May 20, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta (11) waves during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
It was another taut, low-scoring game until the eighth inning. Derek Lowe, coming off his 127-pitch shutout last Tuesday, wasn't going to go deep into the game, but even so he had a fine follow-up to his gem in Minnesota; he allowed two runs on six hits, and got better as the game progressed. He allowed a first inning run after Jose Reyes led off the game with a double, and a second run on Greg Dobbs' two-out double.* After that, Lowe settled down, recording out after out via the ground ball.
Josh Johnson was pitching for the Marlins, and through most of his start, he was a completely different pitcher than what his season statistics indicated. The big right-hander battled injuries in 2011, and to this point had allowed 57 hits in 45.1 innings and a 5.36 ERA. His strikeout (7.5/9) and walk (3.0/9) ratios to this point looked consistent with a power pitcher; he's just allowed way too many hits for a pitcher with his stuff. He starter the day with a fastball in the low 90s, but ended it with fastball touching 95 mph. Through four innings, he seemed untouchable, but the Indians managed a run off him in the fifth and was in position to score more.
Johnson got out of the fifth thanks to a base running blunder by Lou Marson. He had just walked, putting runners on first and second with one out and Shin-Soo Choo up. Choo hit a ball sharply to the first baseman, who threw to second to at least attempt a double play, but because Marson went out of the baseline and didn't slide, obstructing Reyes' throw back to first. Interference was called, and the rally was defused. Had Marson slide or stayed in the baseline, I don't think they would have turned a double play, leaving runners at first and third with Jason Kipnis coming to bat.
The Indians again had a chance to tie or take the lead in the seventh when Casey Kotchman batted with runners at second and third, but the Tribe first baseman grounded to third on a 3-2 changeup. That would be the closest the Indians would come to re-taking the lead, as Nick Hagadone allowed a lead-off double, and Jeremy Accardo was awful, allowing a walk, two hits and two runs of his own in addition to the inherited run.
That deficit not held would come back to haunt the Indians, as they score two runs in the ninth off embattled closer Heath Bell, so instead of those two runs meaning a walk-off win, all they meant was that the margin of loss would look a bit better.
*Hanley Ramirez, who scored on the play hit a grounder that trickled past a lunging Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera's hitting very well, but his range to my eyes has seemed limited this season.