Game 26: Indians 9, Blue Jays 7 (12 Innings)

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via www.fangraphs.com


Fangraphs normally don't look like this. Oh sure, the Indians have given up leads before; that's nothing new. It's that the Indians, for as bad as they looked early in the game, got back into the game not once, not twice, but three times. And despite their best attempts to blow a third save, won one of the wackiest games you'll see all year.

The wackiness was there from the beginning. Former Tribe pitcher Brian Tallet, who had been forced into the rotation because of injury, held his former team hitless through six innings. Tallet's last start was a disaster (4 IP, 10 ER), but tonight the Indians couldn't hit his changeups, or anything else for that matter, until the seventh. Ryan Garko broke up the no-hit bid with a sharp single, bringing up the still hitless Matt LaPorta. Matt got his first hit in style, tying the game with a two-run homer. The Indians would later plate the go-ahead run in the inning, only to have starter Fausto Carmona give back the lead in the bottom of the inning.

At this point, the game was a pretty generic Indians game, no different than three or four similar scripts used by the club in 2009. But with two outs in the top of the ninth, Asdrubal Cabrera flipped the plot and drove in the tying run with a single. The Indians drove in two more runs for good measure, and surely that would be enough for Kerry Wood. Right?

Wrong. Because of various pinch-hitting and pinch-running moves, Josh Barfield was now playing left field, and given how baseball invariably works, his defensive play brought about extra innings. To be fair, the "no-doubles" defensive alignment played a big part in allowing the Jays to force the game into extra innings. Alex Rios blooped a singe that Grady Sizemore would have normally caught in almost any other alignment. It was Rios that would be the tying run, scoring on another fly ball that fell, this time in front of Josh Barfield. 

But it was Barfield, who hadn't had a major-league at-bat all season, who would eventually provide the biggest hit of the game. It was his run-scoring single that drove in the go-ahead run in the twelfth. Given that the Indians still had to pitch the bottom of the inning, insurance runs were needed, and provided by a Grady Sizemore double. Despite the three-run cushion, Rafael Perez couldn't finish the 12th, leaving Jensen Lewis to try to close it out. He inexplicably did so, striking out Aaron Hill, and the Indians won a game they had by all rights lost at least twice.

The Indians, after being held hitless through six innings, collected 15 hits and scored 9 runs in the final 6 innings of the game. And most of those runs came off of one of the better bullpens in baseball.

Next Up: Anthony Reyes vs. Brett Cecil, 12:37 PM.

 

 

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Asdrubal Cabrera .406 Kerry Wood -.403
Josh Barfield .357 Jhonny Peralta -.369
Rafael Betancourt .286 Fausto Carmona -.359

 

 

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