Player of the Game
Corey Kluber was back to his old ways in the desert, spreading four hits across seven innings and striking out eight. Kluber walked just a single batter in those shut out innings and never allowed two base runners in an inning after the first. In addition, three of the five base runners were out on the bases, two in double plays and one caught stealing third, so he only faced two batters over the minimum in those seven innings. It was a high pitch count, because of the large strike out total, that forced him to come out of the game as early as he did.
The one hitter who was kept almost completely silent in last night’s debacle was integral in the Indians early scoring tonight. Michael Bourn hit lead off singles in the first and third innings and both times scored easily. The first play was an odd circumstance where the batted ball struck the security guard’s helmet, then stayed in place by the wall rather than bouncing off. Thinking it was a ground rule double, Gerardo Parra didn’t immediately field it and Bourn took advantage by getting to third. He then scored on an Asdrubal Cabrera sacrifice fly, giving some action to another Indian with a poor outing last night.
The Indians not only had plenty of scoring opportunities tonight, but they took advantage of them as well. In addition to Bourn’s early runs, Yan Gomes hit a solo home run in the second and Michael Brantley hit one of his own in the fifth (look for the author in the blue batting practice jersey to the right at 0:12 seconds). The Indians put together their only multi-run inning together in the seventh when Brantley walked, Jason Kipnis doubled him home, then Lonnie Chisenhall scored him as well with a single. With the tremendous outing by Kluber, any two of these innings would have been enough to put away the game, but after last night’s endless nightmare, it was good to see the Indians keep adding on.
After eight shut out innings, Marc Rzepczynski was unable to keep the Diamondbacks down in the ninth, giving up the first Arizona run of the game on a Miguel Montero single. Scott Atchison had pitched a perfect eighth just prior and Kluber had gone seven scoreless, but it wasn’t enough for the shut out. Rzepczynski’s undoing was his biggest weakness all season, facing right handers. With two outs, Paul Goldschmidt came to the plate after striking out in his first three at bats. He worked a full count and Rzepczynski eventually walked him, leading to the Montero at bat. With more right handers coming up after Montero, Cody Allen was forced to pitch to the final batter of the game.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 6 – Arizona Diamondbacks 1
On Deck: The Tribe will take Thursday off before heading to Seattle for three.