Tribe Takes Home Win in Season Finale; Indians 2, Royals 1
Bob Toth | On 30, Sep 2018
The biggest news to come out of game 162 was that there were no further injuries to the Tribe’s roster, which may have been the most important thing circled on the day’s agenda for manager Terry Francona. He got in a balanced game from dual starters Carrasco and Bauer, who each gave solid and encouraging efforts in their final action of the regular season. Carrasco earned his 17th win of the season, one short of his career high established a season ago, and Bauer’s four innings of work gave him the first save of his professional career. Regulars in the lineup got a handful of at bats, with only left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso out of the starting lineup against lanky lefty Eric Skoglund.
The Indians got a run in the first and another in the third to take an early lead against Skoglund. The first run came in without the aid of a hit, as Francisco Lindor started the day by reaching on an error by the Royals starter, then stole second and third and crossed the plate safely on an error at third, as the throw from catcher Meibrys Viloria on the latter steal attempt glanced off of the glove of third baseman Alcides Escobar. In Lindor’s second at bat, he took Skoglund deep to left on the second pitch of the third inning, giving him 38 homers on the year and the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Carrasco walked the dangerous Adalberto Mondesi with one out in the first and he picked off second, a trend of his in his limited body of work this season. Carrasco left him stranded at second on a fly out. He allowed a two-out single to Escobar in the second, but struck out Brett Phillips swinging to end to start a stretch of seven straight retired (with four Ks in that span).
The Indians had a chance to add on in the fourth but came away empty handed. Yandy Diaz doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch that nearly hit Melky Cabrera, but Cabrera flied out, Jason Kipnis struck out, and Eric Haase popped out to first.
Carrasco allowed his second hit of the game to start the fifth as Brian Goodwin singled to center. He stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Phillips joined him on the bases after a walk and top prospect Viloria singled to center to drive in Goodwin, cutting the score to 2-1. With two still standing on the base paths, Carrasco avoided the big inning by striking out Whit Merrifield and getting Mondesi to ground to short.
Cleveland squandered another threat in the sixth. With one down against reliever Brian Flynn, Josh Donaldson doubled to center and was lifted for pinch-runner Adam Rosales. Diaz drew a walk and, after a flyout by Cabrera, both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Flynn recovered from a 3-0 count against Kipnis, working it full before striking him out swinging on a slider.
Bauer took over in the sixth and set down the lineup on ten pitches. He needed just six to clear the seventh.
The Indians left another runner in scoring position in the eighth. Edwin Encarnacion singled to start the frame against Ben Lively. After a strikeout by Rosales, Alonso pinch-hit for Diaz and drew a walk. A fielder’s choice force erased Alonso and Brandon Barnes flied out to left.
Bauer had to work out of a jam in the eighth. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest effort in the Majors this season, with a one-out single. On a strikeout for the second out by Mondesi, Merrifield stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Haase. Jorge Bonifacio replaced Merrifield at third as the tying run, but Salvador Perez flied to left to leave the tying run feet from home.
The Indians were retired in order in the ninth by Kevin McCarthy, leaving the Royals down to their final three outs. After a fly out, Rosell Herrera reached on an infield single to second. Goodwin struck out swinging and Escobar grounded back to Bauer for the final out of the regular season.
Cleveland (91-71) moved to 42-39 on the road this season. Their 91 wins are tied for 18th most in a season in Indians history. Eleven of those seasons also resulted in playoff berths. It marks the sixth straight season for the Indians with a winning record, their longest streak since the first eight seasons of the Jacobs Field era.
The Royals (58-104) avoided matching the worst record in franchise history earlier in the series, but their 104th loss did equal the second-most losses in the 50-year history of the ball club. The team did announce prior to the game that, despite posting one of five 100-loss seasons in Royals history, manager Ned Yost will return on a one-year deal for the 2019 season.
Carrasco’s tune up start for October baseball went exactly as needed. He worked an easy five-and-fly, allowing a run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He moved to 17-10 on the year and dropped his ERA to 3.38. His 231 strikeouts were tops on the Indians staff this season. Bauer tag-teamed on the start and worked four shutout innings of two-hit baseball, issuing no walks and striking out a pair while tossing 51 pitches. The save was the first of his big league and minor league careers.
Indians bats were once again silenced with runners on base, going 0-for-10 with men in scoring position. Nine men were left on base in the one-run contest. Cleveland was 12-7 against Kansas City, outscoring them by a 101-71 mark, and the Tribe went 22-24 in one-run games.
Next up for the Indians are the Houston Astros, who will host Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on Friday.
Photo: Brian Davidson/Getty Images