Ugly Defensive Play Leads to Sixth Straight Loss; Angels 7, Indians 2

Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez did his job, pitching into the seventh inning and keeping the Tribe in the game. Unfortunately, a lackluster offense and a several defensive gaffs led to the Indians dropping their sixth in a row – Los Angeles 7, Cleveland 2.

The Cleveland Indians came into the game on the heels of a five-game skid. Tribe starter Jimenez (8-6, 4.11) hoped to go deep into the game and give the beleaguered Indians bullpen a bit of a rest. The Los Angeles Angels countered with left hander C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.46).

The Indians struck first in the second inning off of Wilson. Yan Gomes came up with one out and hit a slash double down the line in right field. It was Gomes’ 10th double on the season and it gave the Indians a runner in scoring position for Mike Aviles. Aviles came through for the Tribe and smacked a hard ground ball into left field for a single. That ball was hit a little too hard and Gomes was forced to hold at third base. Drew Stubbs followed with a little dribbler to third base for an infield single, scoring Gomes and giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.

In the third inning the Angels struck right back. Catcher Chris Iannetta led off the inning with a single into left field. J.B. Shuck came up with one out and ripped a liner into the gap in right center for a double, putting runners on second and third; Kole Calhoun walked to load the bases for Mike Trout. The most dangerous hitter in the Angels’ lineup hit a normally harmless groundball to third base. Aviles fielded the ball and threw to Kipnis for out number one but Trout beat the throw to first and Iannetta came home to score the Angels first run and tie the game at 1-1.

Los Angeles took the lead in the fifth inning on some sketchy defensive play. Iannetta walked to lead off the inning, never a good proposition; that’s where the wheels fell off. Grant Green attempted a bunt that skipped to the left of the mound. Jimenez fielded the ball on the move and made an ill-advised turn-around, fade-away throw to first base. The overly aggressive toss sailed into the seats for an error and the Angels had runners on second and third with no out. Shuck hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field to score Iannetta and Calhoun hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field to score Green. With no hits and one walk in the inning, the Angels took a 3-1 lead.

In the sixth inning the Indians began to fight back. Gomes singled to start the inning; it was his second hit of the game and the third time he had been on base. Gomes has been on fire as of late, batting .529 over his last 11 games heading into tonight. With one out, Stubbs smacked a single on a Wilson curveball into left field to put two men on. Michael Bourn came up and roped a line drive over the head of Angels’ second baseman Green to drive in Gomes, Stubbs raced to third on the play and the Indians had runners at the corner with one out.

That would be the end of the night for Wilson as he gave way to Michael Kohn (1-1, 3.28) who came in to face Nick Swisher. With much of his focus on Bourn at first, Kohn fell behind Swisher 3-1, but he was able to get Swish to pop up on a high fastball for out number two in the inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia made another call to the bullpen, bringing in newly called up lefty Buddy Boshers (0-0, 0.00) to pitch to Indians’ All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis. Boshers was not intimidated in the least, striking out Kipnis on three pitches and ending the innings. The Tribe did manage to put one on the board to make it a 3-2 game.

Wilson pitched a great game giving up two runs in 6.1 innings and striking out six, in all he threw 117 pitches. Jimenez matched him pitch for pitch, going 6.1 innings also, giving up two earned runs on five hits and five strikeouts, he tossed 96 pitches before handing the game over to Rich Hill (1-2, 6.00).

Hill came in the game to face Josh Hamilton with Iannetta on first base. Hamilton dribbled a grounder to the left of the mound and was safe at first when Hill was unable to get to the ball quick enough. It was a perfectly placed swinging bunt that put two runners on with one out. After falling behind Calhoun 3-0, he came back and struck him out for the second out of the inning. His night ended there and Indians manager Terry Francona brought in Bryan Shaw (2-3, 3.93) to finish out the inning. Shaw got the job done; striking out Trout and keeping it a one run game heading into the Indians half of the seventh.

Shaw came out to begin the eighth inning and ugliness ensued. Hamilton was jammed on a pitch but pushed the ball down the left field line past the shift for a single. Mark Trumbo then came up and hit a tailor-made double play to short but Asdrubal Cabrera bobbled and then kicked the ball away for an error and everyone was safe. Facing Erick Aybar, Shaw threw a wild pitch that ricocheted off the umpire and both runners moved up. Then Aybar chopped one up the middle that was fielded by Kipnis who threw a one hopper that Gomes was unable to pick and both runners scored as the ball bounced to the backstop. The Angels took a 5-2 lead and Cody Allen (5-1, 2.47) came on to try and close the inning.

The Angels were not done there, Chris Nelson stepped up and singled up the middle off of Allen to score Aybar and make it a 6-2 ball game. After two failed bunt attempts, Green smacked a single over the head of Kipnis to load the bases; Shuck followed with a sacrifice fly to Ryan Raburn in left field and the Angels tacked another run on the board. After walking Trout to load the bases again, Hamilton popped out to left to mercilessly end the inning.

The Indians were unable to muster any more offense in the game, going 1-2-3 in the ninth; and they dropped their sixth straight contest 7-2. Game three of the series takes place tomorrow afternoon at 1:05. The Indians ace Justin Masterson (13-8, 3.46) will attempt to stop the back slide as he will face the Angels Jerome Williams (5-8, 4.77). The offense needs a spark if Cleveland is going to get back to their winning ways; they have scored only 2.4 runs per game over their last six games.

Photo: Thomas Ondrey/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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