With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate down by one. Joe Smith delivered a fastball that Cabrera turned on, but it found the glove of Francisco Lindor to end the game.
In other years — years when Miguel Cabrera vaporized baseballs in every at-bat against the Tribe — this game and recap would feel much different. Instead, the Indians defeated the Tigers 3-2 in the first game of today’s doubleheader.
While the score remained low throughout the afternoon, it isn’t fair to categorize today’s game as a pitcher’s duel. Both teams tallied more than ten hits, with five total going for extra bases. That seventeen runners ended innings stranded on the basepaths in the game should give you a good sense of how it felt to watch this game. Both teams had plenty of opportunities to blow it wide open. Neither did, and the Indians happened to have the lead when an arbitrary but traditional number of innings passed.
While not dominant, Carlos Carrasco stymied the Tigers throughout the afternoon. His signature slider dropped through a trapdoor in front of home plate and lead to eight strikeouts. In seven innings of work, he allowed a single run on six hits and issued no walks.
Early scoring from the Indians today came courtesy of Giovanny Urshela and Edwin Encarnacion. Urshela singled home Brandon Guyer in the 5th inning to take a 1-0 lead. The inning continued when lindor walked, but Austin Jackson struck out and Jose Ramirez flied out to end the threat.
The Tigers tied it up with a Jose Iglesias double in the bottom half of the frame, but it didn’t last long. Encarnacion lead off the 6th with home run number 32 into the left field seats, punctuating with a subtle flip of the bat.
With the game in the hands of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen after the 7th, things got a bit interesting. Shaw pitched an excellent 8th in my opinion. Both outs he recorded came on a strikeout; both hits he allowed came on cutters, low, right over the black and still darting off. They were both poked to no-man’s-land in right field, and Francona reached for Allen with runners on the corners and two out in the 8th. Allen, too, threw an excellent curveball that induced a weak ground ball from Mikie Mahtook. As it turned out, a bit too weak. Lindor charged the ball; even if fielded cleanly, it would have resulted in an infield RBI single. Allen escaped further damage with a flyout to center.
In the 9th, Jay Bruce pinch hit for Giovanny Urshela and promptly hit his first triple of the season. A Lindor liner scored him on the next play, putting the Indians on top for good 3-2. As mentioned, this didn’t come easily. Allen loaded the bases on three singles in the bottom of the 9th. Thank goodness for Joe Smith and his Cabrera-baffling delivery.
The Indians, now winners of eight consecutive games, take on the Tigers again tonight at 7:00pm.
Last note: There is another family of the Mini 2017 Indians:
It’s worth pointing out that Cody Allen earned both a win and a blown save for his performance today. Baseball is stupid.