Storm Suspends Tribe Just 3 Outs from Win; Indians 4, Royals 2
Mike B. | On 01, Sep 2014
In the words of Bull Durham, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. That’s baseball.”
The Indians were working on the first, when the latter interrupted their plans.
For the second consecutive inning the Indians were three outs away from completing the three-game sweep and winning 4-2 in 10 innings when heavy rains forced the game to be suspended without completion. Cleveland and Kansas City will finish the contest on September 22 in Cleveland during their final series of the season. The Tribe were three outs from victory in the ninth inning when Cody Allen blew the save in the ninth inning. Cleveland was able to make the most of what Kansas City gave them, capitalizing on two Royals’ errors to tally three of their four runs.
Lonnie Chisenhall provided the two-out double in the bottom of the 10th off Royals’ closer Greg Holland for the lead, but he would have never had the chance without Yan Gomes four hits and seven strong innings from T.J. House. In a pitching matchup that featured, flame-thrower Danny Duffy, it was the soft-tossing House that shined the brightest on the national stage.
Kansas City took an early lead, but the Indians and House were able to avoid it becoming a big inning. In the bottom of the first Norichika Aoki started the frame with an infield hit and Omar Infante singled to right field to put runners on the corners with no one out. Looking like it had potential to be a big inning, House got Alex Gordon to fly out to left field, allowing Aoki to score, but then got Salvador Perez to ground into a double play. After back-to-back singles to start the game, a 1-0 deficit seemed surmountable for the Tribe.
After two quick innings from Duffy, the Tribe was able to even the score in the top of the third inning. Roberto Perez walked, and after two were retired, Jose Ramirez too was issued a free pass. With a pair on and two out, Michael Brantley hit a soft liner over third base to score Perez from second base. Ramirez hustled to third base, but Carlos Santana was unable to give the Indians the lead.
Cleveland continued their hustling play in August in the fourth inning. With one out, Yan Gomes reached on an infield hit that Infante could not make a play on. Duffy threw a pickoff throw to first base that was wide of the bag and rolled down the right field line. Gomes, hustling all the way, took second base easily and rumbled into third with an unorthodox two-knee slide. Mike Aviles followed a pitch later with a sacrifice fly to center field and Gomes trotted home. The unearned run gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
House settled down after the first inning jam and started to cruise. He set down seven in a row before allowing a leadoff single in the fourth to Gordon, but used the second Indians’ double play of the game to erase the runner. In the fifth he allowed a two-out double to Eric Kratz, but struck out Alcides Escobar to keep the Tribe’s lead in tact.
In the seventh the Tribe chased Duffy from the game. With one out Tyler Holt walked and was erased on a fielder’s choice by Michael Bourn. That ended Duffy’s night, tossing six and two third innings, allowing two runs—one earned—on five hits and three walks, while striking out six. Duffy threw 114 pitches before giving way to Kelvin Herrera. Herrera allowed a single to Ramirez before getting Brantley to pop up, keeping the Indians with just the slim lead. He stayed on and pitched the eighth inning before giving way to Wade Davis for the ninth.
While Duffy may have been the young starter receiving the national accolades, it was House who performed best on the big stage. After his first inning that could have gone much worse, he settled down to stall the Royals’ offense. House pitched seven innings, allowing just the first inning run, on five hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter and only tossed 85 pitches in his longest start as a big leaguer.
Bryan Shaw entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, and despite another late-inning error, tossed another zero on the scoreboard. Escobar singled to center field with one out, then stole second base. Roberto Perez’s throw sailed into center field and he advanced to third base with just one out. However, Aoki grounded weakily to Kipnis with the infield drawn in and Escobar could not advance. Shaw then ended the inning with a strike out of Infante.
Just three outs from a key, three-game sweep, Gordon took Cody Allen deep to right center field to start the ninth inning. Gordon’s 18th homer of the season splashed into the fountains, tying the game at two. The homer sent the game to extra innings and ended Allen’s streak of converting 17 straight saves.
Greg Holland came on to pitch the 10th for Kansas City and he looked in control, retiring the first two hitters. But Kipnis’ grounder to first base was booted by Billy Butler to prolong the inning. It was all the Indians would need to take advantage. With Kipnis running, Gomes singled up the middle to put runners on the corner before Chisenhall laced a double off the right field wall. Chisenhall’s 25th double of the season gave the Indians a 4-2 lead.
As soon as the Indians completed the top of the 10th inning, heavy winds and rain engulfed Kauffman Stadium, causing the game to be suspended. Had the Tribe been able to complete the game before the rains came, they would be only 2.5 games out of first place. Instead, they’ll have to wait 22 days to earn the final three outs.
Cleveland made the most of what Kansas City gave them on the evening, registering three unearned runs. Only Gomes logged more than one hit in the game for the Tribe. He is now 7-for-13 since coming off the 7-day concussion list.
The Tribe, now fully entrenched in a divisional race as they enter September, will continue their climb toward the top on Monday. Cleveland returns home for another nationally-televised game, against the other contender in the Central Division, the Detroit Tigers. Detroit is a half game out of first place and would have been tied had Cleveland won Sunday night. Corey Kluber (13-8, 2.52) will take the mound for the Tribe. Kluber will be looking to rebound from back-to-back losses. Detroit will counter with southpaw David Price (12-10, 3.32), who struggled in his last start.
Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP Photo