Thank Jobu that’s over. The Indians lost last night to the Royals by a score of 7-2. Yes, it was another wasted opportunity to hop into the driver seat of the second wild card spot, but it has by no means sunk the season. First of all, the Indians still find themselves a half game back of the Rangers. Second, they’re officially done with the hard part of their schedule. That should allow everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.
In last night’s game the Indians were simply out played in every aspect of the game. The Royals hit better, pitched better, and in the end looked like the better team. Starter Bruce Chen threw a gem. He lasted five innings and allowed only two Indians to cross the plate on four hits and a walk. The Royals’ bullpen, easily one of the best in baseball was even better. Five pitchers combined to limit the Indians to one base runner over the final four innings of the game.
As for the Indians, pitching sensation Danny Salazar took the mound and provided the Indians with six innings of work, something he has been unable to do recently thanks to an imposed pitch count of 85 pitches. However, Salazar wasn’t nearly as effective as he had been in past starts. He was rouged up for 4 runs on six hits and struck out only three Royals. Unlike the Royals, the Tribe’s bullpen was unable to keep the opposition at bay. They allowed three runs to cross the plate in the later innings that essentially put the game out of reach for the Indians.
The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead early. In the bottom of the first they got a huge two run double from Salvador Perez. To make matters worse, Perez was able to advance to third on the play as Asdrubal Cabrera attempted to throw out Billy Butler at the plate. The mistake was compounded when Perez was able to score on a wild pitch two pitches later.
To their credit, the Indians attempted to make a game of things in the third. Michael Brantley doubled home Yan Gomes to cut the Royals’ lead to 3-1. He would score two batters later when Michael Bourn hit a sacrifice fly to Alex Gordon in left. With the lead cut to 3-2, it looked as if the Indians may have another comeback stored in their back pockets. The Royals pushed their lead back to 4-2 when Alcides Escobar stole home in a failed run down involving Alex Gordon at second base.
In the top of the sixth the Indians had their best opportunity to tie things up. They put runners on second and third with one out and the heart of the order coming to the plate. Unfortunately, Carlos Santana decided to have one of the worst at bats in the history of man by swinging at the first pitch. Ryan Raburn then followed things up by striking out to end the inning and the last legitimate threat of the game for the Indians.
The Royals broke things wide open in the bottom of the eighth. A bases loaded walk and two run single to Alcides Escobar pushed the Royals’ lead to 7-2 and essentially ended the evening for the Indians as they went quietly in the top of the ninth.
The Tribe will look to bounce back from a difficult series this weekend against the Royals. The AL’s worst team heads to Cleveland for a four game set and give the Indians the best chance to make a serious move in the Wild Card standings.