Tonight, the Indians proved they didn’t need to be wearing blue to win. White is alright, too.
Even better, they proved that Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound is not necessarily a bad thing.
The starting pitcher has been one of the most unsteady parts of the Indians rotation thus far. Nights when he’s on the mound often have fans doubting the team’s success before the game even starts. This time, Jimenez didn’t need to fear the wrath of disgruntled fans as another solid start and four solo home runs helped lead the Tribe to a 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Between Jimenez’s pitching and the teams fielding, it looked like the visiting Oakland Athletics couldn’t get on base regardless of how hard they tried. The game started with a 1-2-3 inning, bringing the Tribe up to bat with a 0-0 score in the bottom of the first.
The score did not remain that way for long, though.
Although Michael Brantley started the game off with a groundout for the Tribe, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera took it upon themselves to carry the team, hitting back-to-back home runs off elevated fastballs from Athletics’ pitcher Jarrod Parker in the bottom of the first inning to put the Indians up 2-0 from the start. This marked the eighth time this season that the Indians have homered twice in one inning.
With Mark Reynolds up to bat next, Parker (1-5) delivered a fastball that drilled Reynolds in the upper shoulder, resulting in a warning to both teams. In a post-game interview, Reynolds said he didn’t think the pitch was intended to hit him. “I’m hoping it was just a fastball that got away from him,” Reynolds said. “It didn’t hit me in the head, so no harm, no foul.”
Not to be stopped once they took the field again, the Tribe continued to impress fans with another three-up, three-down inning, including an impressive out made by right fielder Ryan Raburn that had him smacking into the outfield wall to make the catch.
Raburn, who has been named the American League Player of the Week, went 1-3 with an RBI double on the night.
The Athletics’ fielding continued to benefit the Indians, as Jason Giambi managed a double in the second inning as a result of of a missed catch by third baseman Josh Donaldson. Although they didn’t score, the Tribe kept themselves in the game and worked to regain the enthusiasm felt during their six-game winning streak.
Jimenez’s outing continued on a positive note in the third inning, when he posted his 1,000th career strikeout. He didn’t give up a run until Yoenis Cespedes‘ home run in the top of the fourth inning. This was Cespedes’ sixth home run of the season. However, Jimenez (2-2) retaliated by striking out the next two batters and holding the A’s to one run.
The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Cabrera returned to the plate and delivered another solo home run, giving the Tribe a two-run lead. Cabrera’s fourth home run of the season was not to stand alone when, following a strikeout on Nick Swisher, Reynolds let his hitting prowess seek the revenge on his previous at-bat. He delivered a 460-foot blast to the bleachers, his tenth home run of the season.
“It took a lot of the frustration out [from the hit],” Reynolds said.
Tied with the Yankees upon the start of the game, the Indians now lead the league in home runs with 44. Along with marking the ninth time this season with two home runs in one inning, the fifth inning also marked the sixth time during this home stand that the Indians have homered twice in one inning.
Not to be outdone, the A’s came back in the sixth inning with an RBI hit from Cespedes. Jimenez was still on the mound when he found himself in a tricky situation with bases loaded and two outs. Not willing to take a risk, Terry Francona took Jimenez out and Nick Hagadone, just recently recalled following Vinnie Pestano‘s move to the disabled list, found his way to the mound. Luckily, the move was a smart one, as Hagadone threw three strikes to retire the next batter and bring the team out of a potentially dangerous sixth inning.
At the end of his outing, Jimenez had pitched 5.2 innings, gave up four hits, two runs, walked three batters and posted a season-high eight strikeouts.
Chris Resop replaced Parker in pitching for Oakland, and, in the seventh inning, found himself walking both Cabrera and Swisher, who moved to third and second, respectively, on a ground out hit by Reynolds. Resop intentionally walked Carlos Santana, a decision that proved to be less than fruitful when Giambi came to plate. In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, Giambi singled on a soft line drive, scoring both Cabrera and Swisher and bringing Santana to second. It was the Indians first hit of the game with runners in scoring position. A subsequent double hit by Raburn (his 100th career double) brought Santana home and raised the Indians lead to 7-2.
“Giambi’s great to have on the team,” Reynolds said of his teammate. “He provides big insurances runs for us.”
Oakland attempted a comeback in the top of the eighth, with Brandon Moss scoring on a single hit by Donaldson, but they could not put more than those 3 total runs on the board.
Bryan Shaw also found himself pitching for the Indians in the seventh inning, followed by Joe Smith in the ninth. Evan Scribner replaced Resop for the A’s in the bottom of the seventh.
With a final score of 7-3, the Indians regained their footing as a winning team following their loss and break of their six-game winning streak yesterday.
Jimenez was named the winning pitcher, and his record now raises to 2-2. Parker, the losing pitcher, is now at 1-5 for the season. The Indians are now playing above .500, with a 15-14 record going into their next game.
“I just hope it keeps going this way,” Reynolds said of the Indians recent hitting strengths, adding that his 10 home runs have been a huge confidence boost for him as a player.
The Indians continue their four-game home stand with the Athletics tomorrow night at 7:05 PM at Progressive Field, and will be a matchup between the A’s LHP Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.69 ERA) and Indians’ RHP Zach McAllister (2-3, 3.30 ERA). The game can be seen on Fox SportsTime Ohio and heard on the Indians radio network.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images
This Post Has One Comment
The Tribe has been really performing well lately. All their games are very exciting to watch and this one is definitely a big win. I am now a fan!