Indians improve to 33-26
Between following the draft and my funky work schedule, I wasn't able to actually settle in and start focusing on the game tonight until about the fourth inning or so. When I finally did, the Mariners were already up 1-0 thanks to a Robinson Cano home run in the bottom of the first. Tomlin hung a pitch over the heart of the plate, slightly elevated, and Cano absolutely demolished it just slightly to the right of center field. Cano would truly terrorize the Indians all night, going 3-for-5 with two home runs and a double. Luckily for the Tribe, both home runs came when no one was on base, so the damaged was minimized.
When Tomlin is pitching, you can expect two things: a dearth of walks and an excess of home runs. Through 6.1 innings tonight, Tomlin walked no one (while striking out 4) and gave up two home runs. Home runs are never great, but any day your starter can give you 6+ innings of 2 run ball, it's a good day. Tomlin would dance in and out of trouble all night, but he never allowed the game-breaking hit that would put the game out of reach.
Tonight's game seemed to drag on forever, and that was mainly in part to the 19 runners that were left on base between both teams. Cleveland, leaving 10 men on, had opportunities in multiple innings to break the game open, but the offense couldn't come through until later in the game. The Tribe left the bases loaded in the second, they ran themselves out of the inning in the fifth, and left runners at the corners in the seventh. The fifth inning ,in particular, looked to be a big inning, but it was cut short when Lindor ran on contact from second on a Jose Ramirez single to shallow RF. Lindor was gunning for home, but Nelson Cruz made a perfect throw to the plate and beat Lindor by a good ten steps, which resulted in the friendly embrace in the photo at the top of this review.
After Mike Napoli gave the Tribe the lead in the top of the seventh with his team-leading 43rd RBI, Tomlin immediately relinquished the lead on the first pitch in the bottom half of the inning when Lind launched a home run to the bleachers in right center. Tomlin would only face two more batters before handing over the reigns to the bullpen, and the bullpen made sure to keep the game interesting for the rest of the night (Dan Otero excluded).
In the top of the eighth, Tyler "Screw you, BABIP" Naquin decided to show off his golf swing to all of the folks at Safeco field as he golfed a pitch over the wall in right field. If you don't believe me when I say that this pitch had no business being hit with any kind of authority, take a look at the pitch map:
I applaud the result, but unless Naquin can golf home runs on a regular basis, I hope that he doesn't continue to swing at these pitches. For good measure, Jason Kipnis tacked on an extra run later in the inning to bring the score to 5-2.
Because baseball isn't supposed to be easy, the duo of Shaw & Allen had Tribe fans on the edge of their seats in the final two innings as the Mariners threatened to get back into the game. The eighth inning started out alright with a Seth Smith groundout, but things immediately went downhill when Cano notched his second home run of the night to bring Seattle to within two. Shaw couldn't make it out of the inning, as he left with runners on first and second and two down. Cody Allen got Ketel Marte to ground out, and it looked like Allen would be called on for another four-out save.
The ninth inning was a roller coaster of an adventure. With two outs, Nori Aoki (whom I despise) singled to center field to bring the tying run to the plate. Seth Smith followed suit and got a single to center of his own, which brought the winning run, represented by Robinson Cano, to the plate. Thankfully, Allen was able to buckle down and got Cano to strike out on a beautiful curveball in the dirt. But, the inning was almost extended as the final pitch got away from Chris Gimenez, forcing him to make a throw to first. Had it not been for a perfect throw from Gimenez and a delayed reaction from Cano, the Mariners would have made it 5-4 with the tying run in scoring position. But, thankfully, the throw was on the mark and the ballgame ended with the Tribe on top.
Tomorrow, the Indians come south into my neck of the woods and start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. Corey Kluber takes the mound for the Tribe, and LHP Hector Santiago will pitch for the Angels. I decided to splurge and purchased a ticket for myself directly behind home plate, which means I'll get a fantastic view of just how nasty Kluber can be.