The Red Sox scored in the bottom of the ninth but stranded the tying and winning runs on base, and the Indians prevailed by a final score of 5-4. Corey Kluber pitched 6.1 innings to earn his sixteenth win, Cody Allen notched his 25th save, and the Tribe finished the first of a four game series with twenty more wins than losses. It didn’t start out very nice, however.
Kluber turned a rough start into a quality start
The Red Sox got to Kluber in the first and second inning. In both innings, they didn’t start doing damage until Kluber already recorded two outs. This went on to be an issue for all Indians pitcher’s on the night, as ten of the Red Sox’ thirteen hits came with two outs. In the early innings they went single-double-single in the first and double-single-single in the second, leading to the 3-0 deficit.
Kluber being Kluber, he remained unfazed. For the next two innings he shut out the Sox and turned what could have been a rout into a quality start. I think we’ll all agree that giving up three runs isn’t dominant. Was he effective? Yes, but not especially effective. I think the word or phrase that we’re looking for tonight is “capably unobjectionable”. Yes. Corey Kluber’s performance tonight was capably unobjectionable. He could have done more to help his team when, but when it mattered he bowed his neck, kept his nose to the grindstone and kept grinding. It gave the offense a chance to shine.
Five unanswered runs to take the lead
Thanks to a home run in the fifth inning by none other than Indians Mega Slugger Melky Cabrera, whom no one on this website ever doubted and may he reign in Valhalla for eternity, the Indians pulled to within two. Other Indians hitters continued to struggle with Porcello’s offerings until the top of the sixth. Lindor hustled out a grounder to earn an infield single. Michael Brantley then stepped up and smashed a curveball over the wall in right to tie the game.
That particular home run felt cathartic. All season long there have been games where it seems like the Indians starter makes one mistake, and it happens to be the ball that goes yard and blows the game open. For Brantley to identify and put a solid swing on one from the other guys tonight to tie the game? Wonderful. It didn’t matter to me that the next three guys got out in order. The game was tied and the Indians were back in the game.
The Tribe took the lead in the top of the seventh courtesy of a Greg Allen home run on a changeup over the middle of the plate. For the third time in the game, Mookie Betts jogged toward the wall, stopped, and watched the ball sail out of reach. It’s a wonderful sight to behold.
Closing it out in
style panicked gasping breaths
Oliver Perez, Adam Cimber, and Brad Hand joined forces to finish the scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Then, Cody Allen marched out to face the top of the Red Sox’ order with a two-run lead. Things quickly got interesting when Betts doubled down the left field line and Allen walked Andrew Benintendi. He settled in and got Mitch Moreland to ground out on a fielder’s choice and induced a weak pop-up to first by J.D. Martinez. For a moment, it appeared that Allen had worked his way all the way out of the jam without allowing a run, but a nubber by Xander Bogaerts trickled up the third base line. Ramirez had no play on the ball, Betts came home to score, and the Indians lead was cut to one.
At this point I started to feel worried; Allen tends to lose effectiveness when he approaches and surpasses 30 pitches. For the good of my heart health, Allen managed to shut down Ian Kinsler with a weak fly ball to center field to end the game.
I can’t wait to see tomorrow night’s game.
Other tidbits worth Tribing
- Greg Allen extended his hitting streak to thirteen games with his go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the 7th.
- After Benintendi’s walk in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox’ win probability shot up to almost 35%. It started the inning at 10%.
- Yan Gomes nabbed Brock Holt trying to take second base, and has now gunned down 15 baserunners on the season. It isn’t quite the elite rate that we’re used to, but he showed why runners should still, generally speaking, feel wary about attempting to pilfer a base on his watchguard duty.
Tomorrow night, same time, same place.