Sunday, August 31, 2014

Game of the Day (8/30/14)

Indians 3, Royals 2 (11). Cleveland's inconsistent youngster Trevor Bauer faced off with Kansas City's steady workhorse James Shields.

Shields allowed a two-out Michael Brantley double in the top of the first, but ended the inning scorelessly. Bauer had a much more adventurous time of it in the bottom of the inning, allowing singles to Norichika Aoki and Omar Infante, then walking Alex Gordon to load the bases with nobody out. Bauer then proceeded to strike out the next three Royals to end the inning. Shields retired the Indians in order in the second, while Bauer allowed an Alcides Escobar double and nothing else. In the third, Lonnie Chisenhall led off with a single, and Michael Bourn hit into a force and stole second before being left on; Bauer walked and stranded Infante in the bottom of the frame.

Cleveland opened the scoring in the top of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Jason Kipnis and Yan Gomes. Raul Ibanez and Lorenzo Cain walked to begin the bottom of the inning, but Mike Moustakas hit into a double play and Escobar flied out to end the inning. Bourn doubled and moved to third on a grounder in the fifth, but didn't score, and Bauer set the Royals down in order in the bottom of the inning. Shields worked a 1-2-3 sixth; Bauer allowed an Ibanez walk and a Cain double with two outs in the bottom of the inning and was pulled for Kyle Crockett, who retired Moustakas to end the threat.

Shields exchanged perfect sevenths with Scott Atchison. Wade Davis relieved in the top of the eighth and struck out the side. Atchison walked Gordon and committed an error on a Billy Butler grounder that put runners at the corners in the bottom of the inning. Pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second, Salvador Perez struck out, and Nick Hagadone relieved and intentionally walked pinch hitter Eric Kratz to load the bases. Hagadone was relieved by CC Lee (which makes you wonder why they bothered with a reliever just to intentionally walk someone); Lee drew a forceout from Cain that scored Gordon with the tying run. Marc Rzepczynski became the fourth Indian pitcher of the inning and got Moustakas to ground out, leaving the go-ahead run at third.

Greg Holland was perfect in the ninth. Cody Allen allowed a single-and-steal to Infante and walked Gordon, then retired Dyson to send the game to extras. Kelvin Herrera worked around a Chisenhall single in the tenth; Josh Tomlin relieved in the bottom of the inning and had a rather more eventful time, starting with a Perez double. Cain reached on a one-out infield hit and Moustakas was intentionally walked to load the bases. Escobar then hit into a force at home, and Jayson Nix struck out to keep the game going.

Scott Downs took the mound in the top of the eleventh and was greeted by a Jose Ramirez triple; Brantley promptly singled Ramirez home with the go-ahead run. Jason Frasor was summoned to replace Downs, and his appearance began with Brantley taking third on a steal-and-error. Carlos Santana then singled Brantley home to make it a 3-1 game. Frasor ended the inning with no further damage, and the Royals mounted a rally in the bottom of the inning when Dyson singled and Perez doubled him home, but Tomlin struck out Kratz to end the game.

This was... not a great game for the Royals. They went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position; in particular, they loaded the bases three times, once with nobody out, and got one total run out of it. On the other side of the ball, they gave up an eleventh-inning run mostly due to a steal-and-error, which is the kind of thing they've used to win on offense this year - and that run ended up providing Cleveland with the winning margin in a game that dropped KC into a tie for first with the Tigers.

In a word: Ouch.

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