L.A. Withstands Late Cleveland Runs; Angels 6, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 30, Apr 2014
Four late response runs in the sixth and seventh innings were too little too late for the Indians on Tuesday night, as the Los Angeles Angels defeated Cleveland by a 6-4 final.
The loss for Cleveland is its fifth straight and its longest streak of the season as the team falls four and a half games in back of division-leading Detroit. The skid is the longest active losing streak in baseball and aided the Indians’ road record falling to an American League worst, 4-10.
It was another tale of missed opportunities for the Indians on a woeful West Coast road trip. They put together ten hits and five walks off of Los Angeles pitching, but struck out ten times, grounded into a pair of double plays, left nine men on base, and hit a combined 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They wasted a 6-for-11 night with four RBI from the four, five, and six hitters, who slumped mightily in the first stop on the road trip.
The Angels got things started against Indians starter Corey Kluber in the second. Los Angeles strung together three straight hits to start the frame. David Freese singled to right on the first pitch he saw. Erick Aybar followed suit, first pitch swinging, with a single to right center. A third straight single, this one from catcher Chris Iannetta, scored Freese from second to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. Back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout from Kluber ended the threat.
An error once again paved the way for scoring against the Indians in the fourth. Iannetta reached on an error on a sharply hit ball to the left of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. J.B. Shuck singled to center, moving Iannetta to third. A first pitch single to right by Collin Cowgill plated Iannetta to push the lead to 2-0. Kluber settled in after a sacrifice from Howie Kendrick, intentionally walking Mike Trout, getting an infield pop up from Albert Pujols, and striking out Raul Ibanez swinging to end the inning.
The error by Cabrera in the fourth marked the 18th game of 27 this season that the Indians have committed at least one error.
The Indians blew a huge opportunity in the fifth, failing to deliver with two runners on and only one out. After a leadoff single by Cabrera and a one-out walk to David Murphy, Yan Gomes and Michael Bourn both struck out swinging on 3-2 pitches.
The Angels made that missed opportunity loom that much larger as they tacked on more runs in the bottom of the inning. Freese singled to right with his second hit in just two pitches on the game. Aybar followed with a single before an Iannetta pop out. Shuck grounded into what was originally ruled a double play, but after Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged the play, Shuck was ruled safe at first, extending the inning. Cowgill walked to load the bases and Kendrick delivered a two-out, two-run single to center to make the score 4-0 and to end Kluber’s night.
In his first start after a complete game gem against Kansas City, Kluber (2-3) was not nearly as effective on the mound. He lasted just four and two-thirds innings on the night, allowing eight hits and four walks, matching his career high. Three of the four runs he allowed were earned. He struck out five.
“He had to work so hard early on. You could tell they know he was going to work ahead,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “The leadoff hitters got on the first six innings. In some cases, the first two hitters. He wiggled out of a majority of it by making some really good pitches. He got the potential double play that gets overturned. A walk and a base hit up the middle, that really hurt. He battled so hard. They were all stressful innings. When I’m keeping track of a pitch count, I always put up an asterisk when the guys work hard. It was pretty much every inning.”
C.C. Lee relieved and got a comebacker to the mound, stranding both inherited runners on base.
The Tribe knocked their zero off of the scoreboard in the sixth against the Angels’ Jered Weaver (2-2). Mike Aviles singled in his first at bat of the night and Carlos Santana launched his second home run in as many days over the wall in right for a two-run blast to cut the Indians deficit to 4-2. Michael Brantley followed with a double down the left field line and Cabrera singled to right for his third straight hit of the game to chase Weaver from the ball game. Michael Kohn relieved and, after a lineout by Jason Giambi and a walk to Murphy to load the bases, struck out Gomes swinging to extend his consecutive games without an earned run streak to 13.
Weaver’s final tally on the mound was five and one-third innings of work, his shortest outing since August 14th of last season. Like Kluber, he allowed eight hits on the night. He was charged with two runs, walked one, and struck out six.
The Angels added a response run in the bottom of the sixth on an infield single by Aybar, scoring Pujols to make it a 5-2 game. The Indians, however, responded right back. Bourn singled to left to start the rally. Lonnie Chisenhall walked and Aviles blooped a single just inside the right field line to load the bases. Scioscia went to his bullpen to relieve Yoslan Herrera, bringing in Nick Maronde. Santana saw four straight balls, forcing in Bourn to make the game 5-3. A sacrifice fly from Brantley to left scored Chisenhall to make it a one run game, and again the Angels went to the bullpen. Kevin Jepsen relieved and got a strikeout and a deep flyout to right to end the inning.
The Angels added one more in the bottom of the eighth to make it 6-4 after a two-out drag bunt single by Aybar. He was balked to second and scored on an RBI single to left by Iannetta.
Former Indians reliever Joe Smith worked a scoreless ninth, striking out a pair, for his second consecutive save in as many opportunities since being appointed the Angels’ closer. He is now two-for-three in save situations.
“We’re going to have to be a team where we keep rallies going,” said Francona, “go first to third, and do things like that. We’re not getting one big hit when we need it to either push us ahead or stretch out a game when we are leading.”
The Indians did sustain an injury worth keeping a watchful eye on in the coming days.
In the third with a runner on first, Jason Kipnis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. On the swing, Kipnis grimaced and held his lower back or right side and was unable to run full speed to first base. He immediately exited the game and was replaced at second base by Aviles. The early report during the telecast noted that he exited with a right abdominal strain.
“I guess the back of his right side. He pulled up right away,” said Francona. “We were fortunate that he actually hit the ball. I think the training staff is hopeful that it’s more of a cramping type thing. We’ll know a lot more [Wednesday]. He’s obviously a huge part of what we do. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed he shows up tomorrow and doesn’t feel worse. That’ll be a real good sign.”
C.J. Wilson (3-2, 3.69 ERA) will start the series finale for the Angels on Wednesday night. He allowed just one run on four hits in six innings in a win against the Yankees in his last outing. Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.14) will get the start for the Indians. He was bumped up in the rotation after Carlos Carrasco was moved into the bullpen. McAllister will throw on just three days rest, but threw 75 pitches in his last start against San Francisco.
Wednesday night’s game is scheduled for a 7:05 PM first pitch. Catch the action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports West, and the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels Radio Networks.
Photo: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo