Ubaldo Jimenez turned in one of his worst outings of the year Tuesday night as the Angels beat the Indians 9-6 to even the series at one win apiece. The loss drops the Indians to 54-63, 10 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central and 9.5 games in back of the Wild Card-leading Rays and Orioles.
It didn’t take long for Los Angeles to get to Jimenez. After Zack Grienke retired the Indians on five pitches in the top of the first, Mike Trout led off the bottom of the inning with a double before scoring on Torii Hunter‘s RBI single. Albert Pujols walked to set up back-to-back RBI singles from Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo as Jimenez gave up three runs before recording a single out; a two-out bases-loaded single from Chris Iannetta capped the rally and put the Angels ahead, 4-0.
The Indians finally got on the board in the top of the fourth as Carlos Santana got hit by a pitch and Michael Brantley connected for a two-run homer, but the momentum wouldn’t last. Erick Aybar took Jimenez deep with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the frame, and Pujols followed it up with a three-run blast later in the inning. Pujols struck again with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth as the Halos jumped out to a 9-2 lead.
Cleveland was able to make up some of that ground in the late innings. Base hits from Brantley, Jason Donald, and Jack Hannahan loaded the bases to set up Ezequiel Carrera‘s RBI single and Jason Kipnis‘ run-scoring groundout in the top of the seventh, and Casey Kotchman took LaTroy Hawkins yard for a two-run homer in the eighth. But it was too little too late for the Tribe as the Angels held on for a 9-6 win.
The Good: ’Twas a solid showing for the offense as they scored six runs for the second game in a row against Zack Greinke, one of the best pitchers in baseball. Michael Brantley led the way, going 3-for-4 with a home run, while Casey Kotchman went 2-for-4 with a homer of his own. Jason Donald (2-for-4) and Jack Hannahan (1-for-3 with a walk) also reached base multiple times.
Meanwhile, Frank Herrmann quietly pitched 1.2 scoreless frames in mop-up duty to keep the Tribe in the game. It didn’t end up meaning much, but it’s nice to see a good outing from a reliever not named Perez, Smith, or Pestano.
The Bad: Ubaldo Jimenez looked like he might have turned the corner in his last outing, but he got pummeled for eight runs (all earned) on eight hits in just four innings Tuesday night. He got four strikeouts, but he also walked two, hit a batter, and allowed two home runs (both in the same inning). Yikes.
The “Huh?”: Casey Kotchman hit sixth in the order for Cleveland Tuesday night. I mention this here not necessarily because it was the wrong move, but because it’s mind-boggling that, in the Tribe’s current lineup, a player who entered the game with a .634 OPS might actually have been the best choice for that middle-of-the-order spot.
Interesting Tidbit: This was the second time this season that Ubaldo Jimenez had given up eight runs in an outing. The previous occasion: July 14 in Toronto—exactly a month before Tuesday’s game.