Player of the Game
Danny Salazar ended his rookie season in style today, throwing 5.1 innings and striking out eight. He allowed just one earned run while he was in the game, giving up a solo home run to Avisail Garcia. After being removed, Bryan Shaw did allow one more of Salazar's runners to score, but he still kept his season ERA at 3.12 in his first Major League season.
The importance of a solid defense showed itself again in the second inning when two poor plays allowed the Indians to tie the game. First, Lonnie Chisenhall was safe at first on a fielder's choice that should have been a double play, then was moved to second on a wild pitch. A third defensive lapse, this time an error by third baseman Marcus Semien, allowed Drew Stubbs to reach base and Chisenhall to score the tying run. A legitimate single by Michael Brantley then brought Stubbs home to give the Indians the lead.
Eye On History: Tonight was Danny Salazar's last scheduled start of 2013 and he continued his torrid strike out pace that he started in his first start. With eight strike outs in 5.1 innings, Salazar now holds the greatest K/9 (11.3) of any Indians pitcher with more than 20 innings pitched (Salazar has thrown 52 innings). The second best starting pitcher was Herb Score, who struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings over 714.1 innings.
Milestone Alert: Michael Brantley's fifth inning double was the 100th of his career. It was also his fifth consecutive hit going back to last night's event. Also, with his 75th appearance, Cody Allen has become the third most used pitcher in a single season for the Cleveland Indians. He is currently tied with Paul Assenmacher's 1997 campaign, but while Assenmacher only threw 49 innings that season, Allen has thrown 69 already.
Quite possibly the tallest and most athletic closer in Indians history, Justin Masterson made his return to baseball tonight by throwing the ninth. He struck out two and allowed a single while pitching a scoreless inning.
As suspected, Michael Bourn was injured in last night's game and was unable to make the start tonight after jamming his right wrist while sliding into second. Luckily, it was not his throwing arm that was injured and Bourn was available to pinch run in tonight's game, which he did in the sixth inning.
The Indians don't get to play the White Sox again this year. They won the final 14 games against the South Siders, going 17-2 overall on the year. Without this impressive run, the Indians would not be a play-off competitor this year.
It has been a foregone conclusion for awhile now, but Detroit made things official when they beat the Twins last night to clinch a play-off spot. With a win tonight, they will clinch the Central Division, making them the last team in the AL to clinch a division.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Chicago White Sox 2