the top of the AL Central! Now as long as we win out for the rest of the season, we're guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
After last night's game, the Indians needed to focus on keeping the power bats in the Orioles lineup in check while also getting some offensive production of their own. Thankfully, the Tribe was able to do both as Danny Salazar threw 6 solid innings and the bats came alive for 11 runs.
The pitching matchup today, Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Danny Salazar, heavily favored the Indians, and this was apparent from the very first inning. Salazar got through the first inning with relative ease, needing only 3 pitches for the first two outs and getting Davis to strikeout looking after walking Manny Machado. It would be a while before Salazar made it back onto the field, however, as Ubaldo struggled all throughout the first inning. By the end of the first inning, Ubaldo had thrown 35 pitches, allowed 2 walks, 3 hits, 3 steals, and 4 runs. Orioles manager Buck Showalter knew that Ubaldo wasn't going to last long and he had a man warming before the inning ended. Ubaldo wouldn't make it out of the second inning as he lasted only 1.2 innings total and left the Orioles in a 5-0 deficit. Credit has to be given to Vance Worley, who came in to relieve Ubaldo. Worley went 4.1 innings and allowed only 1 run. The Orioles are in a similar situation as the Indians in that they have a bunch of games in a row with no days off, so it was important that their bullpen remain intact.
For Danny Salazar, things were much different. He bounced back after his rough outing against Boston to give the Tribe 6 solid innings in which he only allowed 2 runs, none of which came via the home run. Things seemed ominous from the beginning of the game, however; while Salazar wasn't allowing too many base runners or allowing a ton of runs, a good amount of his pitches were finding the middle of the plate and turning into long, loud outs.
The first sign of real trouble came in the fifth inning when Salazar gave up a single, a ground rule double, and a walk to load the bases with nobody out for the top of the Orioles' lineup. Baltimore would get on the board with a sac fly from Jones, but Salazar buckled down and induced a line out from Hyun Soo Kim and struck out Manny Machado to end the inning. The Machado at-bat was a battle that ended with Salazar striking him out on a fantastic changeup. Both players knew that it was a good pitch, and Machado couldn't do anything except laugh and tip his helmet to Danny Salazar. Salazar would allow just one more run in the next inning on back to back doubles from Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters. But, when Salazar finished the sixth inning, the Tribe held a commanding 8-2 lead over the Orioles and were primed to take game 2.
On the offensive side of things, the Tribe bats came to life in a big way. With the exception of Jason Kipnis, every starter had at least 1 hit on the day, with 4 starters (Santana, Uribe, Gomes, and Chisenhall) having multiple hits. One of the most encouraging things about today's game was Gomes racking up 2 hits and getting 3 RBIs; hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.
Tidbits from today's game:
- The Orioles are known for their power, yet they didn't hit any home runs today. They did, however, have six doubles.
- Uribe may be heating up. With today's game, Uribe has an RBI in his last 5 games.
- In the fifth inning, Michael Martinez came on to pinch hit for Lonnie Chisenhall, who had been removed from the game. Reports said that Lonnie was removed after getting an elbow in the face on a slide into second base and reported having blurred vision.
- On the season, the Orioles have eight stolen bases. Today, the Cleveland Indians had five.
- Zach McAllister, who many wanted sent back to Lake County after his performance last night, came back with a very dominating outing in the eighth when he got 2 strikeouts with an elevated fastball (location, location, location)
Tomorrow, the Tribe looks to take the series as Mike Clevinger gets his third major league start against the Orioles and Chris Tillman. Game starts at 1:10 PM ET, so clear your schedule and watch as the Cleveland Indians fight to maintain their lead in the AL Central!