A nine-run second inning was more than plenty for the Washington Nationals on Saturday as they secured home field advantage in Tuesday’s National League Wild Card Game with a 10-7 blowout of the Cleveland Indians.
With meaningful games done for the Indians after being eliminated from 2019 playoff consideration on Friday night, a lineup filled primarily with bench bats put up a bit of a fight on Saturday, but only after Adam Plutko and the Cleveland bullpen were destroyed in a nine-run frame by the Nationals as they rolled to victory. The only blemish for Washington was a subpar performance from Patrick Corbin, their big offseason signing, who was tagged for six runs and was unable to finish five innings in his final regular season start of the year.
The Cleveland Indians used a six-run seventh to cap ten unanswered runs off of Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez and the Phillies bullpen to earn a needed series win in a 10-1 final on Sunday night.
After falling behind a run in the third inning, the Indians rallied back for a run in the fourth and three in the fifth before blowing the game wide open in the late innings. Adam Plutko got a quick hook from manager Terry Francona in the fifth inning with the game hanging in the balance, but reliever Carlos Carrasco shut down the Phillies with two and two-thirds scoreless in relief to give the Indians an opportunity to get on top and put the game out of reach.
For the 15th straight time this season, the Cleveland Indians knocked off the Detroit Tigers, earning a 7-2 win in the series opener from Progressive Field on Tuesday night.
The Indians used a well balanced offensive attack as seven of nine players reached base safely at least twice on the night. The 12-hit showing backed a quality start from Adam Plutko, who won for the third time against Detroit this season.
Seven Cleveland pitchers combined to hold off Los Angeles, 4-3, on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep in Anaheim and a six-game season sweep of the Angels by the Indians.
A homer in the first and three runs in the second backed Tribe pitching on Wednesday, as starter Adam Plutko and six relievers behind him held off the Halos as the Indians pulled back within four games of the first place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central and stayed a half game in back of Oakland for the second AL Wild Card spot. The combined efforts allowed Cleveland (86-61) to gain ground in the division, while the Angels fell to 67-80 with their fourth straight loss.
For the second straight game for the Cleveland Indians at Target Field, the Tribe used a four-run frame in extra innings to knock off the Minnesota Twins, this time skipping the Carlos Santana grand slam and instead using three separate RBI base knocks with two men out to stun the host club in a 6-2 final.
A game dominated by solid starting pitching on both sides of the field was decided by the bullpens in eleven innings. The Indians sent ten men to the plate in the eleventh, putting up four hits while plating four runs with two men out to earn a much-needed win in the first of six games remaining between Cleveland and Minnesota in the month of September. The Tribe, desperate for every win possible as they look to remain in the mix in the American League Central race as well as the AL Wild Card chase, pulled off the stunning win for their fifth win against the Twins in their last six contests.
In a key matchup against a potential playoff foe this weekend, the Cleveland Indians did not show up. The Tampa Bay Rays, however, got another strong pitching performance from All-Star Charlie Morton and piled up runs in the middle and late innings to complete a three-game sweep of the Indians behind an 8-2 final.
The Cleveland bats were missing for much of the weekend, much as they have been over the course of the last couple of weeks. For the second time in the last four series, the Indians failed to earn a win against a playoff caliber opponent while looking as though they have run out of gas after several demoralizing late season injuries have put significant dents in the offense. The Tribe mustered just six hits, and both runs scored came from Jake Bauers, who rejoined the team after a month away to replace the injured Tyler Naquin, who was lost after a torn ACL suffered in Friday night’s loss.
The Indians backed starter Adam Plutko with a three-run first and tacked on six runs in the seventh as Cleveland routed the Detroit Tigers by a 10-1 count on Tuesday night.
Cleveland got a career-high nine strikeouts from Plutko, who allowed just a run on three hits with two walks over five and two-thirds innings. The bullpen did the rest of the job to silence the Tigers, while the Tribe bats took advantage of some timely two-out hitting all night long.
The woes continued for Indians closer Brad Hand on Wednesday night as the New York Mets scored twice in the bottom of the tenth inning to stun the Cleveland Indians, 4-3.
For the third time in his last four appearances, Hand suffered a blown save. This one was a bit different than the others, however, as the Indians had just silenced the hometown crowd in the top half of the inning on a solo homer by Carlos Santana off of reliever Luis Avilan to take a 3-2 lead. The box score will show a Mets victory, but it was one key play and several questionable mental errors around the infield that led to a walk-off celebration for the home team.
Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and brief return to the top spot in the American League Central came to an end on Saturday as Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota bullpen pitched around consistent base traffic in a 4-1 Twins win.
The Minnesota All-Star Odorizzi played the stopper again after four subpar starting pitching performances from the men around him in the Twins starting rotation this week. He was hardly at his sharpest, allowing five hits and four walks in five and two-thirds innings, but he did the most important aspect of his job, keeping the Indians from crossing home plate safely.
Mike Clevinger returned in name from the 10-day injured list, but not in typical production as the Tribe right-hander was tagged for a career-high seven runs in just one and two-thirds innings as Cleveland was rocked by the Baltimore Orioles, 13-0, on Friday night.
The O’s went off in three different innings and scored a single run in one other to bury the Indians quickly from Maryland. John Means provided a five-and-fly for the Birds, exiting safely with an eight-run edge from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He allowed just one hit and struck out five, preventing the Indians offense from getting going for more than half of the ball game. The Baltimore bullpen behind him was not quite as efficient, scattering five hits and a walk over the final four innings, but they too kept the Cleveland lineup from touching home plate.
Jason Kipnis capped a three-hit day at the plate with the deciding blow in the bottom of the tenth to send a tired Cleveland crowd to a 3-2 walk-off fireworks display against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
After losing a one-run lead in the top of the eighth, the Indians needed bonus baseball to find a fourth straight win in a game already delayed more than two hours by rains in the middle innings. They pulled out the victory in another dramatic Progressive Field moment, walking off for the fifth time this year on Kipnis’ sixth long ball of the season.
The Indians used a five-run first to set the stage on Wednesday night and Jason Kipnis hit a pair of home runs as Cleveland routed the host Texas Rangers in a 10-4 final.
The Tribe offense was alive and well as a hot June continued for the club, which now sits with the best record in the American League in the month at 11-5. The Indians (39-34) used five multi-hit games and 12 hits in total to put up a second straight double digit scoring effort to clinch at least a series split with the Rangers (39-35) while moving a half-game in front of them in the overall American League standings.