Tribe Fights and Bullpen Crumbles But Survives For Win; Indians 11, Royals 9
By Christian Petrila
It’s cliché, but game two between the Indians and Royals really did have a little bit of everything.
Tempers flared (twice), the Indians offense came to play, the bullpen imploded once again and Shin-Soo Choo shone the brightest in the spotlight as the Indians got an 11-9 win.
All was quiet until Jonathan Sanchez hit Choo on the right leg in the third inning. Choo was hit by Sanchez last season, and the resulting thumb injury sidelined Choo for over a month. Choo must have recalled that fateful day, because he immediately started barking back at Sanchez. The benches cleared and suddenly, the game had an extra edge to it.
The Indians would go off for five runs in that third inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Jose Lopez that just stayed fair.
However, things wouldn’t stay peachy for long.
The first batter in the bottom of the inning forKansas Citywas Mike Moustakas. Jeanmar Gomez plunked him right in the derriere with the second pitch. Gomez was ejected immediately, but that was only the beginning. Moustakas started yelling back at Gomez and once again, the benches would empty. Just as had been the case in the last scrum, Jack Hannahan came to his teammates’ defense, yelling at Jeff Francoeur in particular. When the dust finally settled, Gomez, Hannahan, and Manny Acta were all sent to the showers.
Josh Tomlin came in to replace Gomez and was just as shaky as he was againstChicago. He allowed four earned runs in 3.2 innings. It was obvious that he wasn’t fooling anyone.
They chipped away with two runs each in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Over the span of those three innings, the Indians would use four pitchers: Tomlin, Rafael Perez, Joe Smith and Tony Sipp. Sipp continued to be especially shaky, allowing two hits in only one-third of an inning. However, the Indians still went into the eighth with a 9-8 lead.
Enter, Vinnie Pestano.
It didn’t take long for the Royals to tie it up off Pestano. Yuniesky Betancourt led off the eighth for the Royals and promptly parked a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats. Suddenly, that 9-2 lead had completely evaporated.
The Royals bullpen was sharp in the later innings. They got solid innings from Kelvin Herrera, Jose Mijares, Aaron Crow and Jonathan Broxton. The Indians also got a solid inning of relief from Jairo Asencio, who pitched a scoreless ninth in which he struck out two hitters and saw Carlos Santana gun down speedy Dyson trying to steal second.
In the top of the 10th, the Indians had enough of the Royals hanging around. Jason Donald and Jason Kipnis both got on base to lead off the inning. Michael Brantley tried to sacrifice them over, but the bunt didn’t work out to well as planned because Greg Holland threw a missile to third and got the lead runner Donald. After Cabrera couldn’t get the job done, up came none other than Shin-Soo Choo. Being relentlessly booed all night long, Choo had an at bat that would have made Teddy Roosevelt proud. “Speak softly and always carry a big stick,” the former President said, and Choo launched a two-run double to left center to effectively silence the KC faithful.
In the bottom of the frame, Chris Perez made quick work of the Royals, recording a 1-2-3 10th to lock down his second save of the season. The third out was a screamer that caught Perez, rather than the other way around. The Indians had held on, andCleveland collectively exhaled.
Asencio was credited with the win while Holland was saddled with the loss.
Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images