Friday, May 23, 2014

Game of the Day (5/22/14)

Indians 8, Orioles 7 (13). Coming off of a 13-inning game the day before, in which they had used this game's scheduled starter in relief, Cleveland turned to Justin Masterson on 3 days' rest to open this game against Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen.

Chen was perfect in the top of the first, while Masterson faced the minimum thanks to a double play. Ryan Raburn led off the second with a homer to open the scoring, and Masterson once again exploited the double play ball to keep Baltimore scoreless in the second. In the top of the third, Michael Bourn hit a one-out single, and Michael Brantley tripled him home, then scored on a wild pitch to make it a 3-0 game.

A Ryan Flaherty double in the latter half of the third did not lead to any scoring, nor did leadoff singles by Nick Swisher and Manny Machado in the fourth. Chen was perfect in the top of the fifth, and Masterson began to show signs of wear in the bottom of the inning, as he walked Steve Clevenger and hit both JJ Hardy and Flaherty to load the bases with nobody out. David Lough hit into a 1-2-3 double play, and Nick Markakis lined out to preserve the shutout.

Chen was spotless again in the top of the sixth, and the shutout died a thorough death in the bottom of the inning. Adam Jones doubled with one out, then took third on a wild pitch. Nelson Cruz walked, Clevenger singled to score Jones, Hardy singled to score Cruz, and Flaherty homered to score three more Orioles and put the team ahead 5-3. A walk to Lough ended Masterson's outing, and Mark Lowe came on to see Lough get caught stealing.

Baltimore's lead proved extremely temporary, as the top of the seventh brought singles by Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana, an RBI groundout from David Murphy, and an RBI single by Mike Aviles to tie the game at 5. Brian Matusz relieved Chen and allowed a Bourn single before Asdrubal Cabrera flied out to leave the go-ahead run at third.

The Orioles recaptured the advantage in the bottom of the inning on what has to be one of the least-earned runs ever: Machado reached on an error by Cabrera, and Jones followed with a grounder on which Santana tried for the force and threw wildly, putting the runners at second and third. An intentional walk to Chris Davis loaded the bases, and Cruz followed with a go-ahead sac fly. But Lonnie Chisenhall homered against Darren O'Day in the top of the eighth to even things up again at 6 runs apiece.

Marc Rzepczynksi and Cody Allen combined to work around a leadoff single for a scoreless eighth. Zach Britton retired the Indians in order in the ninth, while Allen allowed a Jones single and a wild pitch before ending the inning and forcing extras. In the top of the tenth, Bourn led off with a single and made it to third on a pair of outs before the inning ended; John Axford allowed a lone two-out single to Steven Pearce in the bottom of the inning.

Preston Guilmet took the mound in the eleventh and retired the Indians in order for two straight innings. Meanwhile, Josh Outman rebutted a Jones single with a Davis double play in the eleventh, then worked around a leadoff walk to Cruz in the twelfth. Guilmet secured the first out of the thirteenth before being replaced by Troy Patton; Patton promptly made Baltimore fans pine for Guilmet, as he allowed singles to Brantley and Chisenhall, walked Swisher to load the bases, coaxed a foulout from Gomes, and allowed a go-ahead two-run double to Santana. A walk to Murphy and a force from Aviles ended the inning without further damage, but the two runs gave Scott Atchison enough padding that the home run he allowed to Markakis was not enough to cost the Indians the lead.

It's not quite as good as yesterday's game, at least in part because there wasn't a walkoff balk involved. But it's still excellent, with several lead swings in mid-to-late regulation and a few extra-inning chances before one was finally cashed in. WPL awards it a score of 6.85, #7 on the season so far.

More significantly, this was a second consecutive 13-inning game, featuring one of the same teams that played yesterday's (and used relievers for 11 of those 13 innings). Despite the fact that they've been scrambling for pitching in the last 24 innings they've played, the Indians came out with wins in both games.

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