With the victory, the Indians pushed their record on the season to 66-57 while also climbing closer to one of the two coveted wild card spots in the American League. They now find themselves 3.5 games back behind the Rays and A’s, who currently reside in both spots and a mere half game back of the Orioles who are within striking distance of the top two.
In last night’s victory, Ubaldo Jimenez looked like the pitcher the Indians hoped they were acquiring back in 2011. He was dominant, allowing only one run to cross the plate over the course of 5.2 innings of work. He also carried a no-hit bid into the sixth, but was removed following an RBI single from Josh Donaldson. The book on Jimenez closed following 105 pitches in which he walked five and struck out eight, but allowed only the one run on the aforementioned hit by Donaldson.
Offensively, the Indians did everything right last night against the A’s pitching staff. They put seven runs on the board and looked like the team we had come to know and love throughout the course of this season.
The scoring got started right away in the top of the first. Nick Swisher took A’s starter Dan Straily deep to right for a 1-0 lead. A few batters later, Asdrubal Cabrera singled over the head of first baseman Brandon Moss to make it 2-0. Cabrera would strike again in the top half of the sixth. This time he sent a double deep to right field that would score Michael Brantley to put the Indians up by a score of 3-1.
After allowing the A’s to get on the board in the bottom half of the sixth, the Indians came right back in the seventh. Michael Bourn homered to right field to make it 4-1 Indians. Then, in the top half of the ninth, the Indians plated three more runs. Nick Swisher delivered an RBI single to score Drew Stubbs and then Jason Kipnis singled to left scoring both Bourn and Swisher on the play. At that point it was 701 Indians and all that was left was to close the door in the ninth and go home happy.
Credit is also due to the bullpen. Following Jimenez’s near no-hit bid Rich Hill, Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, and Matt Albers pitched masterfully. They gave up only two hits and one walk over the course of 3.1 innings of scoreless relief work.