Player of the Game
Scott Kazmir threw seven innings and allowed just a single run, keeping a tough Reds offense (Votto, Phillips and Choo combined for 2-9) at bay. Kazmir struck out five and walked just one as he threw more than 70% of his pitches for strikes. While the Reds hitters did take advantage of this from time to time, two double plays helped keep them from scoring on their seven hits. Kazmir earned the win and finished with a final POG score of 5.84. Because the offense was so spread around tonight, six different batters finished with scores between 2.00 and 3.00.
Yan Gomes received a rare start tonight and made the most of it, going 3-4 with an RBI and run scored. Gomes presents an interesting opportunity/challenge for the Indians if they would like to use him more often. Defensively, he is far superior to Carlos Santana in every facet, but the Indians don't want to lose Santana's bat. Using them as they did tonight, with Santana as DH, presents the best possible batting order and defense, but leaves them at risk should something happen to Gomes during the game as they only carry the two catchers.
The Indians may not know that they are allowed to score with less than two outs. Tonight, they scored seven times on six consecutive hits after there were already two outs in the fourth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera lead off the inning when he was hit by a pitch, scored the first run and finished the scoring in the inning with an RBI double to knock in Jason Kipnis from first. Nick Swisher struck out for the first out in the inning and flew out to end it. Other than Swisher and Mark Reynolds (who also struck out), every batter in the Indians line-up got a hit during the fourth inning and (other than Santana) scored and knocked in a run.
If Scott Kazmir has had a single problem this year, it has been that his tendency to work deep in counts forces him to throw a lot of pitches early in the game, leaving him weak in the late innings and forcing him to exit the game early. Tonight, he didn't get the strike outs he usually does (just five in seven innings), but he was able to pitch through the seventh for the first time this year despite allowing eight hits.
Nick Hagadone looked free and easy as he retired the Reds in order in the 8th inning. He took the loss in his last appearance when he allowed a single and a home run for two runs against Cincinnati.
The Ohio Cup will stay in Ohio as the Indians and Reds split their four game home/road series. I believe the Columbus Clippers will get to house the cup for the next year for the geographic place about half way between Cincinnati and Cleveland.
The Indians were unable to score tonight in any situation other than with two outs in the fourth inning.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Cincinnati Reds 1