With the all-star break within their sights, the Indians had one more obstacle to attend to – a Sunday matinée against the Kansas City Royals. Having taken the first two games of the series, the Tribe was looking to sweep the Royals out of town and go into the break riding a four game winning streak and six out of their last ten. Mission accomplished as the Indians defeated the Royals in a back and forth game, 6-4.
Sunday’s victory did not come easy. Each time the Indians scored, the Royals would come storming back against starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Unlike the majority of his previous starts since June 1, Jimenez struggled on Sunday with his command and ability to work through innings unscathed. In the end, his stat line read more like the Jimenez of from earlier this season, four runs surrendered on eight hits and two walk while only striking out two.
The Indians got the scoring started on Sunday afternoon. In the bottom of the first, Jason Kipnis put the Tribe up 1-0 when he hit a sacrifice fly to left. Michael Bourn scored on the play. It wouldn’t last long.
In the top of the second the Royals came roaring back. Alcides Escobar tied things up when he hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Lorenzo Cain. Cain had reached base when he hustled out a grounder to shortstop Mike Aviles. The Royals then took the lead when Alex Gordon singled to right to plate David Lough. Much like the Indians, their lead would also be short-lived.
In the bottom of the third, the Indians took back the lead against James Shields. With Kipnis on second, Michael Brantley sent a single to right. Kipnis scored, tying the game up at two apiece. One batter later, Carlos Santana double to right and brought Brantley around to score. WIth the RBI double, the Indians took a 3-2 lead. Once again, it would be short lived.
In the top of the fourth, Cain and Lough came around to score yet again. This time they scored when Johnny Giavotella grounded out to short and Alicides Escobar Singled to center. The runs put the Royals up 4-3 with Shields looking to secure a rare win. When he left the game at the start of the sixth he was in line for the victory if the Royals bullpen could come through. Unfortunately for Shields, they came up short.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lonnie Chisenhall led things off with a rare walk followed by a single for Drew Stubbs. Bourn bunted to put both runners into scoring position, a move that was hotly debated in the Wahoo’s on First email chain, and Asdrubal Cabrera brought them home with a double to right center. Kipnis followed with a single. By the time the inning was all said and done, the Indians were back up on top by a score of 6-4.
From that point forward, the Indians bullpen kept the Royals offense at bay. Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith and Chris Perez followed Jimenez, C.C. Lee, and Rich Hill with three scoreless innings of relief. Tried as they might, the Royals just couldn’t get any type of rally together. Chris Perez earned his 13th save of the season and the Indians earned their fourth win in a row. Coupled with a victory by the Tigers, the Indians remain 1.5 games back as they head into the all-star break.
The Indians will now have four days off before taking on the Minnesota Twins Friday at Target Field.
The Good: The sweep. The Indians took care of business on Sunday and beat up on a lesser opponent to earn the sweep and head into the break on a high note. They will now have four days off to regroup and get rested up. Once the break is over, they will have to go at it hard in order to catch the Tigers and take control of the AL Central.
The Bad: Ubaldo Jimenez wasn’t very good on Sunday. He surrendered two leads and only managed to make it through four innings of work. Not exactly what we had all hoped for. Fortunately, the Indians have an opportunity to get some rest. The extra innings of work forced on the bullpen should have zero negative impact on them.
The “Huh?”: One of the fans at yesterday’s game caught four foul balls. The odds of that happening are so astronomically high and yet, it found a way to happen. Baseball is funny like that sometimes.