Ubaldo Dominates Behind 3 Solo Homers; Indians 4, Royals 3
Laurel Wilder | On 09, Sep 2013
The Indians continued their postseason chase as they opened a three-game home series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night, as Ubaldo Jimenez threw an impressive game and three solo home runs boosted the Tribe offense as they defeated the Royals with a score of 4-3.
As the season comes to a close, games not only decide playoff potential but also demonstrate players who will be the future of the team next season and beyond. Despite not having played third base until this season, youngster Jose Ramirez got his first Major League start at third base for the Indians, as well as his first Major League hit, proving that he is going to be a valuable player in seasons to come as he continues to grow as a player. Yan Gomes, who has come into his own as a regular catcher as of late, also contributed to the score with one of the solo home runs in the fifth inning and a solid catching performance.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the second inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run to right field, marking the fifth straight game in which the Indians scored with two outs. The Royals attempted to tie the game in the third when Jarrod Dyson, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double, was thrown out a home plate on a fielder’s choice out hit by Alex Gordon.
Ramirez led of the bottom of the third with his first Major League hit with a single to left field. Although he rounded first with speed, seeming to try for a double, he returned safely to first. He forced an error on Kansas City on a throw from first baseman Eric Hosmer to third baseman Mike Moustakas and recorded the second run of the game for the Indians on a ground out hit by Drew Stubbs. Ramirez capitalized on his speed to make the run from first to third before heading home on the error.
Despite Jimenez’s first clean inning coming in the fourth, as he struck out the side in order for the first time in the game, his first three frames demonstrated a much-improved pitcher from earlier in the season. The traffic he allowed in earlier innings did not result in runs and he did not issue any walks to the batters he faced.
Gomes delivered a solo home run in the fifth inning to bring the score to 3-0 Cleveland. Gomes is on an 8-game hitting streak. Gomes also contributed heavily behind the plate, successfully throwing out two runners at second and having a third perfect throw that was missed by Cabrera.
Kansas City got on the board in the sixth inning. Alex Gordon singled to Ramirez at third and advanced to second on a throwing error by Ramirez to Nick Swisher. A single from Hosmer scored Gordon to bring the score to 3-1 Cleveland. Jimenez recorded his seventh strikeout of the game to end the top of the sixth as Billy Butler struck out swinging.
Jimenez entered the sixth inning having thrown 83 pitches and ended the inning with his tenth strikeout of the game, despite giving up a two-out single to Lorenzo Cain.
Carlos Santana lead off the seventh for the Tribe with what appeared to be a home run, though it hit the foul pole on its way out of the park. After review, the hit was ruled a home run and brought the score to 4-1 Cleveland with no outs. The next three Cleveland batters were retired in order, bringing the game into the eighth inning with Cody Allen taking the mound for the Tribe. Jimenez left the game after throwing 7.0 innings, giving up seven hits and one unearned run. He struck out 10 batters.
Allen gave up a double to Alcides Escobar to start the inning, followed by a home run by Gordon. The Indian’s lead was cut to 4-3. He struck out Emilio Bonifacio to record the first out of the inning before being removed in favor of Marc Rzepczynski to face Hosmer. who was thrown out at first. Joe Smith came on to face Billy Butler, who was 1-12 in his career against Smith coming into his at-bat. Following a ground out from Smith to Swisher, Butler’s career numbers moved to 1-13 against Smith.
Wade Davis pitched the eighth inning for Kansas City, allowing an infield single from Ramirez to start the inning. Ramirez was picked off at first following a steal attempt.
Chris Perez loaded the bases in the ninth with a single by Salvador Perez and two walks. Gordon flew out to center field to end the game, with Perez earning his 23rd save of the year as the Indians took the first game of the crucial series with a score of 4-3. The Indians improved their record to 77-66, with Kansas City falling to 75-69. Jimenez was named the winning pitcher and is now 11-9 with a 3.62 ERA.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images