Chisenhall Slams Kansas City; Indians 5, Royals 3
Steve Eby | On 13, Jul 2013
While Scott Kazmir (5-4, 4.60) continued an outstanding string of Cleveland starting pitching, Lonnie Chisenhall blasted a grand slam that proved to be the difference in the Indians 5-3 victory over the Royals on Saturday night.
After Kazmir pitched 6.1 innings and allowing just two earned runs, Indians starting pitching has allowed just nine runs over their past 46.0 innings. In those seven starts, the pitcher’s combined ERA is just 1.76.
Chisenhall’s salami was the first of his big league career and just the second of the season for the Indians. The only other grand slam that the Tribe had hit was on April 13 when Mark Reynolds cleared the bases against the White Sox’s Chris Sale.
Opposing Kazmir was former Indians first round draft pick Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched well up until allowing Chisenhall’s slam with two outs in the sixth.
The Tribe got on the board first in the third when Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera both singled to center, the latter moving Bourn to third. All-Star Jason Kipnis then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Tribe a 1-0 lead after failing to come through in the clutch in both the first and second innings.
The score stayed put until Chisenhall made it 5-0 in the sixth.
The slam was set up when Kipnis, who was 3-3 on the evening, led off the inning with a single down the left field line. Nick Swisher followed with a strikeout, but Michael Brantley then laced a double into deep right center, moving Kipnis to third. Carlos Santana was intentionally walked and Guthrie then struck out Jason Giambi for the second out. Chisenhall then jumped on the first pitch he saw, launching a no-doubter deep into the right field seats.
The young, pesky Royals did not fold after baseball’s biggest play, however. Kansas City came right back with a three-spot in the top of the seventh, as Kazmir lost his great command after he seemed to feel some sort of injury in his pitching hand. Kazmir walked the first two hitters of the inning, then got a foul out and was pulled from the game to be replaced by Matt Albers.
Albers allowed former MVP Miguel Tejada to single to left, scoring the runner from second. After a fielder’s choice moved the runners into scoring position, an intentional walk loaded the bases for Alcides Escobar, who tapped a 3-2 pitch into the ground for an infield single. On the play, two runs scored because the runners were moving on the full count pitch, as Cabrera fired to the first baseman too late to retire the speedy Escobar. Rich Hill was then summoned and struck out Eric Hosmer to end the threat and kept the score at 5-3.
The Indians will look for the sweep on Sunday, in the last game before the All-Star break. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.37) will start for the Tribe and will be opposed by Kansas City ace James Shields (4-6, 3.12). The game is scheduled to start 1:05 and will be played on Fox Sports/Sports Time Ohio and can be heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press