The Indians completed their third sweep in three series, beating Detroit 9-7 and upping their win streak to ten games in a row. The longest win streak in Indians history is thirteen.
This one was a wild contest. The good news was, the Indians are still cranking out the offense. The bad news, Jensen Lewis gave up a pair in the bottom of the ninth as he looked human at closer. Then again, the good news - he ended up with the save.
Checking out the standings, there is a column that shows how the team has performed in their last ten. The Indians’ reads 10-0. It will be interesting to see how many more days it can stay there. With the victory, and sweep of the Tigers, the Indians open up a 1.5 game lead on Detroit for third place. Now they set their sights on a much higher goal, tracking down second place.
With only roughly 30 games left for MLB teams, the Indians are 10.5 games behind Division leader Chicago, and 9.5 behind Minnesota. Though highly unlikely, you’d have to admit it would be exciting to see them chase down one of these teams. If so, reaching the playoffs would not even be a stretch – if they tracked down one of the teams. Yes, even the thought of post-season is a huge-huge stretch, but one that still exists. Ever put your money on eleven in the middle of the table at craps? A post-season berth would be similar to that. Every once in a while it happens, but it ain’t bloody likely. Oh, and just for yucks, in case you were wondering, the Indians are 12 games out in the wild card race. Johnny Carson would probably say the odds are a BILLION to ONE. He’d probably be about right.
A more realistic goal for the Indians is to finish above .500 for the year. They are currently two games below that figure at 65-67. Win two thirds of the remaining games, and they end the year with around 85 wins, not a bad number.
Fausto Carmona pitched himself to a win, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings. Justin Verlander took the loss for Detroit going six innings , giving up five runs on seven hits.
The lead was up for grabs through four, as these two traded back-and-forth in the run column.
Cleveland opened the game by going up 1-0 on a David Dellucci double and a Jhonny Peralta single that scored Dellucci sandwiched around ground-out that moved Dellucci to third.
Detroit answered the bell by scoring one of their own when Curtis Granderson led off the game with a home-run, making it 1-1 after one.
Cleveland jumped back out on top in the top of the second on a walk to Ryan Garko, a single by Kelly Shoppach, a successful Andy Marte sac-bunt, a second out Asdrubal Cabrera strike-out, and a Grady Sizemore single that scored both Garko and Shoppach.
Detroit would take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the frame, scoring three runs and giving themselves a 4-3 lead. They produced on a Jeff Larish single, a Carmona balk that move Larish to second, a Gary Sheffield walk, the second successful sacrifice of the night with Edgar Renteria bunting the runners over, and a Brandon Inge single that score Larish (deep breath). Ramon Santiago singled, scoring Sheffield, then Granderson singled scoring Inge. With runners on the corners and still only one out, Carmona was desperate for a double play, and he got it when Joyce grounded to second.
It would take the Indians until the top of the fourth to retake the lead. Garko was hit by a pitch to open the inning and Kelly Shoppach went yard, giving the Indians a 5-4 lead.
The Tribe added a couple insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Shin-Soo Choo hit his seventh home-run of the season, a BULLET SHOT deep into the bleachers, with Peralta, the recipient of a walk one batter earlier, standing on first. Even Grady Sizemore was impressed by the length of this one, and was shown conversing with Choo in the dug-out about it. Choo demonstrated the liner with a hand-gesture showing the ball’s flight path straight to whomever it beaned in the outfield.
Seven runs would not be enough to take down the Tigers on this night.
Granderson was issued a free pass by Rafael Perez, then Rafael #2 Betancourt came on and gave up a double to Maglio Ordonez, that scored Granderson. The Indians lead dwindled to 7-5.
The Indians offense stoked up the fire again in the eighth, hitting four singles and getting a pair of runs making it a 9-5 lead. Peralta, Choo, Garko, and Shoppach had back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles off a pair of Tigers relievers, Shea and Farnsworth. Kyle Farnsworth has come up in talking-heads discussions as a possible candidate for the closer role in Cleveland. Let’s hope the Indians higher ups remember how the Tribe shelled him in this last Detroit series and they end up sticking with Lewis.
Speaking of Lewis, he came on in the ninth in a non-save situation, surrendering a pair of runs, doling out a single to Granderson and a homerun to Ordonez. On the plus side of the picture, all three outs he registered were strike-outs.
The Indians are off on Thursday (too bad!!!) and resume play Friday at home against Seattle. Seattle comes into Cleveland losers of six of their last ten, but taking two of three from Minnesota prior to the visit.
Felix Hernandez (8-8, 3.28 ERA) will pitch against Cleveland’s Jeremy Sowers (2-6, 5.95 ERA). Game time is 7:05.