Clutch Hitting Allows Tribe to Sweep Kansas City; Indians 6, Royals 4
Laurel Wilder | On 14, Jul 2013
In a game that bounced the lead back and forth between Cleveland and Kansas City, the Indians managed to grab a two-run lead in the sixth inning and held on to win the game, 6-4 Cleveland, and sweep the Royals.
Ubaldo Jimenez had a shaky start, pitching four innings and allowing four earned runs on eight hits, while both walking and striking out two batters. However, strong pitching throughout the rest of the game and clutch hits with runners in scoring position allowed the Indians to earn the sweep and head into the All-Star break with a 51-44 record.
The game seemed to be off to a promising start for the Tribe, despite a single from Alex Gordon getting Kansas City on base to lead off the first inning. An impressive double play made by a combination of Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles and Jimenez prevented the Royals from getting on the board early. A single from Billy Butler did not cause any damage, either, as Salvador Perez grounded out to end the first.
The Tribe struck early with back-to-back singles from Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera. A sac fly from Jason Kipnis scored Bourn, making the score 1-0 Cleveland. The score remained 1-0 as Cabrera was stranded at first following an out from Swisher and a strikeout on Michael Brantley.
Kansas City retaliated in the second as a sac fly from Alcides Escobar scored Lorenzo Cain, who had reached first on a single. A single from Gordon scored David Lough, who had also reached on a single. The inning ended with a ground out by Eric Hosmer, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead over Cleveland.
Although the Indians managed to land two men on base in the bottom of the second on singles from Carlos Santana and Aviles, they were unable to get back on the board until the bottom of the third. Kipnis walked and made his way to second on a ground out hit by Swisher. Brantley singled to right field to score Kipnis, and a subsequent double from Santana scored Brantley to tie the game at 3-3.
Jimenez continued to struggle into the fourth, when he walked Cain, who stole second and made his way to third on a throwing error by Santana. Cain scored on an out by Johnny Giavotella, and Lough scored on the following single hit by Escobar.
Right-handed pitcher C.C. Lee made his MLB debut when he replaced Jimenez in the fifth inning. Lee walked Perez and did not allow any runs to score. Despite two walks in the bottom of the fifth, the Tribe continued to trail 4-3.
“His stuff is exceptional. He looked a little nervous, which is to be expected,” said manager Terry Francona about Lee. “I thought he handled himself really well. All he needed was experience, and we’ll be happy to give it to him.”
The sixth inning started with Lee hitting Giavotella with a pitch, and he was replaced by Rich Hill following a bunt from Escobar. HIll proceeded to strikeout Gordon and a ground out by Hosmer to Swisher ended the inning.
The bottom of the sixth brought the Tribe back into the lead. Tim Collins replaced Shields for Kansas City, and proceeded to walk Lonnie Chisenhall. A single from Drew Stubbs advanced Chisenhall to second, and the following sacrifice bunt from Bourn sent Chisenhall to third and Stubbs to second. With two runners in scoring position, Cabrera hit a double to center field that scored Chisenhall and Stubbs, bringing the score to 5-4 Cleveland. Everett Teaford was called to replaced Collins following Cabrera’s double. A line drive from Kipnis scored Cabrera, giving the Tribe a two-run lead of 6-4.
Bryan Shaw came to the mound for the Tribe in the seventh, and although he gave up a double to Butler to lead off the inning, did not allow the Royals to score. Louis Coleman replaced Teaford in the seventh for Kansas City, and gave up a line drive single to Santana to start the bottom of the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Aviles sent Santana to second. Santana did not manage to score, however, despite Stubbs also getting on base after getting hit by a pitch.
The game moved into the eighth with Joe Smith making his way to the mound for Cleveland as the Tribe still led 6-4. The side was retired, bringing Cleveland to the plate with Aaron Crow now pitching for Kansas City.
Cabrera led off the inning with a single and was caught stealing second with Kipnis batting. Kipnis then doubled, followed by Swisher striking out swinging. Brantley grounded out to shortstop to end the inning with the Tribe still up by two heading into the ninth.
Chris Perez earned his 13th save of the season, striking out two in the ninth and allowing the game to end 6-4, Cleveland. Hill was named the winning pitcher for Cleveland, and is now 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA. Collins, the losing pitcher for Kansas City, is now 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA.
“He should feel good about himself,” said Francona regarding Perez. “He’s bounced back now and pitched a bunch. He has maintained his stuff, location. He’s done really well.”
“I was really proud of our guys today because going up against Shields, Ubaldo falling behind, we battled back, fell behind again, and kept battling,” said Francona. “We go into the break with a nice win.”
The Tribe will not play again until Friday, July 19th, as they take the four-day All-Star Break. The second half of the season will start at 8:10 p.m. Friday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when the Indians will take on the Twins. RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-7, 5.55) is the probable pitcher for the Twins, with LHP Scott Kazmir (5-4, 4.60) in line to take the mound for the Tribe. The game can be watched on SportsTime Ohio and heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images