Jimenez Roller Coaster Screams Downward Again; Angels 9, Indians 6
By Mike Brandyberry
Ubaldo Jimenez entered Tuesday’s game looking to find some consistency to his season, but the only thing consistent about Jimenez is his inconsistency.
Jimenez was immediately banged around for four runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth, while Zack Greinke and the Angels made short work of the Tribe, defeating them 9-6. Greinke had little trouble with the Indians while Jimenez had few answers against the Angels. The Indians battled back all evening, the hole Jimenez dug was just too deep.
It got ugly really fast for the Indians and Jimenez when the Angels plated four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Mike Trout led off the inning with a double off the right centerfield wall and Torii Hunter followed with a base hit up the middle to plate the Halos first run. Both hits were laced off Jimenez to start the game.
After Alberto Callaspo flied to right field for the first out of the inning, Howie Kendrick was hit in the head by a Jimenez pitch. Luckily for Kendrick, the ball just grazed the bill of his helmet and did no harm. With the bases loaded, Erick Aybar grounded into a fielder’s choice when Casey Kotchman forced the lead runner out at the plate, before the ninth hitter of the inning Chris Iannetta squirted a base hit by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to plate the Angels’ final run of the inning, making the score 4-0.
When Mike Trout grounded to first base to end the inning, Jimenez had faced 10 hitters, allowing five hits, four runs and a walk on 26 pitches. Only 14 were strikes, many of those being laced around the ballpark.
It appeared Jimenez had settled down after the first. Once Trout was retired, he would be the first of seven hitters in a row retired.
Cleveland answered back in the top of the fourth inning with two outs already gone in the inning. Carlos Santana was hit by Greinke’s pitch in a possible retaliation to Kendrick’s beaning. Both benches were warned by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. Michael Brantley followed with a deep, two-run home run to right field to cut the deficit to 4-2. Brantley had three hits on the evening.
However, the roller coaster ride that is a Jimenez start careened back down toward the earth again in the bottom half of the inning. Aybar led off the inning with a solo home run to immediately take back one of the two runs the Angels allowed in the top half of the inning. The bumpy road down the track was not over, though. Iannetta walked and Trout singled up the middle to put runners on first and second. After Hunter struck out, Pujols hit a three-run home run down the left field line to make the game 8-2 Angels and put the game out of reach for the Indians’ offense.
Jimenez struck out Morales and Trumbo to strike out the side in the fourth, but his night would come to a premature and disappointing close. He allowed eight runs, on eight hits, two walks, four strikeouts and two home runs on 72 pitches. The effort looked more like the reason the Colorado Rockies traded him, than the reason the Indians acquired him over a year ago. Jimenez suffered his team-leading 12th loss of the season.
Chris Seddon was called upon to relieve Jimenez. Seddon lost his spot in the Tribe rotation when Roberto Hernandez was activated to make Wednesday’s start. After working out of a jam in the fifth inning, the Angels finally did some damage to Seddon in the sixth inning. Hunter led off the inning with a single to centerfield to start the inning before Pujols worked an 11-pitch, seven minute at bat, ending with a double to the left centerfield wall to score Hunter and extend the Halo lead to 9-2.
The Feisty Featherheads would try to scrape back into the game off Greinke in the top of the seventh when Brantley, Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan each singled to load the bases before Ezequiel Carrera hit a chopper off the plate to move everyone up a base and score a run. Kipnis followed with a ground ball to Pujols to cut the score to 9-4, but the Tribe could get no closer when Cabrera struck out with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Greinke’s night was complete after seven innings, allowing four runs, on eight hits, a walk and five strikeouts. It was his first win as an Angel since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers before the trade deadline.
Seddon worked into the seventh inning for the Indians, allowing one run on five hits over two and one-third innings in relief of Jimenez. Seddon had a nice outing after a quality start on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. The lefty could be auditioning for a bullpen spot in the 2013 Tribe. He was relieved by Frank Herrmann who worked the final inning and two-thirds.
LaTroy Hawkins relieved Greinke, but had little success, giving the Tribe their last chance at getting back into the contest. After two outs were retired in the eighth inning, Brantley dropped his third hit of the game in back of the infield and Kotchman crushed a two-run home run to right field to climb the Indians back to a 9-6 hole. Hawkins’ night would be done and Kevin Jepsen retired Hannahan to finish the inning and keep the Indians from getting any closer.
Ernesto Frieri slammed the door on the Indians in the ninth inning, giving them no further chance to try to atone for Jimenez’s early inning woes. Frieri earned his 14th save of the season for Los Angeles, all since being acquired from the San Diego Padres on May 3.
Wednesday the Indians will try to win the series with Hernandez making his 2012 Major League debut. Hernandez has made four rehab starts since acquiring a visa and being permitted to return to the United States, going 2-1, with a 4.07 ERA at Lake County (Low-A) and Columbus (Triple-A). He’ll be opposed by the Angels’ Ervin Santana (5-10, 5.82 ERA) who has struggled this season, but no-hit the Tribe just over a year ago at Progressive Field.
Game time slated for 10:05 pm from Angel Stadium. All the action can be seen on SportsTime Ohio or heard on the Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images