DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 05: Chris Perez #54 of the Cleveland Indians walks off the field after giving up a tenth inning game winning home run to Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers scoring Omar Infante #4 at Comerica Park on August 5, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Indians 10-8. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Then you had last night's game where the Twins scored 10 runs in the second inning, and the Indians lost 14-3? Tenth straight loss. Rock bottom? Nope.
Now tonight, where the Indians finally get a good performance from a starting pitcher, and take a 5-1 lead into the 7th inning. But this time the defense and bullpen failed them, and the Twins scored six runs in their last three at-bats, with three in the ninth after Casey Kotchman booted a cued grounder down the first base line. Eleventh straight loss. Rock bottom? I truly hope it is.
I'll back off the doom and gloom a bit to talk about Corey Kluber's outing. It's been a while since a starter has gone past five innings, never mind allowing fewer than 5 runs. He pitched into the seventh, throwing 96 pitches and allowing one earned run on 6 hits. The two unearned runs scored after he left the game. Kluber has the stuff to stay at the major-league level. He has a mid-90s fastball, a cutter that's very effective against left-handers, and a slider that he can throw for strikes.
The Tribe bullpen was gassed after so many short outings from starters, but thanks to the defensive miscues, the Indians would use six relievers over the last three innings, including Chris Seddon (who started Sunday's game) for a batter.
The Indians scored four early runs off Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno, but didn't add on until they scored a fifth run in the sixth inning. They stranded a runner in scoring position in the second inning, Jack Hannahan grounded into a one-out, bases-loaded double play in the third inning, left runners on second and third in the fourth inning, and left two runners on in the fifth. Those missed opportunities came back to haunt them, as those allowed the late errors to affect the outcome of the game.
So the game was in doubt in the ninth, and Chris Perez, making his first appearance since Sunday, struck out Joe Mauer before giving a single to Josh Willingham. After the pinch-runner stole second, Justin Morneau hit a cue shot the spun fair after starting in fair territory. Casey Kotchman got in front of the ball, but had it bounce off the heel of his glove, allowing the tying run to score. Had he fielded it cleanly, he would have retired Morneau, leaving a runner on third with two outs. Perez imploded after that, allowing a double, a sacrifice fly to bring across the go-ahead run, two more singles, and a walk. He was pulled after that.
The last time the Indians lost 11 in a row was 2009, the last time they lost 12 in a row was 1931. No Cleveland team has lost more in a row.