Aaron Laffey (6-3) continued to impress at Progressive Field as the Indians blanked the Rangers 5-0. “Aaron set the tone. He was consistent from inning to inning, aggressive and efficient.” Those words from Eric Wedge certainly describe Cleveland’s win over Texas on Tuesday evening.
Laffey lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up only six hits and three walks. He pitched himself into a first inning jam, but induced an inning-ending double play grounder off the bat of Josh Hamilton. Laffey also struck out two hitters on the night.
All of the five runs for the Indians came in a disastrous third inning for Texas pitcher Dustin Nippert (3-1). Nippert recorded three consecutive wins in July before suffering his first loss of the year last night.
The Indians batted around in the 3rd, and cracked the scoreboard first when Jhonny Peralta was walked, bringing in Grady Sizemore. Travis Hafner then hit a bloop single to right-center scoring Asdrubal Cabrera, but kept the sacks full. Luis Valbuena then doubled to the right field wall, scoring Shin-Soo Choo and Peralta. Trevor Crowe recorded the last RBI of the inning with a sac-fly to center bringing in Hafner.
Nippert settled down to throw three consecutive scoreless innings, including a 4th inning in which he struck out the side on 14 pitches. Nippert ended the night with 10 strikeouts. However, the five runs were more than enough for Laffey, who managed to keep the ball down in the zone the entire night.
Joe Smith and Tony Sipp finished off Texas by allowing only one hit over the final 2 1/3 innings. Sipp struck out three of the four hitters he faced.
The resurgent and rejuvenated Indians are now 49-63 on the year, while Texas is 62-49 and five full games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Texas is also one and a half games behind Boston for the Wild Card lead.