Tribe Scores 7 Runs on 7 Hits in 7th Inning in Victory Over Tigers
On what looked like a bleak night against the overshadowed ace Anibal Sanchez, my morale (and that of many other fans) was at a depressing low. Trevor Bauer was pitching well, but Detroit’s offense got to him for 2 earned runs along with an unearned run on yet another error. Meanwhile, Sanchez was cruising into the seventh on less than 90 pitches and showed no signs of slowing down. Until he did. The Indians scored 7 runs in the seventh, Kipnis homered twice in the game, and Michael Brantley had four hits to bump his average up to .329
Bottom of the 4th, Indians Trail 0-1
With the Indians already down by one, Detroit extended their lead. Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez started the inning off with consecutive singles. Torii Hunter followed with a double to right that scored Victor, but David Murphy helped minimize the damage by throwing J.D. out at home. The Tigers would add one more run when Torii Hunter stole third and then promptly came home on Gomes’ poor throw.
Top of the 7th, Indians Trail 0-3
Just when it looked the Tribe was starting off the second half on the wrong foot, they seemed to get a magical shot in the arm. After Michael Brantley singled and stole second base, Carlos Santana walked, putting runners on first and second. Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single to load the bases. Nick Swisher ended Sanchez’ night with a 2-run single that finally put the Tribe on the board. But they weren’t done yet. Lefty Ian Krol came in out of Detroit’s bullpen to get the lefty David Murphy out, but Ryan Raburn instead pinch-hit and laced a double into the right field corner, scoring Chisenhall and pushing Swisher to third. Al Alburquerque came in and looked like a savior as he struck out Yan Gomes and Chris Dickerson for the first two outs of the inning, but it just made Jason Kipnis look even better as he came in to crush a pitch to deep right field for his first homer since April. Asdrubal Cabrera decided that wasn’t enough, and homered on the very next pitch for the Tribe’s season-high seventh run of the inning. Brantley came back to the plate and got his second hit of the inning, but Santana popped out to end the onslaught.
It’s really hard not to get excited about Kipnis’ power surge. Not only did he hit his first home run since April, but he hit 2 of them in the same game. Considering his doubles power has recently looked like it’s been on the mend, the homers look like something that could be returning for the second half of the season. We’ve all seen what Kipnis can do when he gets hot. Brantley’s 4-hit night shouldn’t go unnoticed though, as it sets the tone for the second half of having 2 All-Star caliber sluggers in the Tribe’s lineup. Trevor Bauer pitched well under pressure against a tough lineup, and the bullpen was flawless again. Ryan Raburn even had a pair of doubles, and if he gets hot again there’s no telling what kind of damage the Tribe can do in the second half.
It’s hard to find anything to be pessimistic about. We can look at the first 6 innings and say the Tribe looked terrible, but the explosion in the later innings kind of overshadows that. David Murphy went 0-for-2 again though, and his struggles since a hot May are making him look like this year’s Mark Reynolds.
Check It Out
-Michael Brantley is now 11 for 11 in stolen base attempts. He’s the only AL Player to steal at least 11 bases without getting caught.
-Brantley’s .329 batting average remains in the top 5 in the AL, and only 9 points behind Robinson Cano for the league lead.
-The Indians have won Bauer’s last 4 starts. 7 of his last 8 starts have been quality starts (at least 6 innings pitched while allowing 3 runs or fewer).