Roster Update: Jason Giambi was brought back from the DL tonight after missing most of the first month with broken ribs after being hit by a pitch during Spring Training. Blake Wood has been sent back to Columbus to make room on the 25 man roster, giving the Indians a more conventional seven man bullpen.
Player of the Game
Jason Kipnis lead the offense and was responsible for three of the Indians four runs scored. In the one run victory, he was unquestionably the most important offensive player as he hit a double and two run home run, giving him two runs scored and two RBI. This was his second Player of the Game award of the season with a score of 5.62.
There was a rare sighting at today’s Indians game and it wasn’t the squirrel. The Tribe hit two home runs in the same game for just the second time this year. Michael Brantley hit the first two run home run in the fourth inning with Jason Kipnis on second and one out to give the Indians a 2-0 lead and Kipnis hit the second two run shot himself in the sixth inning. Kansas City had scored three times in the fifth to gain the lead, so Kipnis’ home run, that scored Nick Swisher from second, was necessary to regain the lead.
In addition to the home runs, Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall each hit doubles while Swisher added two of his own for some much missed power from the top of the lineup. The Indians top three hitters in the lineup hadn’t had an extra base hit between them in the past five game, so four from Kipnis and Swisher tonight was a pleasant surprise.
Outside of the note listed below, Zach McAllister was solid again tonight, pitching through the sixth for the third straight start, something only Corey Kluber has matched so far this year. He allowed four extra base hits, but limited the damage, giving up just two earned runs. Two double plays aided McAllister, as did the fact that he didn’t walk a batter until his departure in the seventh inning.
After McAllister left, the bullpen did their thing again and shut down the Royals for three innings. Marc Rzepczynski finished the seventh with a pick-off and a strike out before Cody Allen threw an easy 1-2-3 eighth. To finish out the ninth, John Axford came in and recorded his league leading seventh save. In a big change from last night, Axford retired the side in order. As a unit the bullpen has converted seven of nine save opportunities, ten holds and holds the third best ERA in the league at 2.63 (only Boston, 2.20 and Oakland, 2.40 are better).
The normally great defender, Zach McAllister, cost himself a run in the fifth inning with an error on an easy sacrifice bunt. Jerrod Dyson was attempting to push Alcides Escobar to third, but scored him instead when McAllister threw the ball into the stands. The Indians defense has been their biggest flaw so far this season and it was made even more clear tonight. The reason Escobar was on second in the first place was because Michael Bourn had the ball pop out of his glove on a diving catch. Lonnie Chisenhall added his first two errors of the season, giving the Tribe twenty on the year, the most in the American League (tied with Oakland).
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 4 – Royals 3
On Deck: The Tribe will look to take the series early with Danny Salazar going to the mound against Kansas City ace, James Shields.