The Tribe kept their winning streak alive, conquering the Boston Red Sox 5-3 in the second game of the series. T.J. House pitched 5 2/3 outstanding innings, allowing just two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four. Boston starter Jake Peavy didn’t fare as well, striking out just three batters and giving up eight hits and a walk on his way to five earned runs.
Bottom of the 1st, tied 0-0
Peavy started the game on a rough note, allowing a pair of leadoff hits to Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera. Michael Brantley followed with an RBI-single, and then Jason Kipnis deftly laid down a bunt in front of home plate and beat it out, loading the bases for Lonnie Chisenhall, who laced an RBI-single of his own to center field. Ryan Raburn grounded into a double play, but Brantley was able to score in the process to give the Tribe a 3-0 lead.
Top of the 7th, Indians lead 3-2
The Red Sox fought back slowly, with a solo home run from Xander Bogaerts in the third and Jonathan Herrera’s RBI-single in the sixth, but the defining moment came in the seventh inning. With Scott Atchison pitching, Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game. After intentionally walking David Ortiz, Atchison retired the next three batters to escape without further damage.
Bottom of the 7th, tied 3-3
With Peavy still on the mound, David Murphy walked to lead off the inning. Yan Gomes singled to left field, and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Aviles. With runners at second and third, Boston called on Andrew Miller out of the bullpen. Miller promptly gave up a two-run double to Bourn, giving the Indians a 5-3 advantage and costing the Red Sox the game.
House has improved in each of his three starts, after a shaky debut in Baltimore. Although he doesn’t necessarily stand out as a pitching prospect, House has been more than adequate while filling in for the injured Zach McAllister. Nick Hagadone also looked more like the reliever that the Tribe has been waiting on for years, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three. Most notably, he didn’t walk a batter, which is a major improvement. Cody Allen has continued to look dominant as the unofficial closer, recording a four-out save against the heart of the Red Sox lineup.
The Indians’ key relievers – Allen, Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw – have been used heavily in recent days due to the number of close games. Shaw was unavailable on Tuesday after pitching in three straight games. Rzepczynski has now pitched three days in a row, and Allen has pitched six of the last eight days, including the last two in a row. Heading into Tuesday night, Rzepczynski and Shaw were tied for the major-league lead in relief appearances, with Allen only a game behind them. While the extra-inning games haven’t helped, there isn’t any reason that Cleveland should be burning their best arms before the All-Star Break. If the other relievers in the bullpen truly can’t be trusted, it may be time to replace them.
Check It Out
– The Red Sox have walked 226 times this season, second only to the Oakland A’s. The Tribe isn’t far behind, with 214 walks – the fourth best total in the major leagues. The two opponents are tied with a .329 team on-base percentage, though, thanks to the Indians’ higher team batting average.
– Corey Kluber, who pitches for the Indians on Wednesday, is tied for the major-league lead in strikeouts along with Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Both have accumulated 95 strikeouts so far this season.
– The Tribe has been hot at home this season, with a 20-11 record. Kluber is a big part of that, with a 2.61 ERA and a 3-1 record at Progressive Field.
– Boston starter Brandon Workman received a six-game suspension for throwing a pitch behind Tampa Bay Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria last Friday. Both teams were warned after Rays’ starter David Price hit David Ortiz with a pitch in the first inning. When Price hit Mike Carp later in the game and was not tossed for it, Workman retaliated and was quickly ejected. Workman is appealing the ruling, and will still make his start on Wednesday against Kluber and the Tribe.