The Indians must be really glad to be coming back from the West Coast, even though the record will show that they went 3-3 on this trip and have the exact same 4 1/2 game lead that they had when they took off last weekend from Cleveland.
In a game which resembled an old Minneapolis Metrodome game at times, the Angels took the lead in the sixth thanks to an error, the Indians fought back in the eighth and regained the lead, and then the Tribe watched Los Angeles bounce two "hits" off of home plate before a double over the head of Austin Kearns in the bottom of the eighth scored a pair and gave the Angels a 6-5 victory, with the Tribe teasing us just once more with a run in the ninth on consecutive one-out doubles from Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera, before Shin-Soo Choo struck out on what seemed like a questionable swinging strike three, and Carlos Santana ended it with another swinging strikeout.
This one started out so well for the Indians.
Austin Kearns drove in a run with a second-inning single off of Dan Haren to give the Tribe the early lead, and when Sizemore homered in the fifth, the lead doubled to 2-0.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth and with two outs, Maicer Izturis singled and Vernon Wells reached on a fielding error by Cleveland third baseman Adam Everett.
Time for Fausto Carmona to bear down and not allow the error to rattle him, yes?
Alberto Callaspo drilled a double to center that Sizemore may have had trouble with, and the game was tied as both runners scored.
Then Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single (a specialty which would haunt the Indians later), and Hank Conger plated the go-ahead run with a single to center, putting the Angels up 3-2.
The Indians got Haren out of the game in the seventh, and in the eighth, off of Fernando Rodney, Cleveland rallied to go back ahead.
After Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a single, Choo was retired, but Santana singled Cabrera to third, on a play where the throw from the outfield almost got away. Santana took second on the play.
Then Travis Hafner tied the game with a single and Orlando Cabrera delivered a sac fly and just like that, the Indians led again, 4-3. After Cabrera stole second and Matt LaPorta was hit by a pitch, Austin Kearns fanned to end the rally,
Then came the bottom of the eighth, with Rafael Perez coming on for Carmona (3-3, 3.83 ERA) who was good enough to win on this day, except for the Angels’ Designated Home Plate in Los Angeles' last at-bat.
Kendrick doubled with one out, but Raffy got Conger to strike out. In came Joe Smith, with a chance to get the game to the ninth.
And into play came home plate.
Mark Trumbo beat a ball into the dish, and by the time it came down Trumbo had a hit and Kendrick was at third.
Then Peter Bourjos did the exact same thing, driving the ball off of the plate and beating it out as Smith waited helplessly for the ball to come down to his glove, scoring Kendrick with the tying run.
Two good pitches, two lucky breaks for Los Angeles.
And inevitably, it seemed, Erick Aybar followed with a double, scoring Trumbo and Bourjos, before Smith finally got out of the inning.
Smith takes the loss to drop to 1-1 on the season, while Rodney gets the win, even after allowing two runs in the eighth. Rodney moves to 2-1, with Jordan Walden getting the shaky save, his sixth on the season.
The first run in the eighth inning was charged to Rafael Perez, and — cheap as it may have been — became the first run allowed by Perez this season.
The Indians now have an off-day tomorrow. It will be needed after this tortuous affair today. On Tuesday the Tampa Bay Rays pay a visit to Progressive Field in the first of a three-game series.
That won’t be easy, either. The Rays — after beating the Orioles in Baltimore today — have now won eight straight road games.