July 3, 2012; Cleveland, OH USA: Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Lopez (4) is safe at home as Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Hisanori Takahashi (21) drops the ball during the game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE
At first it seemed as though the game would belong to Zach McAllister The Tribe right-hander was very impressive through the first four inning, getting swings and misses on his fastball, which I don't remember happening in his previous stints with the Indians. His fastball velocity sat in the low 90s, with several pitches at 95 mph, which I also don't remember him hitting. Now this was the first time the Angels had seen McAllister, so those caveats apply, but I don't think he's just depth anymore.
The Indians jumped on usual nemesis Dan Haren, scoring a run in the first (Choo triple, Kipnis single), and two more in the second. Shelley Duncan, who's been playing regularly since the weekend, homered in the fourth to give the Indians a 4-0, and the way McAllister was pitching, it looked as though the Indians had this one in hand.
But Zach hit a gigantic speed bump in the fifth inning after a probable inning ending double play turned into an error. With two on and one out, Angels Hester hit a grounder to Jack Hannahan, but he air-mailed the throw to second, and instead of the inning being over and the score 4-0, it was 4-1 with runners on second and third with one out. And next up was phenom Mike Trout. After not getting calls on a couple very close pitches, McAllister hung a changeup and Trout didn't miss it. Just like that, the score was tied. Two batters later Albert Pujols untied with a bomb to left center. To his credit, McAllister did finish the inning and pitch the sixth, and by that time his teammates had re-taken the lead.
Haren was still in the game to start the fifth, but wouldn't stay in for long. Choo led the inning off with a double, and after Asdrubal Cabrera (who even tonight had trouble against Haren) popped out, Jason Kipnis was intentionally walked in order to pitch to Jose Lopez. It was an odd time to intentionally walk a hitter (only the fifth inning, one out), and the move backfired, as the right-handed Lopez doubled past Albert Pujols, scoring Choo and sending Kipnis to third. That was it for Haren, as Angels manager Mike Scioscia called on left-handed Hisanori Takahashi to pitch to Michael Brantley. The Tribe center fielder hit a grounder right at Pujols, and the Angels had a play at the plate, but the ball got past Hester, and Kipnis scored easily. Because the ball got ahead, Lopez tried to score as well, and would have been tagged out had Takahasi simply hung on to the ball, but he couldn't, so the Indians took a 7-5 lead.
The Indians tacked on single insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings, sat out two rain delays, and finally finished off the Angels just before 11:25 PM. It was worth the wait.