These one run ball games are sort of becoming a thing for the Cleveland Indians. After defeating the Royals on Tuesday night 6-5, the Tribe improved their record in one runs games to an MLB best 18-8. Whatever the reason, the Indians just seem to flourish when the stakes are highest.
Early on Tuesday night, things didn’t look like they were going to be that close. But, as we like to say around here at Wahoo’s on First, “Baseball can be weird.”
The Indians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning thanks to two relatively uneventful plays. With the bases loaded, Carlos Santana earned a walk to score Michael Brantley. Mark Reynolds followed one batter later with a bases loaded hit by pitch. Like I said, these weren’t exactly the most entertaining of plays, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
The Indians added two more runs in the top of the fourth thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera. With the bases loaded yet again, Cabrera singled to score both Jason Giambi and Lonnie Chisenhall. The two RBI from Cabrera put the Tribe up by a 4-0 count and with COrey Kluber cruising yet again, it didn’t look as if the Indians would fall into a dog fight before this game was all said and done.
Speaking of Kluber, he was good, but not great. In 5.1 innings of work, Kluber allowed four runs, all of which came on a grand slam from Alez Gordon with a 3-0 count. It was about as bad of a pitch that could be thrown in that situation and Gordon made him pay. The slam tied things up at 4-4. Meanwhile Kluber would finish out the innging and get the first out of the sixth before Terry Francona was forced to go take the ball. His final line on the night – 4 runs on 4 hits, and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.
The Indians would rebound, however. In the seventh inning, the Indians struck twice to take the lead and also provide themselves with some ever valuable insurance. After loading the bases on three consecutive walks to lead off the inning, the Tribe struck when Carlos Santana hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Cabrera. Following a strikeout by Mark Reynolds, veteran slugger Jason Giambi came through with a huge one run double into right field to push the score to 6-4.
The Royals put up a valiant effort, but it just wasn’t enough. The trio of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez combined to limit the Royals to just one run over the final three innings. They were able to get to Pestano a bit as he surrendered Royal run number 5 on a Billy Butler double to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning. Perez walked the tightrope to his eighth save of the season and when the dust settled the Indians were 6-5 victors.
The Good: Another one run victory. It’s amazing how well the Indians have played in one run games and they kept it up again on Tuesday. Gotta love it. Also, Nick Swisher was 3 for 4 on the night. Whatever issues he may have been having thanks largely to that sore shoulder may be a thing of the past. Swisher is on fire right now and beginning to push his numbers back towards his career norms.
The Bad: The grand slam Corey Kluber gave up to Alex Gordon was pretty bad. Kluber had to do a better job of limiting the damage and not allowing the big hit. Of course, you can argue that the home run allowed Kluber to reset himself and killed the rally, which makes sense because home runs are rally killers. Kluber ended the inning immediately after allowing the home run to Gordon.