September 10, 2013
The Indians got on the board first after three consecutive singles with two outs in the first inning. The singles came off the bats of Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and of course Michael Brantley, who has specialized in the two-out hit this season. But that was all they'd get off of Jeremy Guthrie. The former Indians first round pick held the Tribe offense in check, allowing nine hits in six innings but somehow didn't allow more than that first inning run. The Indians hit lots of line drives, but most of them were right at Royals fielders.
McAllister meanwhile also held the Royals in check, but was getting most of his outs via fly balls. He wasn't using his curve very much at all, and as mentioned previously his fastball stayed at the belt level or above, not a great recipe success for a pitcher with just a decent fastball. Danny Salazar can get away with pitching like that, but McAllister can't, and it burned him at the end of his outing. He served up an high/inside fastball to Alcides Escobar, and the Royals shortstop crushed it onto to the home run porch in left. Then Zach completely lost it in the sixth. After getting ahead of Eric Homser 0-2, he threw four straight balls, to put him on. Then he tried to get ahead of Billy Butler with a low-90s fastball, but the KC DH was waiting for it, and pulled it down the left field line for a double. Zach then fell behind Mike Moustakas 2-1 and threw a 91 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate. That pitch got lined into the right field corner, and gave the Royals a 3-1 led. Salvador Perez then ended McAllister's evening with single up the middle, this time a on curve.
Usually when you fall behind the Royals in the middle of the game, it's really hard to get back into the game, as they have one of baseball's best bullpens. That the Indians are ahead of the Royals speaks to how bad their offense has been this season. But tonight the Indians actually made things interesting, as they would score two runs off Kelvim Herrera, the hardest-throwing Royal in a bullpen of hard throwers. Michael Bourn had the big hit in the inning, a double that reached the warning track in left-center. The hit scored Yan Gomes (from third) and Jose Ramirez (from first). And with a runner on second with one out, one more single would get the Indians to within a run of the Royals. But Luke Hochever, who was a complete bust as a starter, restored order, striking out Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to end the seventh and the entire side in the eighth.
When the Indians fell behind, Terry Franona brought in several of the Columbus crew. Nick Hagadone got out of the sixth inning, but his runner would push the Royals lead to 5-1 in the seventh. CC Lee was pitching when Hagadone's run scored, and he'd allow a run of his own to score in the eighth. With the back end of the bullpen pitching so much lately, Francona had to stay away from Allen/Smith/Perez tonight. One of the downsides to have a small group of trusted relievers is that when you have to go with somebody else, that somebody else isn't sharp. CC Lee hadn't pitched since the end of the AAA season, which ended on September 2nd, so to expect him to pitch well was rather optimistic.
The silver lining to this loss was that everyone else ahead of or tied with the Indians in the Wild Card races also lost:
AL Games of Interest
- New York (-0.5) 7, Baltimore (0.0) - Final
- Boston 2, Tampa Bay (+1.5) 0 - Final
- Pittsburgh 5, Texas (+4.0) 4 - Final
- Minnesota 4, Oakland (+6.0) 3 - Final
Roll Call (26 Commenters)
Game Thread (321 Comments)
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