Offense Batters Bailey, Bullpen Holds Strong; Indians 7, Reds 1

After the previous three games against the Cincinnati Reds, fans had a right to expect fireworks in the last matchup between the two teams in 2013.

Off-field drama aside, it was the Indians’ offense that provided the explosions

Cleveland (29-24) scored seven runs in the fourth inning on the way to a 7-1 rout of the Reds (33-21) at Progressive Field Thursday night. The win salvaged a split in the four game home/away series.

Neither team could manage much offense in the first two innings, as the Indians were held to one hit and the Reds had nothing to show for four of their own.

The Reds loaded up the bases in the third inning after a Derrick Robinson infield single and back-to-back singles by Shin-Soo Choo and Cesar Izturis. Scott Kazmir worked his way out of the jam by forcing Joey Votto into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

After going just 1-for-8 the first time through the lineup, the Indians blew the game wide open in the fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch and Carlos Santana moved him to second with a single.

Just when it looked like Homer Bailey would escape after striking out Mark Reynolds, Michael Brantley started a rally. Brantley singled to center, scoring Cabrera. Two pitches later, Yan Gomes drove the ball past Izturis, bringing home Santana. After Brantley stole third, Ryan Raburn joined the party, driving in Brantley with a double to left.

The wheels completely fell off for Bailey when Michael Bourn dropped a pitch just fair deep down the left field line, clearing the bases. Jason Kipnis would bring Bourn around to score on Bailey’s 31st and final pitch of the fourth inning. Dusty Baker pulled Bailey and replaced him with Alfredo Simon, but the Indians were not done yet.

Cabrera would take full advantage of his second at-bat of the inning, doubling to deep right field and scoring Kipnis. Mercifully for the Reds, Nick Swisher would fly out to center field to end the inning. After the inning, Drew Stubbs entered the game in right field after Raburn left with left calf discomfort.

The seven runs the Indians scored increased their season total of runs scored with two outs to 119, most in Major League Baseball. Of the 264 runs the team has scored, 45 percent have come with two outs.

Kazmir would get out of another troublesome inning in the fifth, as the Reds could not score with runners at the corners. Cincinnati finally got to him in the sixth, as Jay Bruce knocked home Brandon Phillips with a single after the second baseman led off the inning with a double.

That run would be the only one for the Reds, as Kazmir finished his night with eight hits and five strikeouts, dropping his ERA to 5.13. The bullpen soothed some fans’ fears as Nick Hagadone and Matt Albers held the Reds hitless over the last two frames.

After the game, manager Terry Francona was thrilled with Kazmir’s performance. “It seemed like from the first pitch of the game, he just kept sticking his fastball and locating it and throwing it downhill,” Francona said.

Bourn finished the night 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Gomes continued to prove himself valuable, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. In 21 games, Gomes is now hitting .319 with 5 HR and 13 RBI.

Gomes talked with Fox SportsTime Ohio about the preparation that went in to the team’s effort against Bailey.

“We got a good scouting report on him [Bailey],” Gomes said. “It’s good to get a win like that and take it to him.”

He attributed his personal success to work behind-the-scenes.

“Whether its with (hitting coach) Ty [Van Burkleo] or with (bench coach) Sandy [Alomar, Jr.], its worked out well,” Gomes remarked.

The Tribe will begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow night at Progressive Field. Friday’s game will feature a pitching matchup between Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57 ERA) and Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21 ERA).

Kluber is coming off his best outing of the year last Sunday, when he struck out ten and gave up just one run in 6 /23 innings of work. Moore has led the Rays on the road all season, going 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA away from Tropicana Field this year.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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