The Indians dropped the final game of this three-game series against the White Sox in heartbreaking fashion, losing late as John Axford blew his 2nd save of the season. It was a disappointing end to what was set to be a great day for Indians fans, as Corey Kluber pitched an absolute gem and new face George Kottaras hit 2 home runs. The Tribe narrowly missed out on the series sweep as Chicago managed to salvage some pride in the series finale.
Corey Kluber was a force on the mound, an utterly dominant outing for the right-hander who really deserved his 3rd victory of the season. Kluber kept his fastball in the mid-90's all afternoon and used his cutter to devastating effect. Corey set a career high 13 strikeouts and set a new Indians record with 7 consecutive strikeouts, besting the previous record held by Bob Feller, Bartolo Colon, Chuck Finley and Mitch Talbot, who all had 6 respectively. Kluber tore through the White Sox lineup and finished with a line of 8 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 run (on a 1st inning HR to Jose Abreu), 2 walks and 13 strikeouts. He is beginning to establish himself as one of the best pitchers on the roster.
George Kottaras, called up to replace Yan Gomes who is currently on paternity leave, made his Indians debut and had a record-setting day as well. In the first at-bat of his Indians career, Kottaras took White Sox starter Andre Rienzo over the right field wall for a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. It was so unexpected to see the career .214 hitter clobber one over the fence, especially considering he had 2 hits total during his time in Triple-A Columbus this year. Kottaras stepped up to the plate for his second at-bat in the fourth inning with the Indians holding a 2-1 lead thanks to a Lonnie Chisenhall RBI single in the third. Kottaras proceeded to shock everyone again and hit another homer, pushing the Tribe's lead to 3-1. Kottaras's second home run made him 2-2 for his career in an Indians uniform, with 2 homers. He is the first Indians player to start his career in such a way, setting a new franchise record. Kottaras ended the day 2-4 with 2 home runs and a walk. He is clearly destined to have himself immortalized in bronze outside Progressive Field, where fans will flock in pilgrimage to pay thanks to the great catcher. All hail King Kottaras!
Unfortunately the Indians couldn't hold on to the happy vibes set by Kluber and Kottaras. John Axford entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead in search of his 10th save but got off to a rough start, walking Gordon Beckham on four straight balls. Axford was able to strikeout Jose Abreu but you could see something wasn't right. Adam Dunn was then walked to put runners at first and second, as Dayan Viciedo stepped to the plate. Viciedo proceeded to break Cleveland hearts as he smashed a 3-run homer over David Murphy's head as the ball landed safely in the right field stands. It was a gut-punch to what looked to be an impressive Tribe victory, before it was stolen away by Viciedo's homer. The Indians couldn't find a reply in the bottom of the ninth, falling meekly to a disappointing 4-3 loss (although Chisenhall did record his 3rd hit of the day, maintaining his torrid start to 2014).
Despite this upsetting loss, the Indians did come away with the series victory. You have to stay positive in times like these, right? The Tribe now welcome the Twins to Progressive Field for a four-game series that begins Monday night with first pitch at 7:05 ET.
Win Expectancy Chart
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