The Indians, who had been playing so well during their eight-game winning streak, were undone last night by a fantastic pitching performance and tonight by failure to execute and a shoddy final inning out of the bullpen.
Jeff Mathis plated the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the twelfth inning, scoring Vernon Wells and giving the Los Angeles Angels a 4-3 victory over the Tribe, who really could use a day off after this one.
The winning pitcher for the Angels was Hisanori Takahashi (1-0), who hurled two perfect innings of relief, while the loser was Chad Durbin (0-1), who came on in the twelfth, retired the first hitter, then allowed an infield single, a walk, a wild pitch followed by an intentional walk to set up a double play, or at least a force at any base, and, finally, the game-winning fly ball.
The loss spoiled a gutsy start from Carlos Carrasco, who allowed three runs in the fourth but toughed his way through seven innings, surrendering just those three runs and five hits, walking two and K'ing five.
Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez were brilliant in relief, combining for four hitless, shutout innings and only one walk to go with four strikeouts.
That set up the twelfth.
The Indians had tied the game in the eighth inning on a ground out, but the Tribe’s bats went to sleep after that, and coupled with the plethora of scoring chances gone by the wayside in the earlier innings (recounted in previous updates), the end result saw Cleveland fall to 8-4 on the season.
The Indians remain in first place by a half-game over the Royals and by a full game over Chicago, which had a gut-wrenching loss of their own today.
Even so — first place or not — this one hurts, and it is to be hoped that it will not be looked back at as the game which started a decline for the Tribe.
After a day off tomorrow, the Indians return to action on Friday night at Progressive Field against the Baltimore Orioles.
Let’s hope that the hangover from this tortuous loss will have worn off by then.