Early Offensive Explosion Helps Tribe Take Series; Indians 12, Angels 3
By Mike Brandyberry
The Indians offense burst onto the holiday scene and exploded early to blow open today’s Independence Day game, winning the contest 12-3.
The Tribe burned the Angels’ Ervin Santana early and Derek Lowe was able to rebound from a bumpy June. Santana was unable to make it out of the second inning, as the Tribe tagged him for eight runs, while he only recorded four outs. Every Indians starter would record a base hit in the contest.
The Tribe started the July 4 fireworks in the first inning when Jason Kipnis drew a two-out walk. Travis Hafner made his return to the Indians lineup for the first time since May 23 and worked an 11-pitch walk of his own to set the table for Michael Brantley. Brantley lined a 338-foot home run down the right field line that just snuck over the fence. The ball was hit so hard, it barely got high enough to clear the fence. Brantley’s bottle rocket gave the Indians an early 3-0 lead in the first inning.
It appeared the Angels were ready to put a crooked number of their own on the board in the top of the second inning when Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo each lead off the inning. Alberto Callaspo grounded to second base, but with Trumbo running with the pitch, he beat the throw to second and Callaspo did the same at first to load the bases. The hit was ruled a fielder’s choice, but left the bases loaded with no one out.
However, Lowe was able to minimize the damage when he struck out Erick Aybar. Macier Izturis grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out and scored Morales, but the rally was stopped there when Bobby Wilson grounded out to third base.
The Angels cut the Indians’ lead to 3-1, but the Tribe would answer right back and extend their lead in the bottom of the second inning. Johnny Damon and Lou Marson would lead off the inning with singles and Shin-Soo Choo would double down the right field line to score Damon before the Indians recorded an out. Asdrubal Cabrera would ground out to first base to score Marson and give the Indians a 5-1 lead, with only one out in the inning.
The Indians were not done, though. Kipnis laced a ball through a drawn in infield to score Choo and give the Tribe a 6-1 lead, still with one out. After Hafner slugged another single, Santana’s day was done. It was his shortest outing of the year, fizzling through only one and one-third innings, allowing six hits and eight earned runs and walking three.
Hisanori Takahashi entered the game with two on and only one out before inducing Brantley to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out. However, Kotchman provided the grand finale to the inning when he lined a home run into the Angels’ bullpen for a 9-1 Indians lead.
The Angels found themselves going to their bullpen in the second inning and Tribe was looking to exploit the Los Angeles relievers. After Takahashi pitched the third, LaTroy Hawkins pitched the fourth and Jason Isringhausen pitched the fifth. The Tribe would break down Isringhausen for three more runs, extending the lead to 12-1. The inning was highlighted by an RBI base hit from Lou Marson and run scoring double from Cabrera.
Meanwhile Lowe cruised through the Angel lineup until the sixth inning. He probably wilted a little quickly in the July heat, allowing two runs, sparked by a Callaspo sacrifice fly and an Izturis single to score Trumbo. Lowe would leave, allowing three runs and scattering 11 hits over six innings of work. This was a much needed quality start for Lowe, who struggled most of the month of June. Lowe would leave the game to the bullpen, leading 12-3 after six innings. The victory would be his first since June 1.
Nick Hagadone, Tony Sipp and Jeremy Accardo each pitched scoreless innings during the final third of the game. Each team made numerous substitutions. The Angels looked like a team in a hurry to travel, while the Tribe looked like a team ready to head to the barbecue.
Tomorrow the Indians will begin their final series of the first half, taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. Josh Tomlin (4-5, 5.85 ERA) will try to ride the Indian offensive wave against Jeremy Hellickson (4-4, 3.44 ERA). Game time is slated for 7:05 pm at Progressive Field.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images