This was a frustrating evening of baseball. Until the bottom of the ninth.
Zach McAllister, who was making his major-league debut, struggled to stay in the strike zone, and was pulled after four innings. Toronto didn't tee off on him, but every inning was an ordeal for McAllister. In three of his four innings, he had to throw at least 20 pitches. Zach's fastball was sitting in the low-90s, but the key was his inability to get either swings and misses or called strikes on his cutter; of the 20 he threw, only 9 were thrown for strikes. He had to deal with a tiny strike zone, though, and to his credit, never allowed the game to get away. He retired Scary Monster Jose Bautista with the bases loaded to end the fourth; if he makes a mistake there, then the ninth inning comeback can't happen. He was sent down after the game, as Fausto Carmona is likely to return after the All-Star Break without missing another start.
Carlos Villanueva, Toronto's starter was likewise a control pitcher, and also had problems overcoming the strike zone. But he held the Indians scoreless through six innings, stranding a small village on the bases. The Indians left the bases loaded in the first, and a runner in scoring position in five out of the first six innings.
Lonnie Chisenhall had to leave the game in the second inning after getting hit in the helmet and face with a pitch. The initial examination did not reveal signs of a concussion, but Chisenhall had a significant bruise under his eye.
The game remained 3-0 until the top of the ninth, when Jose Bautista absolutely crushed a Tony Sipp offering for his 29th home run of the season. Sipp's really struggled of late, giving up runs (all home runs) in three of his last four appearances. Thankfully the Bautista blast was just a solo shot.
Toronto closer Frank Francisco was brought in to pitch the ninth, but he allowed the first three to reach, and Toronto manager John Farrell pulled him in favor of southpaw Luis Perez with two of the next three batters left-handed. Perez struck out Brantley, but Asdrubal Cabrera singled driving home the first run of the game. Travis Hafner came to the plate looking for a high sinker, and got it with the first pitch of the at-bat. He didn't miss it, giving the Indians their second walk-off grand slam of the season.
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