Player of the Game
Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis kept setting things up for the Tribe and Lonnie Chisenhall kept knocking them down. The Chiz Kid tied an Indians record with nine RBI, at least one in each of his first five at bats. Lonnie knocked in the first in the first with a single, then scored two more with a home run in his next at bat. His second home run of the game was another two run shot, scoring Kipnis to give the Indians a 12-4 lead. After the Rangers put a couple more across, Chisenhall came back again, this time scoring Brantley from first with a two out double. He capped things off in the eighth inning with his third home run of the game, a three run shot scoring Kipnis and Brantley. His POG score of 17.94 was the highest on record since I’ve started recording in 2007.
The Indians had the benefit of facing an inexperienced pitcher in Nick Martinez and took advantage of it immediately. Martinez pitched just 31 innings in AA before making his MLB debut this season due to the vast amount injuries affecting the Rangers this year. Coming into the game, he had already walked 20 in 44 innings and the Indians added a few more onto that, walking twice in the first and again in the second. The Indians took advantage, putting across eight runs in two innings and running Martinez from the game.
In addition to the walks, the middle of the lineup came through with a few clutch hits to score the runs. Jason Kipnis knocked in the first with a bases loaded ground out in the first, then Lonnie Chisenhall brought home another with a single. One more fielder’s choice, this time by Carlos Santana, brought in the third and final run of the first. George Kottaras got things started the next inning with his third home run of the season, then the top got things started again. This inning was similar to the first as Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Michael Brantley walked, but Kipnis changed things up with a two out, two run single. It was then Chisenhall who finished off Martinez with a two run home run to bring home Kipnis.
The Indians got home run happy on their last night in Texas as they hit two more in the fourth inning in addition to the two in the second. For Kottaras, the solo shot was his third in his first five at bats as an Indian. Michael Brantley also had a special solo shot, his career high tenth of the season. Of course, the most spectacular was Chisenhall, who hit three home runs in the game for the first time ever, his first multi-home run game since 2011.
This game could have been a negative despite the offense after T.J. House left in the fourth inning, but the combination of Scott Atchison and John Axford saved the Indians bullpen by throwing four of the final six innings. Combined, the two relievers allowed no runs and just four hits while striking out four over 3.2 innings. Carlos Carrasco did allow a run on a solo home run in the eighth, but calmed down to strike out the final batter of the inning. Josh Outman pitched a scoreless ninth as Terry Francona did a good job managing his pen, keeping any one player from overworking themselves and not using any pitcher who threw yesterday.
Chisenhall has gotten his props for the night, but some focus needs to be placed on the set up men as well. Cabrera, Brantley and Kipnis combined on the night to go 9/13 with two walks, 11 runs scored and five RBI. Individually, Brantley lead the way by reaching base and scoring each time up (gratefully aided by Chisenhall) while Kipnis knocked in four on his own.
Lost in all the Indians runs, T.J. House produced the worst start of his young career, likely guaranteeing his return to AAA once Zach McAllister returns. While House couldn’t have picked a better game to implode, it will likely affect him negatively in the near future. House allowed six runs on six hits, two walks and a wild pitch, just making it through 3.1 innings. This was House’s fourth start of the season and the first time he didn’t pitch at least into the sixth. He is a talented pitcher, but obviously has much left to learn and he will get that chance in Columbus in the near future.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 17 – Texas Rangers 7
On Deck: Happy to get out of Texas with a series win, the Indians will stay hot, figuratively and literally as they head to Kansas City for two.