By: T.J. Zuppe
The Cleveland Indians climbed back to the .500 mark at 35-35 with Tuesday night's 4-3 win against the Kansas City Royals, a comeback effort that was sparked by a three-run eighth inning rally.
The Tribe showed some resiliency after falling behind 3-1 late in the ballgame.
Cleveland left-fielder Michael Brantley, who has been slumping a bit lately at the plate, delivered what became the game-winning RBI sac-fly in the eighth after falling behind in the count to Royals lefty Tim Collins.
Down, but never out, that is how Brantley believes this club views any deficit.
"It's just something we preach in the dugout," Brantley said. "We're not done until our last out. We're always going to battle. We have a great group of guys in this locker room. Very talented. We can score a lot of runs but we also need to manufacture runs. We've been doing a great job of just battling and grinding out at-bats.
"This is a great win. It was a team effort. Hopefully it keeps us rolling through the rest of this series and the homestand."
The win vaulted the Tribe back in front of the Royals in the American League Central division. Coupled with a Tigers loss, Cleveland moves to within 4.5 games of front-running Detroit.
By: TJ Zuppe
Win: Aaron Crow (3-2)
Loss: Bryan Shaw (0-1)
Save: Greg Holland (15)
What went down: The Royals jumped the Indians in the standings by knocking off the Tribe, 2-1. Carlos Carrasco spun 7.1 one-run masterful innings but a late rally by Kansas City pushed the Royals into second place in the AL Central, a half-game better than Cleveland and spoiled an excellent performance by the righty.
Stranded: The Indians struck out four times with a runner at third base. The most frustrating of the at-bats came in the ninth, with Kansas City leading 2-1. After Michael Bourn doubled and advanced to third on a wild-pitch, Mike Aviles struck out swinging with one out in the inning. The reigning AL co-player of the week, Jason Kipnis also struck out twice with the bases loaded. His 10-game hit streak came to an end.
Carrasco’s Revenge: Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco faced the Royals for the first time since being suspended back in 2011 for throwing at DH Billy Butler. After that start, Carrasco underwent Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch again until this season. If Carrasco was shooting for some sort of revenge, he got at least a little. The righty was as dominant as we’ve seen in his Wahoo career, showing a willingness to throw inside and supreme confidence in his stuff – which was impressive in its own right. He left in the eighth leading 1-0. The run charged to him scored on a cheap bloop double off of Bryan Shaw.
Santana Giveth, Santana Taketh Away: The Indians only run came courtesy of catcher Carlos Santana. The switch-hitting slugger belted his 10th homer of the season into the seats in right-field in the sixth. He extended his hitting streak to nine games with the blast. However, Santana’s less-than-stellar block of a pitch in the dirt allowed a ball to skip away and the Royals’ go-ahead run to score in the ninth.
Second guessing: I had no problem with Terry Francona taking Carrasco out in the eighth, all things considered. Shaw has been very good in not allowing inherited runners to score and for as good as Carrasco was, one of his biggest plaguing issues has been allowing innings to snowball. Shaw made his pitch but experienced some bad luck in the bloop double. The only issue I had with Francona was when he let John McDonald hit to lead off the bottom of the ninth. I would have prefered to give Yan Gomes an opportunity to tie the game with one swing of the bat. In my opinion, the real reasons the Tribe lost on Monday were the small village left on base by the offense and Santana's inability to block a pitch he probably should have.
Up next: The Tribe sends righty Ubaldo Jimenez to the hill. The Royals counter with right-hander Ervin Santana. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM.
By: TJ Zuppe
Win: Corey Kluber (5-4)
Loss: Stephen Strasburg (3-6)
Save: Vinnie Pestano (1)
What went down: Corey Kluber locked down Nationals hitters over eight shut-out innings, Vinnie Pestano picked up his first save of the season and the Indians picked up RBI from Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis to take the game and the series from Washington, 2-0.
Kluberin’ Time: Is it coincidence that the Indians acquired Corey Kluber in the Jake Westbrook trade several years ago? After all, their start to their Tribe careers are starting to become eerily similar. Both reached the big leagues without much of an afterthought. Both started on the outside looking in at the starting rotation, picking up spot starts where they could. And now Kluber, like Westbrook, has forced himself into a regular rotation spot with solid outings that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Missing defense: For the second straight night, the Indians were sloppy on defense, especially in the infield. John McDonald, known for his glove, was charged with a throwing error and Mark Reynolds failed to catch a ball at first that resulted in another. This came a night after a dropped pop-up in foul territory cost the Tribe a chance to win. Cleveland just isn’t good enough to kick the ball around and have it not come back to haunt. Luckily, Kluber bailed out his team’s behind on several occasions, working out of major jams.
How did he do it? Speaking of those jams, Kluber managed to wiggle out of three huge ones. None were bigger than in the seventh when after loading the bases with nobody out, Kluber managed to induce a line-out to first for a double-play and a ground-out to short.
Call the fire department: Wahoo second-baseman Jason Kipnis is absolutely on fire. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the sixth, walked twice and scored a run after stealing a base and advancing to third on an error by the catcher. He also drove home an insurance run with a sac-fly RBI in the eighth. Since May 3rd, the left-handed hitter is batting .308 with eight homers, 30 RBI and 10 stolen bases over 41 games.
Up Next: The Indians host the Royals to start a three-game series on Monday. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco will make the start fresh off of his suspension. Kansas City will oppose with righty James Shields. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM.
By Tim Naida | ESPNCleveland.com
Cleveland Indians Closer Chris Perez is under investigation in a drug-related incident. A June 4th multi-jurisdictional operation of the Web Narcotics Unit and US Postal Service uncovered controlled narcotics at an address in Rocky River. The matter is still under consideration and no charges have been filed.
The Cleveland Indians today issued a statement regarding Perez:
"Earlier this morning we were made aware of a situation involving RHP Chris Perez that occurred yesterday in Rocky River,” said Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti. “We have talked with Chris and are currently in the process of gathering additional information. We will not have any additional comment at this time."
By: T.J. Zuppe
Final Score: Rays 11, Indians 3
Win: Jeremy Hellickson (3-2)
Loss: Zach McAllister (4-5)
What went down: The Rays took the series finale after Indians starter Zach McAllister struggled in the loss. His 4.1-inning performance was his shortest outing of the season and snapped a string of starts in which he lasted at least five innings and gave up three runs or less.
More on McAllister: The righty really didn't have his best command. He missed several times just off the dish, appeared to overthrow at times and was not the beneficiary of much good defense behind him. He walked four and struck out zip. It was the first time all season we saw McAllister unable to battle through despite not having his best stuff.
Blah: That is how I would describe how the Tribe played. Some physical mistakes cost them early and some bad pitching hurt them late. The game hung in the balance in the fifth, but Cleveland couldn’t push a run across after two men reached base and the Tampa expanded their lead in the top of the sixth by scoring two. After that, the Wahoos looked lifeless, dead, asleep… pick your adjective.
Anyone know anyone left-handed? Because the Indians could surely use one in their bullpen. After Scott Barnes was unable to give Terry Francona any length on Friday night, Nick Hagadone and Rich Hill struggled on Sunday. Neither was able to hold the Rays at bay and allow the offense a chance to rally. Right now, Francona doesn’t have many options when it comes to finding a lefty he can trust in relief of his starters and the problem seems to be growing.
Up next: The Indians begin a stretch of nine road games in 11 days on Monday in New York. The Tribe sends ace Justin Masterson to the bump (8-3, 3.07) to attempt to build on his all-star resume. New York counters with Andy Pettitte (4-3, 3.83). First pitch at Yankee Stadium is set for 7:05 PM.
By: TJ Zuppe | ESPNCleveland.com
Final Score: Indians 7, Reds 1
Win: Scott Kazmir (3-2) 7 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1BB, 5 K, 93 pitches, 66 strikes
Loss: Homer Bailey (3-4) 3.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 77 pitches, 51 strikes
What went down: The Tribe received two-out RBI from Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Ryan Raburn, Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera in a seven-run fourth inning that propelled the Indians past the Reds, 7-1. Scott Kazmir picked up his third win of the season in a strong performance.
Much better: After a couple rough outings, lefty Scott Kazmir was very encouraging and seemed to take a much-needed step back in the right direction. He attacked the zone and was very efficient in managing his pitch count. It allowed him to pitch deep into the game. His seven innings pitched were the most he has logged in a game since May 22nd, 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Get the mojo back: After dropping five in a row before Wednesday’s 5-2 Wahoo winner, the Tribe seemed to lose a bit of the mojo they gained from a terrific stretch of baseball. The Indians badly were in need of a feel good ballgame to shake the funk and hit the reset button. Their seven-run fourth inning appeared to do just that.
Two-out hitting shoes: Some hitters feel comfortable hitting with two strikes. For whatever reason, the Indians have settled into being a great two-out hitting ball club. All seven of their fourth inning run were scored after the Reds retired two. The only member of the Tribe that didn’t join the party was Nick Swisher. He was retired twice in the inning. No word on if he’ll be forced to buy beer for the entire team for that stunt. The Wahoos have now scored a major-league best 119 two-out runs this season.
Go-Go-Gomes: Catcher Yan Gomes collected another three base knocks in the victory and drove in a run. His averaged has ballooned to .319 and continues to earn himself more playing time. In addition to his work with the stick, he has consistently done an excellent job of handling the pitching staff. For those in a panic, he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What a pain: Right-fielder Ryan Raburn left the game in the top of the fifth due to lower-leg cramping. He is officially listed as day-to-day.
Up Next: The Tribe will attempt to make it three in a row when they welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to town on Friday. The Indians will send righty Corey Kluber to the bump (3-3, 4.57). The Rays will counter with stellar left-hander Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21). Moore is tied with Indians hurler Justin Masterson for the AL lead in wins.
|T.J. Zuppe covers the Cleveland Indians for ESPN 850 WKNR. Catch TJ on The Hooligans weekdays from 3:00p.m.-6:00p.m. on ESPN 850 WKNR.|
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