Player of the Game
For the second straight game, Corey Kluber pitched into the ninth and struck out ten. There will be more on him later as he was the only positive aspect of the game for the Indians tonight. Kluber completed nine, but a lack of offense kept him away from the win as he was replaced for the tenth by Bryan Shaw, despite being just over 100 pitches. He allowed just two hits and one run, which was unearned. He also struck out ten (for the sixth time) and walked none for the second time this year. His 10.30 POG score was second only to his complete game win against Kansas City on April 24th.
Kluber treated Indians fans with another spectacular outing staying perfect through 6.1 innings. After Omar Infante singled up the middle, Kluber didn’t give up as he struck out the next batter, Alex Gordon after which Yan Gomes caught Infante stealing with a tremendous throw to continue facing the minimum until the eighth.
KKKKKKKKKluber Watch: We’ve been keeping a close eye on Kluber’s strike outs this season as he makes a run at history. Today, he added ten more to his total, moving from 72nd most in a single season in franchise history (tied with Luis Tiant 1965 and Dennis Eckersley 1975) to 57th, tied with Heinie Berger (1909) and Scott Kazmir (2013).
The Indians finally put a run on the board at the last possible second and against one of the best closers in baseball. Carlos Santana walked to start the inning, then was bunted to second by pinch hitter Chris Dickerson. After Nick Swisher pushed him to third with a ground out, Yan Gomes came through with a huge RBI single to tie the game at one. It looked like they might have added some more when Lonnie Chisenhall also single through the right side, but Jose Ramirez grounded out to end the inning.
The Indians chances were few and far between as Danny Duffy threw a beautiful game, but they did have one that they were unable to convert in the fifth inning. Carlos Santana lead off the inning as the first base runner of the game with the first hit for either team. Ryan Raburn then walked, but things went down hill from there. Nick Swisher just exchanged base runners as Santana was out at third on a fielder’s choice. With a runner still in scoring position, both Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall struck out to end the inning.
If that chance wasn’t good enough, the Indians had an even better one in the eighth with the game still scoreless. Jose Ramirez singled and Jason Kipnis walked to put two on with one out. After a lengthy at bat, pinch hitter David Murphy hit an opposite field single to load the bases. With the Indians top hitter at the plate, Michael Brantley grounded into an inning ending double play.
Ryan Raburn made what was very possibly the worst play by any Indians fielder this season in a year full of terrible plays. On a line shot down the left field line in the eighth, Raburn went into a slide and the ball glanced off his wrist. Once he gathered it, Mike Moustakas was already safe at second with what was called a double, but Raburn threw the ball straight into the ground and by the time he picked it up again, Moustakas had scored on the two base error. To make matters worse, Chris Dickerson was going to pinch hit for Raburn in the top of the next inning anyway and could have been used in left for this play if Terry Francona had attempted to use his best defense.
Eventually, the Raburn play would force the Indians to play an extra five innings as it cost Kluber a complete game shut out and the Indians a win. In the end, it was John Axford who gave up a single to Nori Aoki in the 14th inning with a runner on second that allowed the Royals to walk off. Lorenzo Cain, who scored the winning run, originally reached base when Jose Ramirez, who had already made three spectacular plays, was unable to come up with a ground ball. He then stole second on a play that was challenged, but not over turned. The Royals needed quite a few breaks to finally push the winning run across, but it was obvious that it would be the case very early in this pitcher’s duel.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 – Kansas City Royals 2
On Deck: Game two of the four game series between Kansas City and Cleveland will take place Friday night at 8:10 PM.