Tribe improves to 31-31
Yan Gomes isn't your typical right-handed hitter. He hits a lot like a lefty would - he likes the ball down. So, in the 6th, when a 1-1 breaking ball left the hand of Rangers starter Nick Tepesch, it found the lower part of the zone, then found Yanimal's bat and finally found the lush grass beyond the center field wall for a 3-run home run. About an hour later, the Indians found .500, again.
Josh Tomlin was the model of efficiency this afternoon. He went 1-2-3 in 5 different innings and, like Bauer last night, only really struggled in one inning, the 6th. Unlike Bauer, Tomlin's damage never relinquished the Indians' lead. His final line was 8IP 7H 3ER 0BB 5SO. He pitched to one batter in the 9th before being replaced by John Axford who gave up a hit before retiring the final 3 batters.
A Tomlin outing always seems to have a particular look to it, for me. A lot of strikes, usually 6 or 7 innings, some hits but few if any walks. I like to say describe his starts as "very Tomlin", but today he gave us a little Klubot-like mixture by going deep. I award his start 5/6ths Tomlin, 1/6th Kluber. It was a Tomlir.
While it was the Gomes home run in the 6th that gave the Indians the lead for good, it was the 7th inning that gave them the cushion they needed to cruise to the finish line. Michael Brantley led off with a double and Kipnis advanced him to 3rd on a fly ball. Lonnie Chisenhall then drove him home with a bloop over the head of the drawn in second baseman, with the infield trying to cut the runner off at the plate. Murphy moved him to 3rd with a bloop of his own and Raburn finally drove him in with a fielder's choice.
That made the score 6-3 before Carlos Santana stepped to the plate. Carlos had already singled and walked twice in the game before he drilled a 3-2 pitch over the fence to drive in Raburn and bring the score to 8-3 and assure the victory. Santana looked good at the plate today and a renewed Carlos could mean big things for this team.
But we need to talk about Lonnie. His approach at the plate is allowing him opportunities for hits that he hasn't seen in years past. Part of it is luck, but good things happen when you aren't afraid to take a pitch the other way when its location calls for it and Lonnie is doing just that. The rest of his game, however, is still very much a work in progress.
We all know Lonnie's shortcomings with the glove, but mental errors on the base paths nearly cost the team dearly.
In the 4th, Chisenhall singled to left and Kipnis advanced to 3rd. Murphy then lined a ball to the center fielder. Chisenhall was running on the pitch, so he might have been in a position to be picked off regardless, but as he slowed to track the ball, he clearly should have seen Martin would get there, which he did. Instead, Lonnie sped back up and rounded 2nd. After Martin caught the ball, he threw to first to complete the double play, but rushed the throw unnecessarily and put it in the dugout. You can watch the play here, since it isn't letting me embed.
It seemed like we got lucky, but while standing on 3rd base with Jason Giambi at the plate, Lonnie got himself picked off by the catcher and Adrian Beltre. It cost the Indians a run when Giambi pulled the ball into the RF corner. It didn't end up costing the Indians the win, but Lonnie definitely needs to tighten up the aspects of his game that don't involve hitting.
Despite those things, we won easily today and that is all that matters.
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