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Cleveland Indians find a way to win without bunting

Somehow they manage.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Indians 6, White Sox 1

Box Score

Indians improve to 84-61


The Cleveland Indians, despite not being able to bunt their way out of a wet paper 0-0 tie, still managed to win a baseball game. You would not think that was possible if you were listening to the STO broadcast, given how much Matt Underwood and Rick Manning were lamenting the lack of bunting prowess, but a three-run home run from Coco Crisp and a whole lot of hits helped ease the pain.

Bunting was a heavily discussed topic tonight because the Indians had runners on base and it’s apparently fun to waste outs. Chris Gimenez failed to bunt and ended up walking in the third inning — the horror. Underwood and Manning were absolutely mystified at the fact that Rajai Davis did not bunt in his at-bat, with runners on first and second and no outs. They eventually came to the conclusion that maybe he wasn’t bunting because bunting is stupid because Rajai was 5-10 on the year against Carlos Rodon. Sigh.

An inning later, Mike Napoli walked and Undermanning were absolutely convinced that Carlos Santana should have bunted instead of just being patient and not wasting one of the team’s 27 allotted outs to move a player into a position where there is no guarantee they will actually score. He, too, drew a walk and ended up coming around to score when Jose Ramirez tripled in the next at-bat.

Enough complaining about bunting. Too much about this game went right to be too bitter about announcers, who are quite good at their jobs, just talking to fill dead air. I certainly could not do it for three hours a night over 162 games.

For one, Jose Ramirez continues to absolutely be the king of clutch. I don’t care if clutch is not necessarily measurable with fewer than a season’s worth of at-bats — I want Ramirez up to bat when the Indians have runners in scoring position every single time. He came through again tonight with that fourth-inning triple, just his third triple of the year, and scored when Brandon Guyer singled in the following at-bat.

Crisp’s 380-foot blast, his 12th of the season and first as a member of the Indians, came at a crucial point in the sixth inning, as demonstrated in the Game Chart, where you actually see the soul leave the White Sox’s body.

Ramirez and Guyer led off the inning with singles, then Crisp got them all home.

Josh Tomlin has had a well-document fall from grace over the last couple months, but he was fantastic tonight. He finished the game after five innings but allowed just one run off of four hits. More importantly, not a single one of his pitches left the yard for a home run. This was Tomlin’s first start since June 4 that he has not allowed a homer.

The Indians offense trailed off considerably after their big sixth inning, but luckily, so did the White Sox. As a team, the Indians outhit their opponents, 5-10. Tomlin, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, Dan Otero, and Cody Allen combined for four strikeouts and not a single walk issued.

And it's a good thing the Indians won, too, because the Minnesota Twins — being the Twins — blew a 5-2 lead and wound up losing, 9-6, to the Detroit Tigers. The Tribe victory means Detroit is still stuck at six games back with the magic number now at 12.