How ’bout them Indians!
The Tribe clawed their way back from a 3-2 deficit in the top of the ninth to pull even with the Tigers for first place in the AL Central and put themselves five games over .500 for the season. It’s the new, official high water mark for the season and with the way the team is playing right now, it looks as if things are only going to get better.
Zach McAllister pitched 6 effective innings. He allowed 3 runs, only 2 of which were earned, and struck out 5 while walking three. Despite his effectiveness it was a slightly off day by McAllister’s typical standards. That said, he pitched well enough to keep the Tribe in the game and put them in a position to come back and win in the later innings. You couldn’t ask for much more than that.
The Tigers got things going first in the scoring department yesterday afternoon. In the bottom of the second inning, catcher Brayan Pena homered to right. The two-run shot, which scored Jhonny Peralta, put the Tigers up by a score of 2-0. However, the Indians would quickly respond. In the top half of the third, Following singles from Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis delivered with a two run double down the line in left to even things at two apiece.
The Tigers added their third run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Peralta led things off when he reached second base on a throwing error by Lonnie Chisenhall. He then reached third after Pena singled to second base and then scored thanks to a sacrifice fly by Omar Infante.
Things would stay the same until the top of the ninth. Facing Detroit closer Jose Valverde, Michael Bourn walked to lead off the inning and then immediately stole second base to get into scoring position. With two outs, Michael Brantley stepped up to the plate and slapped a single to left. Bourn, turned on the after burners and whipped around third. Andy Dirks tried in vain to make it a close play at home, but it was all for naught. The Tribe had tied the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Andy Dirks led off with a single to left. Asdrubal Cabrera then turned in a play that may have saved the game for the Tribe. Torii Hunter hit a sharp ground ball back to Joe Smith. Smith then turned and fired wide to second. Somehow, someway, Cabrera was able to snag the arrant throw, tag the base, spin, leap in the air, and throw to first all in one motion to end the threat. Miguel Cabrera then flied out to right to send the game to extras.
In the top of the tenth, the Indians took the lead for good thanks to Mark Reynolds. With runners on first and second and two out, Reynold smacked a grounder through the hole on the left side between third and short, just out of the reach of a diving Miguel Cabrera. Santana was able to score easily on the play to give the Tribe the 4-3 lead. Rich Hill and Cody Allen would then combine to shut the door on the Tigers in the ninth.
The Good: This might sound weird, but the good from this game was the vibe it gave off. First of all, it never felt like the Indians were going to lose. Even when they fell behind and were down to their final out in the ninth, it felt like it was going to go their way. Second, this team suddenly feels like a contender. It’s like something clicked and this is the team we thought we were going to see from day one.
The Bad: Lonnie Chisenhall. Not only was he 0 for 3 at the plate, but he also had a costly error that almost cost the Tribe the game. He;s supposed to be the third baseman of the future, but as more time passes it seems more and more like Chisenhall is Matt LaPorta version 2.0. We know he can hit at the minor league level. It’s time to start hitting at the big league level.
The “Huh?”: I’ve seen the replay of Asdrubal Cabrera‘s double play turn at least a half dozen times and I still don’t understand how he pulled that off. It was amazing. You can see the play below.