Player of the Game
David Murphy won his fourth Player of the Game of the year tonight, with his third four RBI game of the season. He rocketed ahead of Corey Kluber (6.19) and Carlos Santana (6.79), who had been leading most of the night, with his two run double in the eighth that gave the Indians a 9-2 lead. He then added another RBI double in the ninth to give him five hits in the game and five RBI for a POG score of 10.21, the second best game by any Indians player this season (the best was Corey Kluber on 4/24). He teamed up with Lonnie Chisenhall, giving two Indians hitters five hits in a 9 inning game for the first time since 1928.
Carlos Santana was thrown out at home in last night’s game while representing the tying run, so he stepped up his speed game in tonight’s match. After walking to lead off the second inning, Santana stole second base, his second steal of the year after stealing just three in each of the last two seasons. Santana then scored from second on a David Murphy single to right for the first run of the game.
There are some inexplicable cases where a player/team struggles or is on fire against a certain team or ballpark and one of those trends continued tonight as the Indians hit Dustin McGowan all over the ballpark. The Indians were already McGowan’s toughest opponent with an 11.05 ERA coming into the game. The Tribe added on to that today, although not quite at the historical pace. At the heart of the scoring were a few players not on the team last time the Indians played McGowan, Murphy and Lonnie Chisenhall. Both left handers went 2-2 against McGowan with a run scored and two RBI between them. The Indians also had plenty of scoring chances that they didn’t convert as they scored four runs on eight hits and two walks in 4+ innings.
For the second time this season, Carlos Santana looks to be ending his season long slump. Santana walked in each of his first two at bats before smashing a two run home run into the second deck in right field. The home run gave him five on the season and a modest three game hitting streak (six game on base streak). Other outstanding offensive performers included Chisenhall (5-6), Murphy (5-6) and Asdrubal Cabrera (3-5), each of whom had at least three hits and an RBI in the contest. Mike Aviles (2-4), Yan Gomes (2-6, 3 run HR) and Michael Bourn (2-5) each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored while Santana lead the way with three runs scored. Even Jose Ramirez, who came in as an injury replacement, added an RBI single for his first career run batted in.
Corey Kluber carried a perfect game into the fifth before Adam Lind crushed a one out double down the line in left. Nyjer Morgan had just come in for Michael Brantley and made an awkward attempt, obviously wanting to preserve the perfect game, but was unable to come up with the ball. The shut out disappeared almost as quickly as Brett Lawrie hit a double that went all the way to the wall in center, scoring Lind. Despite that, Kluber went eight innings, allowing just two runs and striking out nine.
Playing on turf can be dangerous as the Indians found out multiple times tonight. Michael Brantley was pulled from the game with a sore back during the fifth inning, then his replacement, Nyjer Morgan hurt himself as well. As stated before, Morgan make an odd looking move as he looked like he was going to dive, but pulled up at the last second, only to fall down a moment later. He was pulled an inning later for Jose Ramirez, without even getting to bat. Mike Aviles took over for Morgan in left field with Ramirez playing second.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 15 – Toronto Blue Jays 4
On Deck: The Tribe and Blue Jays will play the rubber match in Toronto at 7:07 PM, Thursday night.