Player of the Game
It’s amazing that one of the Indians premier hitters has went almost a full month before his first Player of the Game award, but Carlos Santana has finally broken his 0-for. His fourth inning home run broke an 0-12 stretch that spanned five games. The best thing about this single instance is that it occurred while he was the DH, possibly quieting those (including Santana himself) who insist he hits better while playing in the field. Santana added another single (and took second on a throwing error) later in the game, adding 18 points to his average and finishing with a 6.03 POG score.
Santana has struggled all season offensively, coming into the game with a .122 average and just three RBI, and it looked like things would continue in the fourth inning when he got into an 0-2 count against Tyler Skaggs with runners on first and second. Skaggs then threw two pitches that broke near his ankles to make the count 2-2. Just trying to throw a strike, Skaggs put a fast ball right down the center of the plate and even a slumping Santana couldn’t miss it, doubling his RBI total on one swing of the bat and giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
It may not have been the way they usually do it, but Mike Trout and Albert Pujols combined to push the first run across in the first. Trout hit a looper to right center that should have been a single, but Michael Bourn got caught in between and couldn’t decide whether to dive, or to get behind the ball. In the end, he let it get through, playing it into an easy triple. Pujols, the greatest power hitter active in the Majors right now, then hit a slow grounder up the middle that scored Trout on the fielder’s choice.
Justin Masterson started his own trouble in the fifth inning, walking the lead-off hitter and giving up a single to David Freese right after. A Hank Conger sacrifice bunt put the runners at second and third for J.B. Shuck, but Masterson buckled down and struck him out to keep them there. Just when it looked like he could get out without any damage done, Erick Aybar lined a 2-1 pitch down the right field line to score both runners and tie the game at three.
The Indians defense came back to haunt them again as an error by Nick Swisher allowed the Angels to take the lead in the eighth inning. After the lead-off error, Masterson allowed a single to Trout, intentionally walked Pujols and gave up a triple to Raul Ibanez, giving Los Angeles a three run lead. The batter retired in the inning by Masterson was Aybar who hit a sacrifice bunt, making two of the three runs earned. In addition to the defensive lapse, it was an odd move by Terry Francona to leave Masterson in at all after he had already shown signs of tiring and was well past 100 pitches.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6
On Deck: The Indians and Angels will try it again, same time, different day. Corey Kluber will take on the Angel ace, Jered Weaver at 10:05 PM in the East.