A day after being embarrassed at home and surrendering nine runs in yet another in a long line of losses to the Tigers, the Indians got back in the win column with a 9-6 victory over their division rivals from the Motor City.
Looking to stop the bleeding and put an end to a seven game skip against the Tigers, the Tribe sent Corey Kluber to the mound on Sunday afternoon. Much like the Indians as a whole, Kluber was also looking to rebound. After a dominant stretch of starts that saw him endear himself to Indians’ fans, as well as solidify a spot in the rotation, Kluber was coming off of two less than stellar starts. Mission accomplish for the young righty.
Over the course of 6.1 innings of work, Kluber was absolutely magnificent. He allowed only two runs on five hits and three walks. Of course that one run once again came off of the bat of Miguel Cabrera. Why do the Indians keep pitching to this guy? Despite the lone mistake to Cabrera, Kluber was great. He struck out 10 batters and never really allowed the Tiger hitters to get into any sort of groove at the plate.
Unfortunately, Kluber’s efforts would not get him into the win column. Even though the Tribe was able to hang six runs on the board in support of Kluber, they weren’t able to hold onto the lead once he made his way to the clubhouse. Following a scoring barrage in the first, second, and sixth innings and included homer runs by Carlos Santana, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Michael Brantley, the Tigers were able to strike back against the Indians suddenly weary bullpen.
Once again, Torii Hunter proved to be the fly in the proverbial ointment for the Indians. Hunter was able to drive in a run in the top of the seventh and delivered the game tying home run in the top half of the eighth. In between, Cabrera struck again with an RBI single of his own. Needless to say, it was not a good day to be Joe Smith and it REALLY wasn’t a good day to be Vinnie Pestano.
Fortunately for the Indians Michael Brantley was having one of those days that makes you think he is destined for some really great things. Stepping to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning with Nick Swisher aboard, Brantley blasted a homer deep into the right field seats to put the Tribe up 8-6. The home run was Brantley’s second of the day and seventh of the season. Drew Stubbs would later add some insurance with a sacrifice fly to make it a 9-6 game.
Chris Perez came on to close things out in the ninth and did so with relative ease. He allowed one runner to reach base, but allowed no real threat to the Tigers. The save was Perez’s ninth of the season and continued an impressive stretch of pitching since his return from the DL.
The Good: Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley. Kluber pitched great and deserved to get the win. However, given the choice between getting the win and having a spectacular start that may help make his case for remaining in the rotation and I believe he would probably take the latter. As for Brantley, two more home runs, one of which was the game winner, and it’s beginning to look more and more like his inclusion in the C.C. Sabathia trade was a complete steal. The guy s nothing but clutch and I can’t begin to say enough about him.
The Bad: The bullpen faltered yet again. They need to figure out what is going on out there, especially with Pestano if they want to make any kind of legitimate postseason run. The core of Smith/Pestano/Perez has long been one of the best 7th, 8th, and 9th inning combos in baseball and lately it has been anything but. They need to get their acts together and fast.