Things looked bleak Sunday afternoon. After losing their previous six games, the Indians were on the verge of going 0-7 on their most recent home stand as they fell behind early 5-0. Looking to not make it seven in a row in a bad way, the Indians battled back to edge out the Angles by a final score of 6-5.
Justin Masterson took the mound on Sunday looking to stop the bleeding. As the ace of the staff, it is typically his job to put the team on his broad shoulders and carry them at times like these. Unfortunately, Sunday would not be one of Masterson’s finer moments. He last only 4.1 innings and allowed five runs (only 4 were earned) on seven hits and four walks. For whatever reason, he just didn’t have “it” on Sunday and it showed almost from the get go. In the first two innings the Angels scored four runs to put a strangle hold on the game.
In the top of the first, the Angels were able to plate two runs thanks to an RBI single by Josh Hamilton, followed by an RBI ground out by Mark Trumbo. Building on that momentum, the Angels scored two more runs in the top of the second when Mike Trout stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Trout singled to put the Angels up 4-0 and put those in attendance into a state of stunned silence. The Angels would then add a fifth run in the top of the fourth thanks to an RBI single by Kole Calhoun.
Masterson was pulled from the game with one out in the fifth and gave way to Rich Hill, who was followed in relief by Matt Albers, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez. Over the course of the final 4.2 innings they shut down the Angles, allowing no runs on one hit and three walks while also striking out five. The bullpen was fantastic and deserves a large chunk of the credit for making yesterday’s comeback possible.
In the bottom of the sixth the Indians began their comeback. Nick Swisher started things with a two run homer to left-center that just barely cleared the railing, scoring Michael Bourn and cutting the Angels lead to 5-2. Two batters later, Mike Aviles homered to left, scoring Jason Kipnis, and pulling the Tribe to within one run at 5-4. Aviles came into the game in the second inning after Asdrubal Cabrera was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
In the bottom of the seventh the Indians tied the game thanks to Carlos Santana‘s 13th home run of the year. On a 1-0 pitch, Santana teed off and drove the J.C. Gutierrez pitch deep into the stands in right. As the crowd went crazy they momentum made a noticeable shift to the Cleveland side of the diamond. Michael Bourn would complete the comeback a few batters later when he slapped a single to left field to score Lonnie Chisenhall and give the Indians a 6-5 lead that would prove to be the difference in the game.
The Good: As you can see from the win probability chart above, the Indians literally snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. They had no business winning this game yesterday after falling behind 5-0 and watching their ace get roughed up in one of his most ineffective starts of the season. If they Indians manage to make the playoffs, they may look at yesterday’s game as one of those defining moments.
The Bad: Even though Asdrubal Cabrera has struggled as of late, he cannot get himself thrown out of a game for arguing balls and strikes. That can’t happen. Yes, it worked out in that Mike Aviles hit a home run in his place, but how often does something like that work out? Cabrera has to be smarter and keep his cool.