July 23, 2013
Defense has not generally been a problem this season, but on this road trip, it has been. The Indians committed three errors last night, including two in the first inning alone. With two outs in the first inning, Zach McAllister induced a grounder to second baseman Jason Kipnis, but Kipnis booted the ball extending the inning. Then a Kyle Seager hit a ball to first that took a wicked hop, bouncing over Mark Reynolds' shoulder and down the right field line to drive in an unearned run. To add insult to injury, Lonnie Chisenhall then dropped a popup in foul territory.
That unearned run turned out to be the difference in the game, for after the Indians had built up a 3-1 lead thanks to an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single in the first and a Yan Gomes two-run homer in the second, the Mariners erupted for three runs in the third. The ageless Raul Ibanez doubled to start the inning, then Kendrys Morales plated Ibanez with a double of his own. Morales would get thrown out at home trying to score on a Kyle Seager single largely because he made just an awful slide. But that out wouldn't short-circuit the inning thanks largely to the Indians. After a Justin Smoak strikeout, Michael Saunders hit a double to put runners on second and third with two outs. But McAllister uncorked a pitch that Gomes couldn't get in front of, and the game was tied at 3. The Mariners then took the lead with Mike Zunino single, and that 4-3 score would be the final even though there were six innings yet to play.
The Indians had 11 hits on the evening but hit into three double plays, including a crucial one in the ninth inning. After Mark Reynolds and Lonnie Chisenhall opened the ninth with singles, the Indians had runners at first and third with nobody out. Stubbs, who pinch-ran for Reynolds was at third when Yan Gomes hit a chopped to third base, and Stubbs had a quick decision to make: should he try to get in a rundown to prevent the Mariners from trying to turn a double play, or should he stay at third, assuming that Gomes would beat out the double play? As it turned out, Stubbs did neither, and ended up running the Indians out of the inning and the game. Seager threw to second for the first out, and second baseman Nick Franklin threw home ahead of Stubbs, who was eventually tagged out after a rundown. Michael Bourn then struck out to end the game.
So there have been four losses on this road trip, all by one run. The Indians' run differential after the All-Star Break is actually a +2, but they don't award you anything for that. And with the Tigers winning again, the Indians now trail Detroit by 3.5 games. That four-game winning streak to end the first half has been erased.
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