After two days of not having offense, Tuesday night’s Indians game had everything.
The Tribe busted loose offensively, had high pitch counts, inexcusable errors and a triple play. Even Nick Swisher had multiple hits. The game could have been a nine-inning compressed version of Cleveland’s season through 83 games, but the Tribe was able to win 10-3 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cleveland was keyed by two hits apiece from Jason Kipnis, David Murphy, Swisher and a strong effort from the bullpen. Starters Justin Masterson and Josh Beckett were each unable to go deep into the game, despite a track record that would indicate another pitcher’s duel.
Cleveland’s offense exploded compared to their previous two games, registering two hits and runs on the scoreboard for the first time in over 21 innings in the top of the first inning. With one out, Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right field to tally a hit—equaling the Tribe effort in the previous two games—and advanced to second on a errant pickoff throw from Beckett. After reaching second base, Cabrera was able to trot home on Michael Brantley’s double to right center field, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Lonnie Chisenhall helped the Tribe extend their lead with a two-run home run to right field. Chisenhall’s ninth home run of the season staked the Indians to a 3-0 lead. After just three hits in 21.1 innings, the Indians had to feel like they had a nice lead before the Dodgers even came to hit.
In the bottom of the first inning, Masterson recorded the first out of the inning before Yasiel Puig notched a hustle double. The head first slide into second seemed moot when Adrian Gonzalez crushed a two-run home run to left centerfield, cutting the Indians lead to 3-2.
The inning could have been over quickly when Masterson struck out Matt Kemp for the second out and got Andre Ethier to ground back to the pitcher. However, Masterson’s lob to first that would have ended the inning, hit first baseman Swisher in the glove at eye level, but he dropped the ball. Masterson walked the next two hitters before striking out Carlos Triunfel to end the inning. The error did not cost Cleveland a run, but it did cost Masterson 18 unnecessary pitches.
Masterson did himself no favors in the second inning, logging 34 more pitches, but not giving up a run. Beckett started the inning with a double to right field over Murphy’s head and Dee Gordon doubled to left field. Luckily for the Tribe, Beckett wasn’t hustling and the Dodgers were left with runners at second and third base with no one out. Masterson struck out Puig before intentionally walking Gonzalez to load the bases. With the bases full of Dodgers, Masterson struck out Kemp before inducing a ground ball to first base that Swisher fielded cleanly and lobbed to Masterson covering the bag. The dicey inning had Masterson at 62 pitches after just six outs.
Cleveland extended their lead in the top of the third inning, however, courtesy of Swisher. With two outs in the inning Chisenhall walked and advanced to third base when Kipnis singled down the right field line to put runners on the corners. Swisher redeemed himself, partially, with a double to left center field to score both runners and make it 5-2. Swisher’s hit was just his seventh since coming off the disabled list on June 12, making him 7-for-51 with the RBI-double.
In case the game had not been wild enough through three innings, the Indians and Dodgers took it to another level in the bottom of the fourth inning. Beckett started the inning with a ground rule double to right field. Gordon bunted him to third base, but was also safe at first base, beating the throw. Puig dropped a single in over first base to bring home a run, making it 5-3 Indians, and ending Masterson’s evening.
Masterson lasted just three innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out seven. Kyle Crockett (2-0) replaced Masterson on the mound, looking to record just one out but instead tallied a quirky three. Gonzalez flew out to left field and Brantley made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Gordon, then Yan Gomes threw to second base to cut down Puig trying to advance for a triple play. The triple play was hard earned, with Indians manager Terry Francona challenging and the play at second base. Originally called safe, Puig’s call was overturned and called out. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly then challenged that Gordon was safe at the plate, but that call was not overturned. After one pitch, two throws and two reviews, the Indians ended the inning with a triple play.
Cleveland danced with the devil again in the fifth inning, but avoided disaster. Crockett walked Kemp and allowed a single to Ethier before the Tribe called upon Vinnie Pestano to come on in relief. After allowing a single to Juan Uribe to load the bases, he struck out Drew Butera and pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez. Marc Rzepczynski came on to strike out pinch-hitter Clint Robinson to end the inning and keep the Tribe up 5-3 after five innings. It was the third time in five innings that Los Angeles had the bases loaded but did not score.
Beckett (5-5) had his night cut short after five innings. Despite a no-hitter this year, the Indians hung five runs on six hits and a walk on Beckett. He did strike out five Tribesmen.
Jamey Wright came on to pitch the sixth inning, but had little answer to slow down the Indians’ offense. Kipnis walked to start the inning and advanced to second base on a wild pitch after Swisher struck out looking. Gomes and Murphy provided the offense with back-to-back doubles, plating two more runs and staking the Tribe to a 7-3 lead in the middle of the sixth inning.
Scott Atchison came on and pitched two, uneventful innings while Paul Maholm was only able to toss one before Cleveland tallied more scoring. In the top of the eighth inning the Indians put the game out of reach. Kipnis and Swisher each singled to start the inning and each came home on back-to-back doubles by Gomes and Murphy. Carlos Santana pinch-hit and hit into a double play, but another run scored to open the score up to 10-3, Cleveland.
After going 3-for-64 at the plate in the last 21.1 innings, Cleveland pounded out 13 hits in the game. Kipnis, Gomes and Swisher each had a pair of base hits, while Murphy tallied three hits.
Wednesday the Indians will try to win the series before flying home for the July 4 holiday. The get-away day matinee will feature Trevor Bauer (2-4, 4.39) for Cleveland. Bauer will still be looking for his first road win of his career. He’ll be opposed by left-hander, Hyun-jin Ryu (9-4, 3.12) of the Dodgers. The game is slated to begin at 3:10 p.m. ET from Dodger Stadium.
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