Well, they did it. It felt like the smallest margin of victory in the history of all three-run wins, but they pulled it out.
With today’s win the Indians gained one game in the race for the Central Division title. They sit 5.5 games back, and at least one game back in the wildcard race pending the results of the Oakland-Detroit game.
In the usual and typical fashion, it wasn’t necessarily “fun” today.
In the top of the second inning, Yasiel Puig opened things up with a walk. Jason Kipnis doubled, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Franmil Reyes singled them both home, then advanced to third when Greg Allen singled. Unfortunately, Allen got thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Kevin Plawecki and Yu Chang failed to get Reyes in from third, but still — the Tribe owned a two-run lead. Carlos Santana extended that by one with a solo shot in the third, and Lindor added more insurance in the fifth with a solo bomb of his own.
Relative Dominance by Mike Clevinger
With today’s win, Clevinger is now 10-0 in his last 13 starts. Pitcher wins don’t always mean something, but an impressive streak like that is an indication of a pitcher being absolutely locked in.
Sunshine didn’t pitcher perfectly this afternoon, but he continued to control opponents and gave the Indians a quality start. His one major mistake was leaving a 2-1 fastball over the middle of the plate to Mitch Garver, who is now god and nothing anyone does is going to change that. After the solo shot, he managed to pitch is way into the seventh. After allowing a single and a double to put two into scoring position, he was lifted for Nick Wittgren.
Lamonte Wade Jr. stepped to the plate and blasted a clutch ground ball to second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kip made a phenomenal diving stop, then completely lost the ball when he tried to transfer for the throw. Even if he’d made the transfer, the run would have scored (thus dinging Clev’s ERA).
Just to make things even more interesting, Wittgren went ahead and walk Jonathan Schoop on five pitches. Bases loaded, one out. Wittgren battled back and struck out the next to hitters to escape the inning with minimal damage.
Another episode of Ninth Inning Adventures with Brad Hand
Hand worked a 2-2 count to Luis Arraez before a middle-middle fastball got launched to deep left field. Greg Allen got himself turned around but still tracked it down, sliding on the warning track to stop his momentum. One away.
Against Ehire Adrianza, Hand reached back and fired a middle-middle fastball on a 2-1 count. This one was also lifted to left, though it was a much more routine play for Allen. Two away.
Wade Jr. stepped back up and got hit in the back by a slider. That gave him, I believe, his first hit and his first HBP all in the same day. Fun.
Hand promptly walked Jonathan Schoop on four straight fastballs (at least one debatably close) to send the tying run to the plate. It took a full count, a foul ball, and one last fastball, but this time Hand painted the black to catch LaMarre looking and escape with the save.
A trip out west. The Indians send Shane Bieber to the mound against Patrick Sandoval and the Angels for a 10:07 p.m. EDT start time. I’ll be up until the wee hours with y’all.