It’s hard to be perfect, and that’s what the Indians were during their home stand as they were 6-0 and completed two sweeps.
On the fortieth anniversary of the infamous 10 cent beer night, Asdrubal Cabrera provided became the hero of the game in the twelfth with a three run walk-off home run.
Corey Kluber was pitching for the Tribe, Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert were to throw out first pitches, and dollar dogs were flooding the stands. This night had the makings of a very exciting night. The rain had other plans though, as the rain caused the game to be delayed by two-and-a-half hours. Manziel and Gilbert ended up not being able to throw out their pitches, but the fans were still excited to have him there. Brandon Workman was on the hill for the Red Sox, making his third start of the season.
Kluber, who has had an outstanding season so far, started off the inning with two easy outs to Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts. He gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia, but was able to Ortiz to ground out to end the inning. Workman was not so lucky in the first. After a flyout by Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera reached on a single for the first hit for the Indians. While Michael Brantley was batting, Cabrera stole second, and then Brantley brought him in with a single of his own. The Indians led 1-0. Jason Kipnis hit a line drive to Pedroia, and Lonnie Chisenhall hit a soft grounder to the pitcher to end the inning. The Indians have grabbed the early lead in each game in the series.
A.J. Pierzynski led off the top of the second with a double to deep right-center. Kluber was able to come back and get his first strike out of the game against past hometown hero Grady Sizemore. Stephen Drew, who was playing in just his second game of the season, grounded out for the second out of the inning. Kluber then nailed Daniel Nava in the ankle. With two men on, Kluber stuck out Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the inning.
Kluber and Workman each had a scoreless 1-2-3 inning in the third. To this point in the game, it was looking like it was going to be a classic pitcher’s duel between the two right-handers.
The fourth was much like the third for Kluber. After a leadoff walk to Ortiz, Pierzynski hit into a fielder’s choice to allow him to reach, but Kluber followed that up with a groundout by Sizemore and a strike out to Drew. The Tribe had much of the same. Brantley led off the inning with a single, but Kipnis hit into a fielder’s choice and then Chisenhall and Murphy flew out. To this point in the game, the Red Sox had only three hits and the Indians had only four.
In the past couple of starts by Kluber, by this point of the game he had normally generated five or more strike outs. In this start, he had only three strike outs heading into the fifth. He led off that inning by getting Nava with a strike out. Followed by a fly out and a ground out to Bradley Jr. and Holt respectively.
Gomes would come out to draw a walk to lead off the inning against Workman. He would come back to work around the walk by getting the next three men to flyout and induce two ground outs. Each pitcher had still been pitching dominantly up to this point in the game.
In the sixth inning, the wheels began to fall off for both pitchers. For Kluber, he started the inning by hitting Bogaerts on the right elbow. Wincing in pain as he walked down the first baseline, he ended up staying in the game. This was the second hit batter in the game for Kluber, who had hit only one batter coming into this start tonight. He was able to get Pedroia to fly out to Murphy, but Ortiz crushed his thirteenth home run of the season to bring the score to 2-1 Red Sox. The Tribe would have to starting hitting the ball again if they wanted to take the series.
Workman came back out for the sixth, but wouldn’t end up recording an out before being removed. Cabrera led off the inning with a walk, and then Pierzynski was ejected from the game following the walk. David Ross came in to replace Pierzynski. Brantley then followed the walk with a single. Workman was then removed and Chris Capuano was summoned from the pen. With men on the corners, Kipnis shot a rocket up the middle to score Cabrera. The score was then tied at 2-2. After a short discussion with third base coach Mike Sarbaugh, Chisenhall went for a bunt to move the runners over. Instead, he laid down a beautiful bunt and was able to reach to bring the bases loaded for Murphy. He was able to get the job done as he shot a single into right field to score Brantley and Kipnis. Capuano would not record an out before he was replaced by Burke Badenhop who would go on to record the next three outs. The score was then 4-2 Indians going into the seventh.
Kluber came back out for the seventh with only having four strike outs in the game. He did however induce seven ground balls in the game. He did not start off the inning on the right though as he walked Drew to start off the inning. Nava then followed Drew with a long at bat and laced a single into left. Bradley Jr. then hit a sac bunt to move the runners over, and then Holt hit a two run single to drive them in. The Indians and Red Sox were then tied again at 4-4. Kluber was then removed from the game in way of Scott Atchison. This ended a string of games where Kluber went at least 6.2 innings and striking out at least 9 batters. Atchison then came on to strike out Bogaerts and got Pedroia to fly out to end the inning.
Badenhop stayed on to pitch the top of the seventh, and got Mike Aviles to ground out sharply to Bogaerts. After the out, he was then replaced by left-hander Craig Breslow. Breslow pitched in yesterday’s game and did not fair too well. He was a different story in tonight’s game as he struck out both Bourn and Cabrera.
Nick Hagadone came out to start the top of the eighth, making his second appearance since he was called up from Triple-A Columbus. Ortiz led off the inning, and hit a liner up the middle, but Hagadone was able to knock it down and Cabrera was able to throw him out. Ross then made his first plate appearance of the game after the ejection to Pierzynski in the sixth. Hagadone was able to strike him out for the second out in the inning. Axford then came into replace Hagadone, and he also got a strike out of his own. He’s still trying to work his way back into the back end of the bullpen.
With a 4-4 tie going into the bottom of the eighth, the Indians were looking for some type of offense to retake the lead. Brantley, Kipnis and Chisenhall were due up for the Tribe. They were not able to get the job done though as Brantley lined up, Kipnis was popped up to Bogaerts, and Chisenhall broke his bat and hit a dribbler to Breslow who threw him out.
The Red Sox were looking to get something done in the ninth to at least take one game out of the series. Unfortunately, they were not able to execute. Axford stayed in the game to start the inning and struck out Drew for the first out. Josh Outman then replaced him to face Nava and Bradley Jr. Nava flew out to right, but Bradley hit a weak grounder to the right of the infield. Chisenhall went to make a play on it, but botched the ball and Bradley Jr. was able to reach. They called it a hit, but it looked like it should have been an error on Chisenhall. This was all for naught as Holt flew out to right. The Tribe was now looking to have some walk-off magic heading into the ninth.
Junichi Tazawa came on to start the ninth, following an impressive couple of innings by Badenhop and Breslow. He was on to face Murphy, Gomes, and Giambi. Murphy hit a hard line drive to right, Gomes struck out. The next batter of the inning was Giambi, who was made famous last year because of his clutch walk off home runs against the White Sox. He was hoping to do that again to send everyone home, but instead he powered a drove a double to the right field corner. With two out, Aviles was up to try and send everyone home. He was not able to get the job done though as he flew out to center. After the game had already been delayed by rain, they would then head into extra innings.
Bryan Shaw was called from the bullpen to face Bogaerts, Pedroia and Ortiz. Shaw had the night off yesterday, but he has been used a lot lately. To lead off the inning, Bogaerts grounded weakly to Shaw for the first out. Pedroia then followed Bogaerts with a strike out. Ortiz was able to get a single off of Shaw with two outs, but it didn’t matter as Ross still struck out to send them to the bottom of the tenth.
Koji Uehara was on to pitch for the tenth to face Bourn, Cabrera and Brantley. Bourn put up a good at bat, but nonetheless he grounded out to second for the first out. Cabrera flew out to deep right, and Brantley struck out. At 1:27 A.M. on Thursday morning, the Indians and Red Sox were the only game being played in all of the MLB.
After a solid inning of relief by Shaw, Carlos Carrasco (1-3) was on to pitch the eleventh. With Johnny Gomes leading off, Carrasco hits him to put the leadoff man on base. Drew laid down a bunt hoping to move Gomes to second, but Aviles was able to turn the bunt to Cabrera at second to get Gomes at second. Nava and Bradley Jr. followed with back-to-back strike outs.
Kipnis, Chisenhall, and Murphy were due up for the bottom of the eleventh. Kipnis led off the inning with a walk. Chisenhall laid down a perfect bunt to move Kipnis over to second. Murphy popped up on the infield, and with two down Gomes came up to the plate to try and score Kipnis from second, but he was not able to send him home as he struck out.
Another easy 1-2-3 inning for Carrasco as he got Holt and Pedroia to strike out. Edward Mujica (2-2) came on to pitch for the Red Sox in the bottom of the twelfth. Ryan Raburn was on the bat for Giambi, after he became the pinch runner for Giambi in the ninth. He was then called out on strikes. Aviles hit an infield single with one down. Bourn then followed Aviles with a single of his own into right field. With runners on the corners now, Cabrera came up to the plate. After the Red Sox pulled their outfields way in, put Nava at first and moved Holt to the infield, all Cabrera had to do was elevate the ball for a sac fly.
Cabrera decided to one up that decision.
Cabrera drove a pitch to the Red Sox bullpen for a three run walk-off home run. The Indians complete their second consecutive sweep. They are now 3.5 games behind the AL leading Detroit Tigers.
This was a game that the Indians desperately needed to win as they are now sitting at 30-30. After having times where the Indians could not put any type of winning streak together, they have cleaned up their season and are not .500 for the season. Even when Kluber wasn’t very “Kluber-like,” the offense and bullpen was able to pick him up and still pull out a win.
The Indians are off tomorrow, but they’ll be back at it again on Friday as they’ll face the Texas Rangers. Trevor Bauer (1-2, 3.63) will be on the mound to face Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.08 ERA) in Arlington. First pitch is at 8:05.
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