Early Deficit Turns to Late Blowout; Reds 8, Indians 2
Craig Gifford | On 28, May 2013
For a fourth straight game, on Tuesday night, the Cleveland Indians watched a member of its once-vaunted bullpen implode.
Unlike the previous three affairs, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Tribe was neither ahead nor tied. However, a rough night for reliever Bryan Shaw did turn a close game into a walkaway, 8-2 victory for the Reds at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.
The Indians trailed 3-1 as the bottom of the seventh began. The offense, struggling all night, had managed to knock Cincy starter Mat Latos out of the game in the top half of the frame. There was still hope of a comeback against the Reds’ bullpen.
However, Cincinnati knocked Shaw around for four runs and five hits in just 1/3 of an inning. When the Tribe returned to the plate in the eighth the team was down 7-1. Shaw, who had pitched well all season, joined the ranks of Vinnie Pestano, Chris Perez and Nick Hagadone who could not get the job done on what was a disastrous 1-5 road rip through Boston and the Queen City. Cleveland dropped to 27-24, overall, and has now lost seven of eight games after starting the month of May red hot, at 16-6.
The lone bright spot for the Indians on Tuesday was starter Zach McAllister. After a rough, three-run first inning, highlighted by a lead-off double from former Indians Shin-Soo Choo and two-run single from Joey Votto, Cleveland’s promising young starter rebounded to pitch pretty well. He did not allow another run to score over the next 4 and 1/3 innings.
Overall, the 25-year-old right hander went 5 and 1/3 frames, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits. He struck out six and walked run. Despite allowing runners to reach at least second base in third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, McAllister did enough to keep his team in the game.
“The first inning was a tough inning for (McAllister),” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. “After that, he dodged traffic every inning, but never gave in and gave us a chance.”
Cleveland did make things interesting in the fifth. With one out, Drew Stubbs singled to left field and then stole second base. Michael Bourn delivered a two-out base hit to draw the Indians to within 3-1.
The Indians had opportunities to put more heat on the Reds, but could not take advantage. In the sixth inning, Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana came up with back-to-back one out hits. However, with runners on first and second, Mark Reynolds and Michael Brantley could not come through, ending the threat.
With one out in the seventh, Latos began to show signs of tiring, walking Ryan Raburn and Bourn with one out. However, Manny Parra relieved Latos and struck out Jason Kipnis. Sam LeCure followed out of the pen and fanned Asdrubal Cabrera to end another threat.
The lack of scoring for the Indians was really a testament to Latos. The Reds righty entered the game pitching well and left the same way. He went 6 and 1/3 inning, allowing the one earned run on five hits, striking out seven. His lone weakness was allowing the walks, four in all.
“He came as advertised,” Francona said of Latos. “He has a lot on his fastball, but can throw any of his pitches in any count.”
After the Tribe blew its two golden opportunities is when the Reds took over with their four-spot. Brandon Phillips began the stanza with an infield single. Shawn retired Jay Bruce, seemingly righting the ship. However, Cincy’s next four batters knocked base hits. A throwing error by Santana did not help the cause, but Shaw could not get outs when he needed to.
The Reds tacked on one more run for good measure in the eighth of Cleveland reliever Matt Albers.
Despite the continued week-long, downward spiral for the relievers, Francona is confident that the former backbone of the team will get back to where it once was.
“We’ve had some outings that have gotten away from us,” the Cleveland skipper said. “I (still) think we have a good bullpen. We’ll try to regroup and play better (tomorrow).”
Tomorrow, Wednesday, will bring more of the Reds. After losing both games in Cincinnati, the Indians will now host their in-state rivals for a pair at Progressive Field. It will be up to ace Justin Masterson to stop the bleeding and five-game skid for the Indians. It will not be easy as Cleveland will see another strong pitcher in Bronson Arroyo. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images