Player of the Game
Carlos Santana’s home run last night may have been the slump buster as he went 2-4 against tonight with another home run. This time, it was a two run shot to right in the sixth inning that gave the Tribe their first two runs of the game. Jered Weaver had seemed unhittable to that point, but after a Mike Aviles single, three straight batters reached base safely to remove him from the game. Santana’s other hit was a two out, bunt single earlier in the game that didn’t help the Indians score, but did help increase Santana’s batting average, which is much more important to Santana. He also walked with the bases loaded for his third RBI of the game, giving him a final POG score of 5.73.
Terry Francona took a huge risk in the fourth, but it paid off as intentionally walking the batter in front of Albert Pujols didn’t come back to haunt him. Of course, that batter was Mike Trout, the best young hitter in the league and he came to the plate with runners at second and third with one out. The inning started with an Asdrubal Cabrera error (3) and two singles off Corey Kluber brought in an unearned run and the difficult situation. After walking Trout, Pujols smashed a huge foul ball down the left field line, but ultimately popped out right in front of the plate. Raul Ibanez struck out on a weak check swing to end the inning without further damage.
The Indians did something out of the ordinary when they mounted a comeback in the seventh inning. After the Angels had added an extra the inning before, Michael Bourn, Lonnie Chisenhall and Aviles all reached base safely to start the seventh. Santana then walked with the bases juiced for one run and Michael Brantley followed with a sacrifice fly to bring it to within one. Things ended there, however, as Asdrubal Cabrera struck out (he had been 3-3 in the game to that point) and Jason Giambi flew out to right.
The Indians heart and soul broke today as Jason Kipnis came up limping after it looked like he strained his right oblique. It looked like he hurt himself on a poor swing in the fourth inning that ultimately turned into a double play. It was the type of play Kipnis would normally beat out at first, but he was unable to run and the double play was turned easily. Aviles replaced him on defense for the bottom of the inning. If it is a serious oblique injury, it will be an automatic trip to the DL as it generally takes players at least a month to recover. In that, worst case scenario, the Indians would likely use Aviles as the starting second baseman and have to bring up a new utility man, possibly Jose Ramirez, from AAA. Even if he doesn’t miss a whole month, the Indians offense can hardly stand to lose Kipnis at all.
After a fantastic complete game outing in his last start, Corey Kluber was unable to make it through five tonight. He gave up eight singles, a hit batter and three walks, leading to an extremely high pitch count (and a high stressful pitch count) early in the game. In the fifth, the inning seemed to be over when J.B. Shuck grounded into a double play, but a Mike Scioscia challenge overturned the call, giving the Angels runners at first and third with two outs. After a steal and a walk, Howie Kendrick broke things open with a two run single on Kluber’s 92nd and final pitch. He needed just 101 pitches to get through nine against the Royals last time out.
Matching up didn’t work out too well in the sixth as both C.C. Lee and Josh Outman allowed their similarly handed hitters to reach base. Scott Atchison came in for Outman and induced a double play to eliminate Raul Ibanez, who had walked, but Erick Aybar hit a ball back to the pitcher that bounced over his head, scoring Pujols from third and giving the Angels a 5-2 lead.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 4 – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6
On Deck: The Indians will work to win their first game on the road trip, tomorrow night at 7:05 PM against the Angels in the series finale. Zach McAllister will move up in the rotation to make the start against C.J. Wilson.