Chisenhall and Kotchman Carry Tribe to Win; Indians 10, Reds 9
By Craig Gifford
Last week when Indians starter Derek Lowe pitched against the Cincinnati Reds, the fireworks came after the game. Lowe and Reds manager Dusty Baker had a war of words following a game that saw Lowe brushed back while batting in Cincy’s National League Park. He followed that by beaning Cincinnati slugger Brandon Phillips.
Monday night at Progressive Field, Lowe again pitched against the Reds. This time the fireworks came during the game. There were plenty of loud pops as the Tribe won a slugfest against its in-state rival, 10-9.
The victory snapped a two-game slide and moved the Indians two within one-half of a game of the AL Central leading White Sox who were dismantled, 12-3, by their cross-town rival Cubs on Monday.
Lowe did not get off to a good start and was hit hard as he allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings. Joey Votto, who has been on a tear for Cincnnati, got the scoring started with a solo home run in the top of the first. As would be the case all night when the Reds scored, the Indians answered. Shin-Soo Choo led off the home half of the first with his sixth tater of the season.
The Reds took a 3-1 lead in the second, only to be answered again by the Tribe. A two-run home run by Lonnie Chisenhall, number three on the season, highlighted a three-run second for Cleveland, giving the home team a 4-3 edge.
Lowe, as was the case all night, could not keep the lead, surrendering a pair more in the third, making it 5-4, Reds. The Indians countered with another three-spot in fourth. This time, Casey Kotchman provided the boom with a two-run blast, his sixth of the year. Choo doubled for his second RBI of the night and 7-5 advantage.
The back-and-forth game saw the Reds tie things up of Lowe in the fifth and close the books on a rough outing for the Tribe starter. As bad a night as it was for Lowe, the offense and bullpen picked him up. Cleveland scored two in the sixth as Kotchman and Chisenhall came through again with an RBI a piece. A Michael Brantley sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Tribe its 10th and much-needed final run.
The bullpen, while hit for a pair of runs, kept the Reds’ big bats at bay. Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez combined to give up the pair of tallies in four innings. Perez gave up one of those scores in the ninth, but did well enough to pick up his 22nd consecutive save. That is the second longest in-season streak since Jose Mesa‘s magical 46-for-46, 1995 campaign.
While Lowe’s start was discouraging, Tribe manager Manny Acta was thrilled with the way his offense battled in front of 19,948 happy fans at Progressive Field.
“When a sinker ball pitcher is giving up fly balls early, it’s not a good sign,” the Tribe skipper said of Lowe. “The offense deserves all the credit for handing the game to Smitty (Joe Smith) and the gang (in the bullpen).”
The stories of the game were Chisenhall and Kotchman. On a night Cleveland’s No. 2 and 3 hitters, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis, combined to go 0-for-7, the Indians’ 8 and 9 hitters went off. Kotchman, batting eighth, was 1-4 with the homer and three RBI. Chisenhall, in the nine-hole, was a double away from the cycle. He singled, tripled and homered in four at bats, plating three runs. He was a matter of feet from the cycle as Chisenhall’s last at bat was a line out that was close to dropping into the gap.
“Lonnie had a terrific game and so did Kotchman,” Acta said. “When your number two and three guys don’t get a hit, you need to have someone else pick you up. It was a great team effort.”
It was a solid team effort. Cleveland smacked 13 hits in all. Chisenhall and Choo had their multi-hit games. Brantley and Carlos Santana also had a pair of hits.
The Indians will look to keep this momentum going Tuesday in the second game of the series with the Reds. Josh Tomlin will toe the rubber for the Tribe against Mike Leake. It’s a 7:05 p.m. start time on the home turf.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images