Posts By Craig Gifford
There was late inning magic once again Saturday night at Progressive Field. Unfortunately, for the Indians, there was not quite enough for the home team.
The Tribe forced extra innings with a run in the ninth, but fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 in ten frames.
Cleveland, which slipped to 47-41, entered the ninth trailing 4-3. This time it was right fielder Travis Buck playing the role of hero. He hit a two-out, RBI double. The hit scored Austin Kearns, pinch running for Travis Hafner, who led off the stanza with a base hit.
Thursday night was a grand night for the Cleveland Indians and their fans.
With one out and the bases, the Tribe trailed the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Travis Hafner stepped to the plate and found a pitch to his liking. He hammered it to deep right field, sending the crowd of 18,816 into delirium and home happy.
After struggling to put anything together on offense for eight innings, the Tribe entered the home half of the ninth trailing 4-0. They were looking like sure losers in the first of a four-game series with the Blue Jays.
During a June swoon that saw the Indians’ bats fall deafly silent, the offense busted out in a big way Friday night with an 8-1 pasting of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.
The win moved the Tribe (43-37) back into sole possession of first place by half a game, as the Detroit Tigers fell to the San Francisco Giants last night.
That must be what the Indians are asking themselves after signing the veteran outfielder to a one-year, $1.3 million deal in the offseason. The plan seemed simple enough – bring in a guy who could back up all three outfield positions and slug 10-15 home runs on young team that could learn from his experience.
Three months into the season that plan has not exactly gone to form and that is putting it mildly. Kearns, who had averaged nearly 13 home runs a year in nine seasons before this one, has seen a complete power outage.
The once formidable hitter is hitting this weekend’s games and the season’s halfway point with zero home runs, two runs batted in and a paltry .194 batting average. In 33 games played and 110 at bats, there has been nothing to indicate Kearns may soon find his batting stroke.