Late Errors Cost Tribe Another Game; Astros 5, Indians 1
Mike B. | On 22, Aug 2014
What started so pretty, turned ugly in a hurry Friday night.
Carlos Carrasco and Brad Peacock—two unlikely starters to match up in a pitcher’s duel—did just that for five innings before a battle of the bullpens ensued. However, fundamental mistakes by the Cleveland Indians on the base paths and in the field were the difference in victory and defeat. Cleveland squandered scoring opportunities in the late innings before shoddy defense gave the game away, resulting in a 5-1 defeat.
Peacock and Carrasco hooked up in quite a pitcher’s duel that might still be unexpected. Peacock allowed just one hit in the first four innings, while Carrasco’s only hit allowed was an infield hit to Jake Marisnick in the third inning. Peacock—a struggling starter—had only lasted five innings or more and allowed just two runs or less, twice in the last two months.
Carrasco’s scoreless streak since his return to the starting rotation ended in the top of the fifth inning when Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run into the right field seats. Gonzalez’s sixth home run of the season gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. The blast snapped Carrasco’s streak of 16 innings without giving up a run since returning to the rotation. It was short-lived, however, as Zach Walters hit his fifth home run as an Indian in the bottom half of the inning off Peacock. Walter’s solo homer tied the score at 1-1 after five innings. Since coming to the Indians at the trade deadline, Walters’ five home runs have all either tied the game or given Cleveland the lead.
But after five strong innings, Peacock left the game before throwing a pitch in the sixth. During his warm-up tosses, Astros manager Bo Porter and the trainer removed him from the game due to right forearm tightness. Peacock pitched five innings, allowing just one run on two hits and no walks, while striking out four on 62 pitches. It appeared he had the opportunity to pitch much deeper into the game had he not been injured. Kevin Chapman took over for the Astros in relief.
Still short on the endurance to go deep into games, Carrasco lasted just six, strong innings. In his third start since April, Carrasco tossed six innings, allowing just a run on two hits and two walks, while striking out eight. The only two hits allowed were Gonzalez’s homer and Marisnick’s infield hit. Despite the no-decision, it was Carrasco’s third, successful start in a row.
Chapman pitched the sixth inning and the first out of the seventh inning before Josh Fields retired the final two outs. The Indians had a chance to score when Jason Kipnis singled and stole second base with two outs, but Walters struck out looking to end the frame.
Bryan Shaw threw a six-pitch eighth inning before the Indians ran themselves out of a potential scoring opportunity with former Tribesman Tony Sipp (4-2) on the mound. Pinch-hitter Mike Aviles started the inning with a single before another pinch-hitter, Tyler Holt, bunted to move the runner into scoring position. Sipp fielded the bunt and threw to second base, but Aviles beat the throw and everyone was safe. As Roberto Perez walked to the plate, the Indians had two-on and none out. When Perez squared to bunt, Aviles danced too far off second base and was caught in a run down. Holt advanced to second base on the play, but was thrown out three pitches later trying to steal third base. Perez struck out to end the inning, with no one on base.
In the ninth inning, the miscues went from the base paths to the field for the Tribe. Cody Allen (4-3) came on to pitch and retired the first hitter before walking Chris Carter. Dexter Fowler grounded to first base, for what could have been a potential double play, but Carlos Santana threw the ball into left field. Houston put runners on first and third base, then attempted a double steal. When Perez threw through to second base, the ball caromed off Ramirez and bounced into shallow right field. It allowed pinch-runner Gregorio Petit to score and give Houston a 2-1 lead. Cleveland’s MLB-leading 98th and 99th errors of the season allowed the unearned run to score.
Jon Singleton ended any hope of a Cleveland comeback when he hit a three-run homer off Allen to make it 5-1. Singleton’s 12th home run of the season sent the Tribe to their second straight loss. Houston took advantage of what Cleveland gave them, scoring five runs on just three hits. All four runs allowed by Allen in the ninth were unearned.
The decisive run was scored without registering a hit. Cleveland was not much stronger offensively, registering just four hits, but base running mistakes and two errors were the difference. The loss drops Cleveland to 64-63 on the season and likely to seven games back in the division.
Cleveland made an ill-fated attempt at a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning when Michael Bourn reached on an error and Ramirez was safe on a fielder’s choice against Chad Qualls. With two on and none out, Michael Brantley flew out to left field and Santana grounded into a double play to end the game.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images