Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’...Along...
Cliff Lee won his 21st game of the season Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, but they did make him work for it. He also had to rely on Victor Martinez to knock in all three of the Indians' runs, but hey, that’s what teammates are for, right?
Since returning from the disabled list, Martinez is 7-for-21, not too shabby when you’ve had most of the summer off due to injury.
Lee went seven-and-a-third, giving up seven hits, one earned run, a walk, and registered five strikeouts in the victory. He even lowered his ERA a bit to 2.28. All in a days work.
The Royals did their best to hand Lee his third loss of the season, but every time he got into a jam, he also bailed himself out.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Royals put runners on first and second with one out. Lee picked up one of his five strikeouts for the second out, and induced a groundball to squeak out of that inning.
In the sixth, he ended up costing himself a run, hitting the first batter Jose Guillen with a pitch. Guillen later scored on a pair of singles strung together by John Buck and Alberto Callaspo. Once again, Lee staved off the big inning by getting a flyout and limiting the damage to one run.
In the eighth, the Indians used a trifecta of pitchers to hold off the Royals. Lee gave up a leadoff single to Guillen, and then got a flyball out. Rafael Perez came on, but he gave up a single to Mark Teahen, putting runners on first and second. He struck out Buck for the second out, and Rafael Betancourt came on, getting Callaspo to fly out, preserving Lee’s 3-1 lead.
Jensen Lewis earned his eighth save of the season, not giving up a hit, issuing a free pass with two out, but striking out the last batter to end the game.
On the Indians' offensive side, they put up a pair of runs in the first inning. After two quick outs, Shin-Soo Choo started things for the Indians with a single. Jhonny Peralta also singled, moving Choo over to second.
Victor Martinez picked up his first two RBIs of the game by singling both Choo and Peralta home. Ryan Garko flied out, and the top of the first ended with the Indians on top 2-0.
Their only other run came off the bat of Choo and Martinez—again—with both hitting doubles, Choo scoring, and Martinez picking up the third of his three RBIs.
Royals starter Zack Greinke went six innings, giving up five hits and all three earned runs, taking the loss for the Royals. He moves to 10-10 on the year.
Cleveland heads to the East Coast for a four-game set against Baltimore, still chasing that elusive .500 mark for the season. Fausto Carmona (8-5, 4,51 ERA) battles lefty Garret Olson (8-7, 6.53 ERA) on a 7:05 Monday evening start time.
The Indians are 69-72 on the year, eight games back of the Minnesota Twins and 10.5 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox.