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Cleveland sidesteps sweep with eighth-inning rally

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The 3-2 win also bumped Tampa from the top spot in the AL East

Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Finally free from Ryan Yarbrough, Cleveland pushed runners to second and first with Harold Ramirez at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. He took a pitch with the fielders up to guard against a bunt. When they dropped back, he showed bunt and took another ball. Then, with two strikes, he shot a liner into right field. Cesar Hernandez scored easily from second and Amed Rosario settled into third.

Runners covered the corners for Bobby Bradley when he lifted a ball to center field. Though Kevin Kiermaier cradled and fired it back to home, he could not prevent the go-ahead run from tagging up to score.

That, dear reader, is how Cleveland took a decisive 3-2 lead in today’s ballgame.

While they failed to add insurance they didn’t need it. Bryan Shaw, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase pitched the final three innings without a blemish.

This rescued Triston McKenzie from the indignity of an unearned loss. The young starter allowed two runs on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He also learned a valuable lesson when Nelson Cruz blasted a home run in the sixth: very few people should try to get Nelson Cruz out a third time.

To McKenzie’s credit, he settled back in and retired the next three hitters. We may officially designate this start as one of “quality”.

While most of the action occurred in the eighth, Cesar Hernandez also led off the game with his 17th dinger of the year. Cleveland has never been shutout by an opponent when leading off the game with a home run. (boos, etc)

Corner Pieces

  • Yandy Díaz crushed a ball to deep center field in the top of the fourth inning. It would sail over most outfielder’s heads, but Bradley Zimmer ranged back and made an extraordinary over-the-shoulder catch.
  • Our old friend Yandy suffered further insult when Oscar Mercado dove on a dying liner to steal a hit away. Mercado also singled and stole second base. He did not strike out.
  • Coming into today’s game Amed Rosario owned a .232/.238/.293 slash line for the month of July. He singled twice and reached after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. Was he also the go-ahead run? Yes. Not a bad slump-breaker, perhaps?
  • Emmanuel Clase earned another save and owns a sub-2.00 ERA despite recent reports of his obsolescence.

Wait, What?

James Karinchak is 7-2?

What’s next?

Cleveland faces the Cardinals on Tuesday. No word yet on whether or not Terry Francona will rejoin the team for the series. He missed today’s game with a head cold.