As we moved into the middle innings tonight, Bruce Chen continued to shut the Indians down, surrendering a harmless two-out single to Shelley Duncan in the fourth but then getting Orlando Cabrera for the third out, and Jeanmar Gomez immediately got into trouble in the bottom half of the inning, giving up a lead-off single to Wilson Betemit.
Gomez bore down and got Kila Ka’aihue for the first out, and then — after Betemit stole second — Brayan Pena grounded out, with Betemit moving to third.
Unfortunately Gomez could not close the deal, as Alcides Escobar singled, putting Kansas City up 3-0. Escobar then stole second as the Royals, looking like a different team tonight, continued to keep up steady pressure on Gomez, who was able to escape any further damage in the frame.
Gomez was up to 73 pitches after four innings, and his main problem last year — tons of base-runners — is appearing again tonight, as Gomez had allowed seven runners in four innings.
It was time for the Tribe to begin coming back, or else this series was going to be tied heading to Wednesday.
Adam Everett drew a two-out walk in the sixth after Austin Kearns and Lou Marson had been quickly retired — Everett’s second free pass of the game — but Michael Brantley grounded out to second, and the game reached its mid-point with K.C. retaining its three-run lead.
Bruce Chen had tossed 77 pitches to this point, so he looked good to go at least seven — bad news for the Tribe, based on the way Chen was shutting them down to this point.
In the bottom of the fifth the Royals once again teed off on Gomez, with consecutive doubles from Melky Cabrera and Alex Godron immediately putting Kansas City up 4-0. Then Jeff Francoeur drove in a run with a one-out single, and that sound you may have heard was the plug being pulled and the water running out of the Tribe’s four-game winning streak.
A walk to Betemit followed, and Gomez was pulled in favor of Chad Durbin.
The kid gave it his best shot and did have those first two scoreless innings to maybe build on, but the bottom line is that this start was the Indians’ worst since the first two games of the season.
After Durbin was able to close out the inning without further scoring, Gomez’s final line for the night was: 4 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs (all earned) with two walks and three K’s.
Hey, you cannot win them all, and if it is meant for the Indians to lose tonight, better to lose a laugher — so to speak — than a heartbreaker, such as the Indians loss last Wednesday in Anaheim.