Player of the Game
It is rare a relief pitcher wins player of the game in a win, but they are rarely as good as Cody Allen was today. He pitched a perfect tenth, making an incredible diving catch and striking out two. After the Indians got the lead in the top of the 11th, Allen came back in to pitch the bottom of the inning and struck out another without allowing a hit. He earned the win in the game, his third of the season.
Corey Kluber had a decent start today, but it was marred by a very small strike zone, possibly costing Kluber a run early on. He allowed five hits and four walks in 5.1 innings, but multiple times it seemed he had struck the batter out, only to have Chris Guccione call the pitch a ball. The strike zone has been a huge issue this entire season with Red Sox pitchers getting calls well outside the zone with the Indians getting pinched all around.
Michael Brantley started the game red hot, then cooled down some, but was still the best Tribe player today. His first inning solo home run provided the Indians with an early lead and half their runs for through regulartion, then he threw out David Ortiz trying to get a double in the bottom of the inning, helping limit the Sox to just one run that inning. He added a single later in the game to go 2-4 on the night with a contested strike out looking.
Marc Rzepczynski came in to relieve Kluber and threw 1.2 scoreless innings, his best outing since April 21st (1 IP, K, pick off, hold and an inherited runner stranded). This time, he did allow a single and a steal, but stranded Kluber’s runner and induced a double play, striking out one as well. He had struggled after pitching in three consecutive games, but has had at least one game off between his last five and is starting to look like his old self. Bryan Shaw also pitched well, throwing a perfect eighth with one strike out, despite throwing in three consecutive games in Boston.
A lack of clutch hitting pushed the Indians into extras again, but this time Nick Swisher came through with his first home run since May 16th. In the top of the 11th inning, Swisher took an inside fast ball from Junichi Tazawa out to right to give the Indians a 3-2 lead, their first since the middle of the first.
Wasted opportunities continued to haunt the Indians today as they had runners on first and second in both the fourth and fifth innings, but were unable to score. In the fourth, Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis singled with one out, but Lonnie Chisenhall struck out and Nick Swisher ended the inning by flying out to left. After that, Carlos Santana doubled and Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch to repeat the situation with one out an inning later. This time it was Michael Bourn who struck out, after which, Asdrubal Cabrera ended the inning. With runners on first and third in the seventh and no outs, the Indians did get a Gomes sacrifice fly to tie the game, but they are still without an hit with runners in scoring position over the past two games.
The boy in blue behind the plate cost the Indians all day, but one of the biggest came in the ninth inning against John Axford. Axford had already struck out two and walked two and was looking to get out of the inning with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate. Axford threw a pitch on the inside corner in the middle of the strike zone and for the third time in the night, a Boston batter was given extra life as Bradley walked to first instead of being called out on strikes. Luckily for the Tribe, Scott Atchison was able to come in and induce a ground ball to second, that Jason Kipnis made a tremendous play on, to strand all three runners and force extra innings.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 – Boston Red Sox 2
On Deck: Another four game series is on tap as the Angels will come to Cleveland starting Monday at 7:05 PM.