Tribe Offense Silent in Must Win Game; Royals 2, Indians 0
Mike B. | On 22, Sep 2014
One step forward and two steps back.
On a night where the Indians won a game in nine minutes, the Tribe’s offense failed to show up for the regularly scheduled contest, losing to Kansas City 2-0. Danny Duffy shut down the Tribe bats after working out of a pair of early inning jams and Carlos Carrasco suffered the defeat despite a fine effort. The Wahoo Warriors had chances to score both early and late in the game, but could not cash in.
Cleveland won the conclusion of the suspended game from August 31 by a score of 4-3 prior to the regularly scheduled Monday night game. The victory cut the Tribe’s deficit in the standings to just 2.5 games with six games remaining, but after being shutout the Indians now remain 3.5 games behind Kansas City with just five games left in the season. Dropping a game back is just as devastating as Cleveland running out of time in the 2014 season. The offense’s inability to show up could be the final reservation for Cleveland’s offseason plans to begin next Monday.
The Royals took an immediate lead in the top of the first inning using their speed to get ahead early on Carrasco and the Tribe. With one out, Nori Aoki singled to left field and stole second base while Lorenzo Cain whiffed for the second out. Then, Eric Hosmer ripped a single down the right field line scoring Aoki and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. Hosmer’s liner hit Indians first baseman Chris Gimenez in the glove and ricocheted into foul ground, allowing Aoki to score.
Cleveland had a chance to answer back against Duffy and the Royals in the bottom of the first inning. Duffy, making his first start since September 6, gave up a walk to Michael Bourn, single to Jose Ramirez and infield single to Michael Brantley to load the bases with no one out. With the chance to have a big inning, the Indians let Duffy off the hook. Carlos Santana popped out to second base, Yan Gomes struck out and Mike Aviles flew out to right field leaving three Tribesmen stranded.
In the second inning the Tribe had another chance when Lonnie Chisenhall started the frame with a walk. After two were retired, Bourn singled, but Ramirez could not drive in the tying run.
Carrasco retired seven in a row, from the end of the second inning until Omar Infante doubled to left field to start the fifth inning. Mike Moustakas grounded to second base to move the runner to third and Alcides Escobar hit a hard smash off the glove of Ramirez at shortstop to bring in Infante. The infield single caromed off Ramirez’s glove since the infield was in, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead after five innings.
After the first two innings, Duffy took control on the mound, shutting down the Tribe. Duffy (9-11) allowed just three hits after the second inning. He pitched six innings, allowing just six hits and two walks while striking out five in his first start in three weeks.
Left-hander Brandon Finnegan came on to work a scoreless seventh inning for Kansas City. Bourn doubled down the left field line with two outs, but after getting ahead in the count 3-0, Ramirez struck out to end the inning.
Carrasco (8-6) pitched a strong, seven and one-third innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk and nine strikeouts. After Cain reached on an infield hit in the eighth, Indians manager Terry Francona elected for Marc Rzepczynski. Rzepczynski struck out Eric Hosmer before C.C. Lee got Billy Butler to fly out to right field to end the inning.
Wade Davis pitched the eighth inning for Kansas City and despite Brantley drawing a leadoff walk, the Indians again could not find a way to score. Santana weakly flew out to center field, Gomes struck out and pinch-hitter Jason Kipnis grounded out to shortstop.
Greg Holland worked a scoreless ninth inning, earning his 44th save of the season for Kansas City and likely ending any postseason chances for the Tribe.
Cleveland had just seven hits in the game and only Bourn had more than one. The Feisty Featherheads were just 1-for-7 in the game with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base. Cleveland’s win in the suspended game did cement their second straight winning season for the first time since 2000-01 seasons. The Tribe now stands at 82-75.
The loss especially hurts because Cleveland could have climbed to within 1.5 games of Kansas City and just a half game behind Seattle. The Mariners lost 14-4 in Toronto. Instead, the Tribe is 3.5 back, their season is on life support and this game may be the informal clinching of a Wild Card spot for the Royals. After Detroit’s loss in Chicago this evening, the Royals are now just one game back of the Tigers for the American League Central Division lead.
If Cleveland has any hope of survival, they’ll need to win the final two games against the Royals in the three game series. That will begin on Tuesday evening when Danny Salazar (6-7, 4.02) will take the mound against Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura (13-10, 3.19). Ventura has defeated the Indians twice already this season.
Photo: Tony Dejak/AP Photo