Carson is Clutch as Tribe Walks-Off in Extras; Indians 2, Astros 1
Matt Travis | On 19, Sep 2013
Sometimes the biggest spotlight brings out the best in people. That is exactly the case for Matt Carson, who has hit in seven of nine at bats this season as a Cleveland Indian and was able to get the biggest hit of his career in this game, a walk off single in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Indians a 2-1 victory over the Astros.
The game started off with the Indians looking solid both pitching and swinging the bats in the first inning. Ubaldo Jimenez started the game off with a one-two-three top of the first inning, including two strikeouts. The Indians were able to get on the board thanks to a one out double from Nick Swisher followed up by a single from Jason Kipnis.
The Astros had their best chance of the night to do some damage in the top of the second inning but were only able to tie the game up. The Astros started the inning with three straight singles, including back to back bloop singles, loading the bases with no one out. Jimenez however limited the damage by getting a key first out on a strikeout then gave up his only run of the night, a sac fly off L.J. Hoes. The Astros ended the inning on a bunt when the runner at third base didn’t try to come home, turning into an easy out at first.
The bottom of the second inning started with an Asdrubal Cabrera single but he was unable to move any farther, as Michael Brantley struck out, followed by a Mike Aviles line out and Drew Stubbs strike out.
Both teams had a runner reach base in the third inning via the single; Jose Altuve for the Astros and Swisher for the Indians. Neither team had any luck getting them farther along as Altuve got caught stealing and Kipnis hit into a double play.
The Astros had a chance to take the lead in the fourth inning with a leadoff double from Marc Krauss, but couldn’t muster another hit in the inning. The Indians got a one out single from Yan Gomes, followed by a fielders choice from Cabrera. Cabrera did move to second on a wild pitch but couldn’t score as Brantley grounded out to the pitcher.
The Astros continued their trend of one and only one hit an inning in the fifth inning as they were able to get a leadoff single but nothing more. The Indians however couldn’t even get that, striking out twice in the inning.
After a one-two-three top of the sixth inning, Swisher kept on swinging the hottest bat of the night, getting a leadoff single, followed up however by a double play ball from Kipnis. After a Carlos Santana walk, Gomes struck out to end the inning.
The Astros were kept down again the in seventh inning by Jimenez, who had himself another one-two-three inning. The Tribe got a one out single from Brantley but stranded him like many other runners, with Aviles hitting a line out to center field and Stubbs grounding out.
Joe Smith came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Tribe and did a solid job, allowing one hit, a single to shallow left, but kept the Astros from adding anything in the runs column.
The Tribe had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth inning to break the tie but was unable to capitalize. After Bourn struck out to start the inning, Nick Swisher had his forth hit of the night, a single left field. Kipnis followed him up with a single of his own, putting men at first and second base with only one out. Jose Ramirez then came into the game to run for Swisher, but it was a wasted move as Santana and Gomes both struck out to end the inning.
The top of ninth inning held a bit of a scare for the Indians but really was just Chris Perez being Chris Perez, getting himself in trouble just to work his way out of it. Perez started the inning with a solid first out, a strikeout of Trevor Crowe on a beautiful pitch up in the zone. The next batter, however, was when the drama started, when Marc Krauss hit a double to deep left off the wall. The next batter reached on a painfully hit by pitch right on his knuckles. Perez after that at bat nibbled and walked the bases loaded. After loading the bases with only one out, Perez settled down and proceeded to strike out the next two batters, ending the inning with the tie unharmed.
The Indians had a few runners on in the top of the ninth inning but were not able to drive any of them home. Brantley got on base with walk but got caught stealing. The caught stealing hurt more as Aviles drew a walk on the next pitch. Giambi nearly ended the game with ball down the line that could have driven in Aviles but it went foul, leading Giambi to pop up instead.
Cody Allen came in to replace Chris Perez for the tenth inning. The Astros started the inning by getting a leadoff double right down the third baseline. Houston brought in a pinch runner, hoping his base running could help them score a run. The pinch runner however did the exact opposite, costing the Astros the chance to go ahead on possibly the biggest play of the night. With the man on second base, Houston attempted to lay a bunt down but missed, causing Gomes to throw the ball right away back to second base. Despite the ball bouncing on the way to the base, Cabrera made a great grab and tag to get the runner at second base. The batter ended up grounding out followed by a pop up to end the top of the inning.
Despite the momentum from the great play in the top of the inning, the Indians could carry it into the bottom half of the inning, going down in order to end the game to the eleventh inning.
Brian Shaw came into the game for Cody Allen and shut down the Astros, getting a strike out then two ground ball outs to end the top of the eleventh inning.
The bottom of the eleventh inning started off with a one pitch out from Santana, a fly ball to right field. Yan Gomes reached on a one out single to left field, putting Cabrera up to bat. Cabrera was swinging like he was trying to end the game with one swing of the bat yet somehow ended up reaching on an infield single. Brantley came up to bat next but since their was only one out, Brantley had no luck driving in the run, hitting a fly ball to left center field. Aviles loaded the bases by drawing a five-pitch walk. That put the pressure on Carson, 6-8 on the season as an Indians up to that point. With the bases loaded and two outs, Carson came through and knocked a base hit right past the glove of the second baseman. His ninth hit of the season and first ever walk off hit in the major leagues gave the Indians a huge 2-1 victory.
The win for the game goes to Brian Shaw (5-3, 3.49 ERA) with the loss going to Rhiner Cruz (0-2, 3.79 ERA).
The win keeps the Indians right in the thick of the wild card chase, just 0.5 games behind the Rays and Rangers for first place in the AL wild card standings.
The Indians will continue this four game series tomorrow at Progressive Field at 7:05 ET. The visiting Astros will have Brett Oberholtzer (4-3, 2.98 ERA) on the mound, going against Zach McAllister (8-9, 3.96 ERA) for the Indians.
Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press