Bats Stay Alive, Bullpen Holds On For Sweep; Indians 13, Royals 7
By Matthew Van Wormer
While today’s game didn’t have the excitement of fisticuffs that it did yesterday, there were still plenty of hits and runs leftover from Friday and Saturday. Early on, it looked like the Cleveland Indians (4-4) would have to get into the bullpen early as Ubaldo Jimenez struggled mightily in the first two innings, throwing 30 pitches in the first, 27 in the second and staking the Royals (3-6) to a 3-0 lead.
It looked like it might be a long day for the bullpen.
Two quick outs for the Tribe in the top half of the third made it look like Kansas City was going to avoid a sweep and take the Sunday matinee. Then, a hustle play by Michael Brantley changed everything. After beating out a grounder in the infield, seven more Indians reached safely in a row.
Highlighting the six-run inning was a mammoth home run by the newly-bearded Shelley Duncan. After the homer, Casey Kotchman and Jason Kipnis walked before Jack Hannahan, who was playing with the same fire he had last night, singled in Kotchman. Lou Marson made it 11 hitters in the inning but grounded out to end the frame.
When asked about the slump the Indians were in, Kotchman said “Hitting is contagious, good and bad. Everyone wants to get off to a good start, you do the best you can and move on.”
Jimenez got himself into a bit of a jam, again, in the bottom of the third but was able to work out of it without giving up any runs. The Royals did plate another run in the fourth to make things a little closer but another big inning was coming from the Indians.
The fifth started off with Travis Hafner destroying a Luis Mendoza pitch, sending it to the restaurant in right field where it probably landed in someone’s drink. The floodgates opened again as Lou Marson got in on the action with a double that scored two runs followed by a Michael Brantley double that scored Kotchman and Marson.
The Royals would pick up another run up in the 6th and it would stay 10-5 until the 8th when Kotchman and Jason Kipnis hit back to back home runs to put the game away for good. The Indians’ bullpen finished out the game and looked much better than last night when they let a big lead slip away. Asencio did have a bit of a rough time in the ninth, giving up two runs but it was a big improvement from what we had been seeing from the Bullpen Mafia.
With the 13-7 win, the Indians start their road schedule on a great note, getting back to .500 heading into an off day and then starting a series with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images