Two Out Thunder Helps Tribe to Sweep; Indians 9, Astros 2
Patrick Pfanner | On 22, Sep 2013
The cooler fall weather couldn’t slow down the red hot Cleveland Indians line up as the Tribe defeated the Houston Astros in a 9-2 blowout Sunday afternoon.
The Indians completed their sixth four game sweep this year. It had been 59 years since the Tribe had accomplished such a campaign. Those sweeps are the most by any team in baseball since 1961 when the New York Yankees matched that number. The victory came on the heels of 13 hits including a solo homerun by Carlos Santana and a lineup which was firing on all cylinders. Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher were the only Indians who didn’t get a hit.
Fans noticed the Indians’ recent victories as 26,168 fans watched the Tribe complete the four game sweep of the Astros.
“It’s a hard game but we’re grinding right now,” Indians Manager Terry Francona said. “It’s a fun time of year to have every game be so unique.”
Indians catcher Yan Gomes maintained his anti base runner reputation by throwing out Astros Jonathan Villar as he attempted to steal second base following his leadoff single in the first inning. Indians starter Corey Kluber (10-5) showed command issues as he struggled to find the strike zone early but managed to escape the inning unscathed.
The Astros took the lead in the top of the second inning on a leadoff homerun from first baseman Chris Carter (29) to make it 1-0. Kluber surrendered another hit before escaping the inning with minimal damage.
“Once that command comes back we’ll have that guy that was pitching before,” Francona said of Kluber.
Bedard showed he could still command the strike zone by striking out five of the first nine Indians he faced. Despite giving up a single to Michael Brantley and a walk to Michael Bourn, Bedard maintained the Astros 1-0 lead with a fly out from Nick Swisher.
Kluber was hit around the field in the fourth inning by allowing a leadoff double, a single and walked a batter to let the Astros load the bases for former Indian Trevor Crowe. The Indians infield worked its magic with a double play to deflate the looming disaster and helped Kluber end the inning, however, the Astros managed another run to extend their lead to 2-0.
With October looming, the Indians offense didn’t sit quietly and let Bedard quiet their lineup with a bevy of strikeouts.
Jason Kipnis led off the bottom of the fourth inning with sharp single to left field and eventually scored on a Santana double to center field. Bedard continued to labor through the inning by reaching the 70 pitch mark. The Indians exposed a crack in Bedard’s armor on Brantley’s two out RBI single, scoring Santana, to tie the game at 2-2. Mike Aviles followed suit as he slapped an RBI single into left field, scoring Cabrera who danced around the tag at home, to take the lead at 3-2 before Bourn struck out to end the inning.
By the fifth inning, Kluber found his command and struck out his sixth batter on the day. With Jose Altuve batting, Gomes again showed why base runners fear him as he picked off Villar at first base to end the inning. The pickoff was the second time Gomes plucked Villar off the bases in the game.
Bedard worked a scoreless fifth inning despite giving up a slap single to right field by Kipnis and a Santana deep fly ball to left-center field.
Indians manager Terry Francona removed Kluber for Marc Rzepczynksi following a groundout by Altuve in the top of the sixth inning. Kluber went five and two thirds innings and allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Rzepczynksi didn’t last long as he immediately gave up a double to Marc Krauss (9), prompting Francona to remove the lefty and continue playing matchups with the Astro hitters. Bryan Shaw (3.42) came in to replace Rzepczynksi and struck out Astro’s slugger Carter. Shaw efficiently finished the inning by only using four pitches to get the remaining two outs.
“When you pitch well you give yourself a chance. It definitely starts with pitching and Kluber kept us in there,” Francona said.
Cabrera led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to left field for his first hit of the day. Following a walk for Gomes, Brantley sent a screamer up the middle of the infield to score Cabrera and extend the Tribe lead to 4-2. Phillip Humber replaced starter Bedard following the scoring play. Bedard (4-12) went five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Bourn ripped a two RBI triple to right field scoring Gomes and Brantley and obtained his 50th career triple. Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly out to left field, scoring Bourn to extend the Indians lead to 7-2. Following the scoring play, Kipnis shot his 34th double of the year into left field but was stranded by a Santana fly out.
Raburn led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a one-hop single into left field and was taken off the bases in favor of pinch runner Matt Carson. Aviles ripped his second RBI single of the game into left field to score Carson following strike outs from Gomes and Brantley. Aviles’s RBI made the score 8-2.
Matt Albers entered the game for the Indians in the top of the eighth. Albers struck out one and allowed a single to Altuve to end his day. Francona, who has benefited from the expanded rosters this September, turned to lefty Clay Rapada to continue the inning. Rapada managed a fly out before Francona changed pitchers again. C.C. Lee entered as the third pitcher of the inning and the seventh of the game for the Indians. Lee completed the inning by striking out Carter.
Jorge De Leon entered the bottom of the eighth inning for the Astros. Following two quick outs, Santana golfed his 19th home run of the season into the right field seats. The home run increased the Tribe lead to 9-2 before Carson lined out to end the inning.
Francona turned to Carlos Carrasco to finish the game in the top of the ninth inning. Carrasco was the eighth pitcher to make an appearance in the game for Cleveland. Carrasco made short of the Astros despite giving up a two-out single to center field and finished the game with a strikeout.
The Indians currently have a record of 86-70 and move a game and a half ahead of the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. The Rangers lost 4-0 to the Kansas City Royals in 10 innings.
The Indians have an off day Monday before they begin a two game series with the Chicago White Sox in Cleveland on Tuesday. Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9) will try to ride his second-half surge into a victory against Hector Santiago (4-9) at 7:05 p.m Tuesday.
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP Photo