Cleveland had an apparent victory snatched away by a replay review in the ninth, creating an opportunity for Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart to drive in two runs with two outs off of Cody Allen and Reds closer Raisel Iglesias stranded the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the frame as the visitors held on for a 4-3 win over the Indians on Wednesday night.
The Indians took a 3-2 lead into the ninth, courtesy of a good pitching performance from Trevor Bauer and the bullpen three RBI from Carlos Santana, but Allen once again made another May save opportunity an adventure on the mound.
After each club earned a win in Cincinnati to open their interleague home-and-home series (or maybe, a road-and-road series for the pessimist in the crowd), the Reds and the Indians will wrap up the four-game series with two games from Progressive Field on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The Reds (21-24) won Monday’s series opener from Great American Ball Park with solo runs in the first two innings before a three-run seventh, aided by a throwing error by pitcher Josh Tomlin and a two-run single surrendered by Dan Otero with two outs to open up the game.
While Cleveland sports fans were riding a roller coaster of a game between the NBA’s Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Indians were playing out an up and down game against the Reds, one in which came down to an 8-7 finale in favor of the Tribe in the final contest of the Cincinnati portion of the home-and-home series.
The Indians hit four home runs off of rookie left-hander Amir Garrett, but the game still came down to the wire in the bottom of the ninth, when closer Cody Allen put the tying and winning runs on base but escaped the threat to save his franchise-record 13th straight game to start the season.
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead with one out in the first inning against Garrett as Francisco Lindor would hit his team-leading tenth home run of the season. The solo shot to left put the Indians on top, 1-0, but the lead would be just temporary.
Mike Clevinger carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and combined with two Cleveland relievers on a three-hit shutout of a Houston team with the best record in the Majors as the Indians blanked the Astros, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon.
Like the previous four games in the season series between Cleveland and Houston, the fifth of six matchups in the regular season between the two clubs was a hotly contested game that came down to just a few runs. While the Astros have been one of the top teams in baseball since the season began, the Indians have had their number despite their own inconsistencies this year, dealing the club two of its three series losses this season. Saturday’s victory by Cleveland guaranteed it a winning record against the young and fiery Houston club, one that seems to be on the fast track to the postseason already.
The Cleveland Indians offense was once again nowhere to be found and the Minnesota Twins ran to an easy 4-1 victory on Saturday afternoon from Progressive Field.
The game came down to another bout of wildness from second-year starter Mike Clevinger, making his second start of the season in place of the injured Corey Kluber, who remained sidelined on the 10-day disabled list with back issues. Making the start against another second year right-hander in Minnesota’s Jose Berrios, Clevinger’s walk issues came back to haunt him in the fourth inning and he finally paid dearly for the control problems.
Mike Clevinger capitalized on an opportunity to help out the Indians on Sunday, firing five and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball and the Cleveland bullpen did the rest to pick up a sluggish offense in a combined 1-0 one-hit victory.
The Indians came away with a series win to even up their record during their current road trip at 3-3 and to improve their season record to 17-13. They sit atop the American League Central alone at the 30-game mark and now lead the last place Royals (10-20) by seven games.
The two teams wore throwback jerseys honoring Negro League teams from their respective cities, with the Royals representing the Monarchs and the Indians representing the Buckeyes. The uniforms worn in the game were scheduled to be auctioned off to help raise funds for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a privately funded non-profit museum in Kansas City “dedicated to preserving the rich history of African-American Baseball”.
April is now several days in the rear view mirror. Much further away is the Cleveland Indians’ magical run through the postseason and into their sixth World Series appearance in franchise history.
While the excitement, pomp, and circumstance led to high hopes last year and lofty expectations for this one, the first month of the 2017 Major League Baseball season reminded Tribe fans that this season is certainly not last season.
And that’s okay.
A different Cleveland team than the one they faced just a couple of weeks ago will arrive on the Comerica Park playing field this week as the Detroit Tigers host the Indians in a four-game set this week.
The Indians (14-10) wrapped up a much better homestand than their first of the season, which included a disappointing series against a Tigers club looking to make up for a horrendous effort against Cleveland last year. The Tribe went 4-2 on their homestand against Houston and Seattle and will return to the road where they are 8-4 after four series with three series wins this season.
The Indians capitalized off of a risky base running play and put up eight runs in an offensive outburst in the third inning and never looked back as Cleveland claimed their fourth consecutive series win with a 12-4 dismantling of the Seattle Mariners on a beautiful Sunday afternoon from Progressive Field.
Cleveland (14-10) finished its shaky month of April at home with a resounding win in the series finale with Seattle, pulling to 6-6 in the month after a rough start in its first two home series of the season. The team put up 12 runs on 15 hits against Seattle pitching, a staff that had struggled at times to limit damage against it this season. The 12 runs tallied by the Tribe marked the second-most runs scored by the club this season.
As is the case with most pennant-winning baseball teams, the Cleveland Indians came into the 2017 season with very few question marks. The biggest one may have been whether or not left fielder Michael Brantley could return to his old All-Star form following two shoulder surgeries and a 2016 campaign that was essentially lost, aside from 11 games played.
While the rest of his teammates were celebrating a division title and trip to the World Series last season, Brantley was forced to be a spectator. The club’s best hitter and a team leader the prior two years, Dr. Smooth simply could not work his way back from a right shoulder injury he suffered diving for a fly ball near the end of the 2015 season. He attempted to come back twice, but otherwise, he was resigned to be a cheerleader from the dugout during the Tribe’s amazing American League championship run.
No Indians lead felt safe on Wednesday night, but the Houston Astros ran out of innings to catch up as Cleveland claimed a 7-6 win from Progressive Field.
The Indians (11-9) got on top in the first inning and never surrendered the advantage, but they needed several additional scoring outbursts throughout the night to fend off the Astros (14-7), who kept it within striking distance while giving their potent offense a chance to get the last big hit that it would need.
For the Indians’ sake, that final knock on the door never came.
Dallas Keuchel continued his incredible start to the season, looking like his old Cy Young Award winning self, and Josh Reddick supported him both at the plate and in the field as the Houston Astros defeated the Cleveland Indians, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
The Astros staff ace won for the fourth time in five tries to give Houston 14 wins on the season. He used a heavy diet of pitches low in the strike zone to force the Indians to keep the ball on the ground for the majority of the game and three double play balls got him out of several jams that he encountered. The win, however, was overshadowed by a scary collision in right field in the bottom of the eighth inning involving superstar second baseman Jose Altuve.