Victory Slides Away In Late Innings; Royals 2, Indians 1

There are tough luck losses, but rarely are there tough luck no-decisions. Both James Shields and Carlos Carrasco may have earned one, however.

Carrasco pitched into the eighth inning, not allowing a run until he had already left the game, but suffered a no-decision, just like Shields as the Royals won the game late, 2-1. The Tribe’s bullpen—that was once a strength—coughed up another lead in a late inning situation.

It was a game of a seasoned veteran pitching just like one, keeping his team in the game. Meanwhile, someone who likely should have established himself as a mainstay in the rotation quite some time ago may have finally asserted himself.

Baserunners were at a minimum, but the Indians were the first to have a scoring threat when Jason Giambi logged the first base hit of  the game in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Raburn walked and the Tribe had runners at first and second with no one out. John McDonald tried to bunt the two runners into scoring position, but Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas made a nice play to wheel and cut down Giambi at third base. After Michael Bourn walked to load the bases, Mike Aviles popped out to the catcher and Jason Kipnis struck out looking on a questionable call to leave the game scoreless.

Carrasco finally gave up a base hit in the top of the fifth inning when Lorenzo Cain singled to center field with one out. He quickly stole second, but Carrasco was able to get David Lough to ground out to second base and then strike out Moustakas to keep the game tied.

Cleveland had another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth when Jason Giambi started the rally again, this time with a walk. After Raburn flied out and McDonald grounded out, Bourn walked and Aviles singled to load the bases. However, Kipnis struck out again to leave the bases loaded and the game tied.

The Indians finally lit the bulbs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning when Carlos Santana led off the inning with a solo home run to the right field seats. The blast narrowly bounced off the right field wall and into the stands for Santana’s 10th home run of the season and gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Carrasco danced around a two-out double by Lough to get Moustakas to ground out to first base and end the inning in the seventh.

Shields night was done after six innings, allowing only four hits and one run while walking four and striking out five. The Santana home run was his only mistake after 111 pitches. Bruce Chen worked a scoreless seventh inning working around two-out walks to Aviles and Kipnis before retiring Santana on a ground out.

In the top of the eighth inning Carrasco allowed a lead off double to Chris Getz to left field to start the inning. After Alcides Escobar bunted Getz to second base, Indians manager Terry Francona removed Carrasco in favor of Bryan Shaw. After Shaw got Alex Gordon to pop out to third base, Eric Hosmer dropped a looping line over the infield into shallow center field to score Getz and tie the game at one run apiece.

It closed the book on Carrasco, who pitched his best game in over two years. He pitched seven and one-third innings, allowing four hits, one run, one walk and four strike outs on 90 pitches. Despite not receiving a decision, the outing has to be a major positive for Carrasco who has served two suspensions and a minor league demotion this season. Carrasco last pitched seven scoreless innings in the big leagues on June 13, 2011 against the New York Yankees. Salvador Perez flied out to center field to end the inning and leave the score tied after seven and one half innings.

After Bryan Shaw finished the eighth inning, he helped create the misery of the ninth. Billy Butler led off the inning with a double off the left field wall. After Elliot Johnson pinch-ran for Butler, Cain walked. Rich Hill relieved Shaw, but Lough’s sacrifice bunt to the mound caused Hill to slip and fall and everyone was safe. The bases were loaded, with no one out, and Matt Albers entering the game.

Miguel Tejada pinch-hit for Moustakas, but after Albers got him down 0-2, Albers threw a curveball in the dirt that Santan let squirt through his legs to the back stop. Despite the friendly kick, Johnson was able to slide in under the throw to Albers covering and the Royals took a 2-1 lead. Tejada lined out to first base for the first out and Escobar tried to squeeze, but Cain was forced out at the plate. Alex Gordon flew to center field and the Indians squandered the lead primarily to their own sloppiness behind the plate.

Cleveland would make one last attempt to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning against Royals’ closer Greg Holland. After McDonald struck out, Bourn doubled off the wall to put a runner in scoring position with one out. A wild pitch allowed Bourn to advance to third base with just one out. However, Aviles struck out and Kipnis grounded to second base to end the game.

It was Holland’s 15th save of the season and for Kipnis he was 0 for 5 on the night, ending his 10-game hitting streak. Kipnis had runners on base in the final four at bats.

Aaron Crow (3-2) earns the victory, pitching the final two outs of the eighth inning. Bryan Shaw (0-1) takes the loss after starting the fire in the ninth inning. With the loss the Indians fall to third place in the American League Central Division.

The Tribe will try to retake second place tomorrow when Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.79) takes the mound. Kansas City counters with Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.74) who has had success throughout his career against the Indians, including the only no-hitter at Progressive Field.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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