Phillips Pounds Former Team, Tribe Falls Again; Reds 5, Indians 3
By Dave Roberts
Manny Acta mentioned in his pregame interview how the Great American Ballpark in his opinion was the best hitter’s ballpark in baseball. Unfortunately, for the second night in a row it did not play like that to the Tribe hitters as they lost 5-3 to the Reds.
Derek Lowe, trying to bounce back from a bad start against the Tigers, struggled with his command throughout the outing but still turned in a decent performance. Although he walked six over his six innings, he managed to allow just three runs on five hits while striking out four along the way.
In the seventh inning, Acta replaced Lowe with Nick Hagadone with the Tribe trailing just 3-2. It was like déjà vu for the Indians as Brandon Phillips connected on a Hagadone pitch to send a homerun into the bleachers putting the Reds on top 5-2. On a bright note though, the newest Indians’ bullpen addition Esmil Rogers, acquired yesterday from the Rockies, made his Indians debut by tossing a scoreless eighth inning in which he struck out two.
On the offensive side of things, the Tribe continued to struggle to get the battles rolling against Matt Latos. It would be a telling sign of things to come when the Indians’ first hit came off the bat of Derek Lowe with two outs in third inning. Although the Indians did scratch out eight hits, they struggled to hit when it really counts as they batted just one for eight with runners in scoring position.
Their best opportunity for scoring came in the fourth inning when Jason Kipnis led off the inning with a single, Carlos Santana walked and then Michael Brantley connected for a base hit, extending his major league leading hit streak to 20 games, loading the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately, they let Latos off the hook as he got Damon to strike, and two groundouts from Kotchman and Chisenhall only amounted to one run on the board.
The only real offensive highlight for the Indians came in the ninth inning off the Reds’ flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman. After retiring Duncan on a fly out and then striking out Chisenhall, Jose Lopez stepped in as the Tribe’s last hope. Chapman served up an 100 mph fastball that Lopez got around on to crush a solo shot to left center field making in a 5-3 game before Choo flew out to center promptly giving Chapman his seventh save.
Manny Acta during the postgame interview although sounding distressed with the way things are going offensively sounded optimistic with the Tribe’s recent starting pitching, “I’m very happy that we have gone through our rotation and every single one of them has given us the opportunity to win”. With tonight’s loss the Tribe drops to 32-29, remaining one and one-half games out of first place. Meanwhile the Reds improved to 34-27 with a 2-game lead in the NL Central.
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images