For the second Friday in a row, the Cleveland Indians have had little fun.
The Indians had little answer for Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who struck out ten and set down 18 straight after Cleveland’s lone run, and the Mariners offense staged a walk-off win on a two-run shot by Nelson Cruz off of Cody Allen in the ninth.
Cleveland claimed a second consecutive American League Central Division crown in the late night hours on Saturday night in anticlimactic fashion as the Minnesota Twins fell to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tribe was able to celebrate with another win in its first game as the division champs behind seven shutout innings from Corey Kluber, a big blast from Edwin Encarnacion, and a bit of a dicey finish from the normally reliable bullpen.
The Indians (93-57) won another series to improve to 24-1 in their last 25 games. They wrapped up their homestand with a 9-1 record to push their season mark at home to 45-30. With the AL Central title in tow, the Tribe will look to fend off the Houston Astros for the best record in the league.
Cleveland wrapped up the season series with Kansas City with a 12-7 record while outscoring the Royals, 90-52.
Game one of Friday’s doubleheader between Cleveland and Detroit came down to an RBI-single in the top of the ninth and a nail-biter finish with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame in a 3-2 Indians win.
The Tribe made sure game two was nowhere near as close. Two runs in the second, three in the fourth, and five more in the sixth paced starter Mike Clevinger and three arms from the bullpen to a 10-0 victory in the nightcap from Comerica Park as the Indians (78-56) swept their second consecutive doubleheader and increased their winning streak to nine straight games, matching a season-high (July 21-29).
The circumstances were not too much for Merritt, who was certainly not shaking in his boots on Friday, as he gave the Indians a career-high six and two-thirds scoreless innings on the mound as Cleveland defeated Kansas City behind a 4-0 shutout.
Merritt had big shoes to fill but did the job admirably in front of a packed house at Progressive Field, holding a veteran Royals lineup to seven scattered hits. Three other relievers followed him to the mound and completed the eight-hit shutout as the Indians (71-56) kept a five and a half game lead in the AL Central over the Minnesota Twins while pushing the Royals (64-63) another game back in the standings, where they now trail the Tribe by seven games.
If Corey Kluber wins the American League Cy Young award this season for a second time in his career, he may have his teammates to thank. For the second time this month, the Indians pounded Boston southpaw and assumed leader in the race for the top pitching award, Chris Sale, for seven runs and dealt him the shortest start of his career on Thursday night as Cleveland routed the Boston Red Sox, 13-6.
When Cleveland visited Boston earlier in the month, Sale was hit hard early for seven runs on eight hits by the Indians in a start that lasted just five innings. Sale, with a 5-7 career record in 28 appearances against the Indians, had a chance to get even, but the Tribe brought the bats in the regular season finale between the two clubs, making up some for mustering just four hits over the previous two games in a pair of defeats.
Trevor Bauer made another big start for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night as he gave the club seven innings of one-run baseball in defeating the New York Yankees, 7-2.
The Indians may have solved the home woes that had plagued them this season. Playing in front of consistently larger crowds than earlier points in the season, the Indians have gone a perfect 9-0 since the All-Star break at Progressive Field and are now 30-24 on the shores of Lake Erie.
The Cleveland Indians far more resembled the team that they have been expected to be, and not the team that they have been, over this past weekend in rolling over the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game home sweep at Progressive Field. In a third straight matchup against a last place team, the Indians finally came away victorious more often than not, taking all three from the struggling American League East squad after posting a 1-5 record against two other last place teams, the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants, in the Tribe’s first two series after the All-Star break.
The Indians (51-45) will look to continue their much better hot stretch on Monday night as they host a one-game makeup session with the Cincinnati Reds to complete their earlier home-and-home matchup with their in-state rivals. The May 25 contest was rained out, forcing the Indians to forgo Monday’s originally scheduled off day.
When falling upon hard times, sometimes a little luck and a little help from the baseball gods is exactly what you need. A poor display of fundamentals by the usually reliable San Francisco defenders allowed Cleveland to get back into the game and a strong outing from Josh Tomlin led the Indians to a needed 5-3 victory over the Giants in game one of a three-game series.
Tomlin outpitched the Giants’ Matt Moore, who became his own worst enemy to aid in the Indians scoring. The Cleveland starter would make just 79 pitches on the night, but gave the Indians seven and one-third innings of solid work in a quality outing that the Tribe desperately needed from its one-time stopper.
With just a matter of days until the Cleveland Indians open up their American League pennant defense, the final roster decisions have been made as the team announced on Thursday that prospect Yandy Diaz and veteran utility man Michael Martinez will be on the club’s Opening Day roster to start the 2017 season. It follows Wednesday’s news that outfielder Abraham Almonte will open the year with the Tribe with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall set to land on the 10-day disabled list while dealing with a sprained shoulder.
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Countdown to Opening Day – 39
Has the window of opportunity already closed in Cleveland for Giovanny Urshela?
Despite finishing the regular season 13 games below the .500 mark, the Gwinnett Braves have proven that anything can happen if you can get to the playoffs. The Columbus Clippers, 82-62 in the regular season, were victims of a Braves club on a mission as they were eliminated from the postseason with a 5-4 loss on Saturday night.
The Clippers season came to an end after losing three of four games in the International League semifinals. The Braves will now advance to the Governors’ Cup Finals against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which swept Lehigh Valley in three games.
Columbus actually held a 3-0 lead, but gave up four runs in the middle innings. They were able to tie it up late, but Gwinnett responded with the go-ahead run in their final at bats.
Gwinnett jumped on Columbus starter Shawn Morimando early and often as the Braves rolled to an easy 11-1 victory over the Clippers from Georgia on Friday night to take a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-five International League’s Governors’ Cup Semifinals.
The G-Braves gave starter Chris Ellis an early cushion on the mound, striking for two runs in the bottom of the first against Columbus’ Morimando. With one down, Mel Rojas Jr. singled and stole second before a walk by Ronnier Mustelier. Blake Lalli singled to right to load the bases and Sean Kazmar lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Rojas Jr. with the first run. A wild pitch from Morimando let a second run score before a fly ball ended the inning.