Player of the Game
Drew Stubbs owned this game offensively for the Indians, with two separate two RBI hits. In the second inning Stubbs increased the Indians lead to three with a massive two run home run, then matched the feat with a two run single in the sixth. The game was Stubbs best of the season and the second time that he knocked in at least four runs on the Fourth of July (2010).
Hitstreak Update: Jason Kipnis hit a single in his second at bat to stretch his hitting streak to 15 games and his on base streak to 35. Michael Brantley has just a one game hit streak, but has hit safely nine times in his last five games, including three singles today.
The Indians offense had some comeback in it again today, but it wasn't enough to overcome the bullpen's incompetence. After the Royals tied the game with two home runs in the sixth inning, Carlos Santana hit a two RBI double (scoring Kipnis and Brantley who had reached earlier in the inning). This was the third two run inning in the game for the Tribe.
Ubaldo Jimenez looked like he finally had things together and would actually make it through the sixth and maybe further, but he completely collapsed before retiring a single batter in the sixth inning. He started off by walking the first two batters (an always ominous sign) then allowed the third runner to reach when he missed a ball thrown to him by first baseman Mark Reynolds. Lorenzo Cain then hit the Royals second grand slam of the series and Jimenez was unable to retire a single batter in the sixth before he was pulled from the game.
Apparently no one is safe in the Indians bullpen as the two most consistently successful relievers in the Indians bullpen have blown saves today. Cody Allen came in with bases empty in the sixth inning after Jimenez gave up four runs of the five run lead and immediately allowed a solo home run to George Kotteras to tie the game, good for the first blown save. Allen made it through the rest of the inning without incident and the Indians took a two run lead in the top of the 7th. With another chance at a hold, Joe Smith then walked a batter and gave up a two run home run to Eric Hosmer to blow the save opportunity without retiring a batter. He also retired the side in order after giving up the game tying runs. Prior to today's game the pair of Indians relievers had combined to allow just 16 runs in more than 65 innings pitched.
With no outs in the 8th, things went bad again when Bryan Shaw walked a batter then hit another one. Rich Hill then walked a batter before being removed, still without an out being recorded. Matt Albers then came in and for the third inning in a row, the Indians bullpen gave up the lead or go ahead run without retiring a batter. This time a double brought home all three base runners. Of course after the three runs had scored, Albers got the next three outs in order with no further trouble. The problems all stemmed from an inability to aggressively go after hitters as the only hits recorded in the three terrible innings were RBI hits after batters had reached base via walks, errors or being hit by a pitch. The only exception was the solo home run allowed by Allen, but that play would not have mattered if not for the other mistakes.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Kansas City Royals 10