Cliff Lee is now 22-2. Even giving up four runs couldn’t slow down Lee, Major League Baseball’s win’s leader by two over Arizona’s Brandon Webb, the only other player with 20 wins this year. Lee also leads the majors in ERA with a 2.36 over San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. He sits at 2.54 in that category.
With most probably two more starts at most the rest of the year, Lee continues to impress on his quest for an Indians player to repeat as the AL Cy Young award winner. What a fantastic year!
Friday’s game against Kansas Citywasn’t the prototypical lock-down game we’ve seen from Lee, the Indians winning 12-5. He appeared to tire in the eighth, allowing three of his four earned runs in that inning. Jensen Lewis was actually on the mound for one of Lee’s earned runs, but it was a sac-fly score and not a hit that allowed in the fourth earned run of Lee’s night. Prior to the ninth though, it was typical Cliff Lee pitching, really a sight to behold.
The Indians started the scoring in this one, getting a run in the bottom of the first on a Jamey Carroll single, a Gil Meche wild pitch, and a Shin-Soo Choo single that brought home Carroll from second.
The Royals got the run back in the top of the second, tying the game after Miguel Olivo was safe at first on an error, and came around to score later in the inning when Esteban German and Mark Teahen singled him in.
The Indians went back on top in the bottom of the second with one swing of the bat. Kelly Shoppach hit one over the left field wall on an 0-1 count making it a 2-1 Indians lead.
The Indians opened the game up with a four run fifth. Grady Sizemore singled with one out, and Carroll and Choo, the instigators in the first inning, both registered hits – Carroll a double, and Choo a single; Choo’s single scoring Sizemore.
Jhonny Peralta struck out for out number two, but Ben Francisco pummeled a double to left, scoring Carroll. Shoppach’s single capped the four run outburst, plating both Carroll and Francisco and making it 6-1 Indians.
Jose Guillen turned out to be Lee’s Achilles heel. In the fifth and the ninth he homered off Lee, accounting for two of the five runs the Royals scored. The hit in the fifth made it a 6-2 game.
In the sixth, Sizemore delivered a two run RBI, doubling with Franklin Gutierrez and Asdrubal Cabrera on the base paths. Gutierrez and Cabrera were both on base via the walk when Sizemore’s double scorched into center.
Sizemore ended up the third run of the inning, after a Carroll groundout moved him to third, and a Peralta sac-fly brought him in.
The hit-fest continued in the seventh. Gutierrez doubled, and Cabrera hit a two run home run.
Choo delivered a homerun in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Indians a 14-2 lead.
In the ninth, Lee gave up an immediate home run to Guillen, his second and twentieth of the year.
Lee then gave up an infield single to Ka’aihue, got Olivo on a popup, gave up a single to German and a double Teahen that scored Ka’aihue.
That brought out Jensen Lewis in relief of Lee. Lewis got the last two outs via the fly ball, but on the first, German scored. The final score was 12-5.
The Indians had 15 hits, the Royals 11. There were five home runs total in the contest, with the Royals’ Jose Guillen accounting for both on the Royals side.
Guillen, German, and Teahen all had two hits apiece for the Royals. Sizemore and Choo had three hits apiece for the Indians.
Play resumes in Kansas City on Saturday. Royals righty Zack Greinke (10-10, 3.70 ERA) goes up against Indians righty Fausto Carmona (8-6, 4.88 ERA). Game time is 1:05 and the action can be heard on XM channel 181.