What a night for the Cleveland Indians. A mere 24 hours after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Indians turned the tables on the Royals by battling back from a two run deficit, twice, and securing a 4-3 victory despite some late inning drama. The win, their fifth in the past seven games, pushed the Indians record to 35-35 and back to within 4.5 games of the Tigers for first in the division.
Ubaldo Jimenez turned in yet another quality pitching performance. He threw 5.2 innings and allows only 2 runs to cross the plate on 2 hits and 4 walks. Jimenez also struck out 4 Royals along with way. However, his day was cut short thanks in part to an absurd number of pitches thrown. When Jimenez was removed with two outs in the 6th, he had thrown 114 pitches total. That’s quite the workload for only 5.2 innings of work. Compare that to Carlos Carrasco who made it well into the 8th inning on Monday while only throwing 90 pitches.
The Royals got the scoring going last night in the top of the third inning. Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar scored the game’s first run on an RBI ground out by Eric Hosmer. Alex Gordon made it a 2-0 game when Jimenez uncorked yet another wild pitch for the Indians. Gordon was able to race home for the game’s second run. Luckily, Jimenez was able to limit the damage to only those two runs.
The Indians got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Mike Aviles‘ RBI single scored Drew Stubbs and cut the Tribe’s deficit to 2-1. Unfortunately, that’s all they would be able to get for the time being, a shame seeing as how the Royals put another run on the board in the top of the eighth when Salvador Perez singled home Eric Hosmer. The Indians we’re ready to go away, though.
In the bottom of the eighth the Indians pieced together a three-run rally that would give them the lead for the first time in the game. Ryan Raburn walked to lead things off and advanced to second on Drew Stubbs’ ground out back to the pitcher. Michael Bourn then followed with a single to score Raburn cutting the Royals lead to 3-2. Mike Aviles then singled and Jason Kipnis delivered a slap doubled down the line in left. Borun scored on the play and things were officially tied up at 3-3. Two batters later, after an intentional walk to Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley delivered the game winning run when he a short fly ball to right. Aviles scored as David Lough‘s throw was up the line.
In the top of the ninth, Vinnie Pestano came into the game and he tried his best to make things as interesting as possible. Lough and Mike Moustakas singled to lead things off. After a Chris Getz strikeout, chaos ensued. Alcides Escobar singled, but Lough did not score on the play. As a result, Moustakas, who had kept going, arrived at third along with Lough and was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Alex Gordon walked to extend the inning and the drama, but Eric Hosmer followed with a game ending ground out.
The Good: Ubaldo Jimenez had another quality outing. He didn’t get the win, but he did put the Indians in a good position to be able to win the game in the end. You can’t ask for much more than that, especially with a pitcher with a reputation for imploding on the mound like Jimenez. Can’t begin to emphasize how encouraging his performances of late have been. Well done, Ubaldo. Well done, indeed.
The Bad: Vinnie Pestano is having a rough go of this closer thing. He hasn’t been the lights out ninth inning option that a lot of people felt he would be. Whether it’s a result of a lingering issue with his throwing arm or just a simple case of broken confidence, the Indians need to figure it out and work on rectifying the problem ASAP.
The Huh?: After the game, Tom Hamilton asked Jason Kipnis what he thought of the ninth inning dramatics and whether or not he was nervous that the game would get away from them. Kipnis responded by taking what appeared to be a friendly jab at Chris Perez and his ability to walk a tightrope in the ninth inning. Here’s hoping it was a joke and better yet, here’s hoping Perez she’s it as a joke as well.