Game 38: Cleveland 11, Tampa 7

For the first five and a half innings this game looked downright easy.  Fausto Carmona, whose success is critical to any thought of an Indians comeback this season, was outstanding for five innings, only allowing one walk and recording nine groundball outs.  He looked comfortable on the mound and was working efficiently, only using 59 pitches in that stretch.

Meanwhile, the middle of the offense was clicking.   Asdrubal got the offense started (once again) by leading off the fourth with a single.  One out later, Shin-Soo Choo moved him over with his own single.  Jhonny Peralta and Mark DeRosa brought those two home with singles of their own to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.  Back to back doubles in the fifth from Victor and Choo extended the Indians lead to 5-0.  In the sixth, the Indians used the same script, starting off the inning with a Matt LaPorta single with Asdrubal, and Victor and Choo providing the damage.  Going into the bottom of the 6th the Tribe had a pleasant 9-0 lead.

In the 6th Carmona lost it, though.  After walking the first two batters (never a good idea with a 9-run lead), an error from Cabrera and a few solid hits helped get Tampa back into the game.  Matt Herges, as he did in Boston last week, came in and promptly gave up a homerun to the first batter before settling down to get out of the inning.  That 9-0 lead had, however, been reduced to a mere three runs.

Fortunately, Aaron Laffey, still working out of the bullpen, and a few more hits from the usual suspects carried Cleveland across the final two innings for a 11-7 victory.

This was a nice victory, but not as nice as it began.  A team is not going to lose many games when its 2-4 hitters go 12-15 with 8 runs and 9 RBIs.  Hopefully those first five innings, and not the 6th, are indicative of what Carmona is capable of and the direction he is headed.  Also of note in this game was Jhonny Peralta's debut at 3B, where he made several excellent plays.  Whatever the case, the Indians record their first back-to-back victories since April 9-10 (!).  If Kansas City loses tonight, the Indians will amazingly be just 4.5 games out of first.

Next up: 5/15, Reyes (1-1, 7.20) vs. Kazmir (4-3, 5.92), 7:38pm

290514130_indians_rays_127326072_lbig_medium

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
F Carmona .191 B Francisco -.108
A Cabrera .145 L Valbuena -.056
V Martinez .131 G Sizemore -.044
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