Six-Run Fifth Inning Takes Down Tribe; Rays 10, Indians 3
By Christian Petrila
The Indians and Rays played a game with a final score that would resemble that of a Browns-Buccaneers game. The bad news for the Indians is that they were lacking the touchdown they would’ve needed to tie it as Tampa Bay evened up the four-game series with a 10-3 win.
Tampa Bay put the first tallies on the scoreboard in the very first inning. Desmond Jennings led off the game with a single to center off Indians’ starter Justin Masterson. With Carlos Pena batting, Masterson uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Jennings to second. Masterson struck out Pena looking, but quickly fell behind Ben Zobrist 3-0. Zobrist had the green light on the 3-0 count, as he laced a home run in the exact same area where Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley hit their home runs the night before. That would be it for Tampa, as B.J. Upton lined out and Luke Scott struck out.
In the bottom half of the frame, the Indians quickly responded against Tampa starter Alex Cobb. Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis all reached base to leadoff the inning via two singles and a walk. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Travis Hafner grounded into a double play. Although he didn’t get an RBI on the play, Choo scored to cut the Rays lead in half. With Carlos Santana at the plate, Cabrera started to break down the third base line as if he were going to steal home. Cabrera did a good job of selling it, as he caused Cobb to hesitate, leading to a balk that allowed Cabrera to score. With the score now tied, Santana hit a double into left center, but Brantley couldn’t drive him home as he grounded out to first to end the inning.
Masterson’s inability to consistently throw strikes became very clear in the third inning. Pena led off with a single that just avoided the infield shift. Zobrist grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out. Masterson then walked Upton and, with Scott batting, Masterson threw another wild pitch, allowing both runners to advance. He did strike out Scott, but with two outs, he walked Brooks Conrad and then allowed a two-run single to Jose Lobaton. Will Rhymes grounded out to retire the side, but the Rays had their two-run lead back. After three innings, Masterson’s pitch count was 68, and only 36 of those were strikes.
It got worse for Masterson in the fifth.Upton led off with a single into left field. Scott came up and broke his 0-for-41 slump with a two-run home run that made it just beyond Brantley’s glove. Masterson struck out Conrad looking before allowing a single to Lobaton. After a walk to Rhymes, Acta had seen enough to pull his ace in favor of Nick Hagadone. The first pitch Hagadone threw was hit by Elliot Johnson for a two-run double.
That double closed the book on Masterson, who went 4.1 innings while allowing nine hits, eight runs (all earned), and walking four while striking out seven.
“Justin just didn’t have good command of his pitches tonight,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He was wild and yanking pitches across his body.”
The inning wasn’t over, though. Hagadone then walkedJenningsand Pena. Zobrist then got his third RBI of the night on a ball he crushed to left center, but Johnny Damon did a good job of running it down. With two outs, Upton hit a single back up the middle to upTampa’s lead to 10-2. The inning mercifully came to an end when Scott flew out to right, where Lipnis and Choo almost collided.
The Indians made the score just a little easier on the eyes in the bottom of the fifth. Casey Kotchman led off with a single. A Damon fielder’s choice erased Kotchman, and then a Jack Hannahan groundout moved Damon to second with two outs. Choo then grounded a single to center to score Damon and make it 10-3. The Indians then ran themselves out of the inning when Choo was picked off between first and second.
The rest of the game was silent, as both teams managed to get men on base on multiple occasions, but neither was able to add more runs. After Hagadone’s shaky appearance, Jeremy Accardo, Tony Sipp and Esmil Rogers combined for four shutout innings.
Masterson took the loss, dropping him to 5-8 on the season. Cobb got the win, pitching six innings while allowing three runs on six hits. He also struck out four and walked two. He improves to 4-5.
“We had our opportunities, we just didn’t take advantages,” Acta said. “We had the bases loaded with the heart of our order up and only managed two runs. (Cobb) did a good job of settling down after that.”
The loss drops the Indians to 43-40, while the Rays improve to 44-40.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images