Records: Kansas City 10-10, Cleveland 10-11
This was an unusual game, at least in terms of what we've come to expect from the 2014 Cleveland Indians. It started in familiar fashion, with Justin Masterson giving up two runs and putting the Indians behind early. Rather uncharacteristically, though, the Tribe came right back to tie it. The trend continued throughout the game, with the Tribe answering Kansas City's only other run of the game, and eventually taking the lead for good.
It was also an unusual game for Michael Bourn v2014. He tied the game for the Indians with a two-RBI triple in the 2nd, and would notch three hits total on the night, but he was erased from the basepaths on steal attempts twice. It didn't matter in the long run, though, and the hitting performance is far more encouraging than the caught stealing is discouraging.
Justin Masterson gave up back-to-back homers to Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas in the 2nd, but settled down after that. He would give up only one more (unearned) run and record six strikeouts and 12 ground ball outs over the course of 6 1/3 innings. This is the second quality start in a row for Masterson and while he wasn't lights out, we'll certainly take that given the rotation's recent woes.
After Bourn's triple in the 2nd, things sped along uneventfully. Both Masterson and Royals starter Justin Vargas kept the offense quiet until a wacky 6th inning. Here's where the usual 2014 Tribe showed up. Eric Hosmer singled to lead off the Royals' half of the inning. The next batter, Billy Butler, hit into a tailor-made double play to Asdrubal Cabrera, but Jason Kipnis bumbled the catch, leaving two on with no outs. Butler broke up another potential double play in the next at bat as Hosmer advanced to third. Masterson came back to strike out Perez, but that damn Moustakas singled in Hosmer, putting the Royals up 3-0 before Masterson could get the third out.
The Indians got the run back immediately with a weird 6th inning of their own. With two outs, Michale Brantley attempted to steal second. Salvador Perez' throw sailed into center field, and Jarrod Dyson misplayed the overthrow, allowing Brantley to come all the way home on two errors. The Indians weren't done there. After Michael Bourn's second caught stealing of the night in the 7th, the Indians strung together a two-out single by Nick Swisher and an RBI double by Jason Kipnis to take the lead. Though they partially squandered a bases loaded, no outs sitiuation in the 8th, the Tribe tacked on another run with a BABIP-y bloop by Lonnie Chisenhall. Jim Ingraham and the rest of Tribe nation can now rest easy knowing the team's erstwhile cleanup hitter finally has an RBI to his name.
It wasn't the prettiest game, but no Indians game so far this year has been pretty. Carlos Santana continues to slump, going 0-4 on the night, and the defense still looks pretty shaky. Fortunately, there were far more positives than negatives. Despite Bourn getting caught stealing twice, the Indians are now 17-4 on stolen base attempts on the year. John Axford kept things interesting, but the bullpen put up another 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Masterson looks like he might be on his way to establishing some consistency at the top of the rotation.
Guaranteed at least a split, the team has to feel much better about things than they did after yesterday's game. It's up to
The Attach Klubot to keep the good vibes rolling tomorrow afternoon.
Win expectancy chart
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12:05 p.m. ET (STO, WTAM)