Roster Update: There are two roster moves to announce prior to tonight's game. Matt Langwell was sent back down a day after he was brought up to make room for tonight's starter, Danny Salazar. Also, the Indians have been so impressed by Ryan Raburn's unbelievable (and unsustainable) production that they have given the utility player a two year contract extension, ensuring that he will stay in Cleveland through 2015 with an option for 2016.
Player of the Game
If there was one player to blame for the epic marathon of baseball played tonight between the Indians and Tigers, it was Yan Gomes. Gomes hit a solo home run early in the game to score the first Indians run and knocked in the tying run in the eighth with a ground out to short. His POG score of 4.21 just beat out Nick Swisher's three hit night.
Danny Salazar had his fast ball working tonight, hitting as high as 100 MPH with an average speed of at least 98. This was especially prevalent during the third inning, when he struck out the side, almost exclusively with the fast ball, after having some trouble controlling his breaking pitches the previous inning. Salazar didn't blow it all early either, he was still pitching at 99 MPH when he neared 100 pitches in the eighth.
Nick Swisher reacquainted himself with second base today as he hit his first extra base hit in the Indians last seven games. The third inning double scored Michael Bourn from first after the Indians' lead-off hitter walked. The RBI hit was part of a two run inning that gave the Indians the lead. He found his way back soon after when his seventh inning RBI double gave the Indians the lead again.
Salazar pitched well in his second career start, setting career highs in strike outs (10), innings pitched (7.2) and sadly, home runs allowed (2). Overall, he was dominant with just two home runs (by Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson) keeping him from winning his second game.
The Indians proved again tonight that they can hang with the Tigers, despite the differences in record. Each of the games in this series has been close, with two of three decided in the final inning. Tonight the Indians were more than capable of matching the Tigers through the first 13 innings of the game. That being said, losing the first three games of the series essentially cancels out any good that the previous 10-1 stretch did as the Indians fall to six games back in the Central Division chase.
Nick Swisher looked silly in the outfield again today, showing the vast difference between him and the Indians normal starting right fielder, Drew Stubbs. Early in the game Swisher misplayed a Victor Martinez single, but wasn't hurt as Martinez is possibly the slowest player in the Majors. His misplay in the seventh inning did hurt him however, as he turned a single into a triple when he let a ball bounce off the wall and through his legs.
Terry Francona decided to stick with Salazar in the eighth inning with the game on the line and Miguel Cabrera at bat and the decision proved costly for the Indians. The move made sense as Salazar had struck out Cabrera in each of his first three at bats, but on the first pitch of the fourth match up, Cabrera hit a ball as far as any one can to give the Tigers a one run lead.
Three innings was too much for Bryan Shaw, who allowed two base runners to reach bas in the 14th inning, eventually leading to a late two run lead by Detroit, after he was replaced by Marc Rzepczynski. Since the Indians played almost two full games worth of innings tonight, it is only fair that every player on the roster (that isn't a starting pitcher) played with the exception of Matt Albers and Mark Reynolds.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Detroit Tigers 6