Shane Bieber rebounded from his worst outing of the season and the Cleveland Indians erased a two-run deficit in the seventh to tie the game, but it was ultimately the Houston Astros who prevailed in extra innings, 4-3, thanks to a Tony Kemp walk-off home run.
Bieber, who couldn’t even make it out of the third inning last week in a miserable start against the Braves, was solid against the Astros. His biggest mistake of the afternoon wasn’t much of a mistake at all. Carlos Correa did what good hitters do, making a good swing on an inside fastball that barely straddled the strike zone and depositing it into the left field bleachers for a two-home run. Bieber did allow an uncharacteristic amount of free passes, walking four batters. But three hits, three runs, and nine strikeouts over six innings is not bad.
It was Adam Cimber who ended up surrendering the lead for good, allowing a home run to the first batter he faced in the bottom of the tenth inning.
For much of the afternoon, Carlos Gonzalez seemed to be the only member of the lineup who could do much of anything against Brad Peacock, recording two singles. Peacock had arguably his best outing of this young season, allowing four hits, one walk, and one run over six innings. The right-hander also tied a season high with seven strikeouts. Peacock relied largely on his four-seam fastball and slider, the latter of which the Tribe spent most of the afternoon watching. Ten of his 31 sliders were called strikes, and Indians hitters were only able to put two of them in play.
The Tribe finally showed signs of life at the plate in the seventh inning, once Peacock had been lifted for Will Harris. With runners at second and third and one out, Francisco Lindor pinch hit for Kevin Plawecki. He skied a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Jake Bauers from third and cutting the Astros’ lead to 3-2. Mike Freeman, a strikeout victim in both of his previous at-bats, came up with a clutch, game-tying, two-out RBI single down the first base line to score Tyler Naquin from second. And I was fully expecting a third strikeout from Freeman, if I’m being honest.
Unfortunately, that was all the Tribe could muster at the plate. They were held scoreless by the Astros’ bullpen for the final three innings, setting the stage for Tony Kemp to be the hero.
Michael Brantley was 0-for-4, snapping a 12-game hitting streak. That’s a shame.