Sean O’Sullivan was still in the game for Kansas City starting the seventh inning, and was greeted by a single from Jack Hannahan — the Indians’ fifth hit of the game. Louis Coleman came on for the Royals — making his major league debut — ending O’Sullivan’s night.
Adam Everett struck out swinging, failing in this at-bat to move the runner, and Grady Sizemore flew out on the first pitch for the second out of the inning, followed by Asdrubal Cabrera fouling out to left, ending the frame.
One fantastic debut inning for the Royals’ Coleman: eight pitches, three outs.
Wilson Betemit singled leading off the Kansas City seventh. Now to see if Josh Tomlin could do what Coleman had done in the top of the inning and work through the baserunner.
And bingo! Kila Ka’aihue grounded into a second-to-short-to-first double play, and quickly two were down. Matt Treanor popped out, and Tomlin had posted seven zeroes in a row. With a six-pitch inning and a pitch-count of only 83, the thought of a complete game started to flit around the mind of Manny Acta, no doubt, though we would see if Acta would play it “by the book” and go set-up man/closer in the next two innings, all other things being equal.
Coleman retired Shin-Soo Choo to start the eighth, but then Carlos Santana doubled to left and Travis Hafner singled to left-center. Unfortunately Santana was thrown out at the plate for the second out, with Hafner taking second.
Michael Brantley was walked intentionally, setting up a force at third or second, and Matt LaPorta flied out to right, ending the inning.
Tomlin came out for the bottom of the eighth, and retired Alcides Escobar on a grounder to short, but walked Chris Getz on five pitches.
That was all for Tomlin after 91 pitches, and Tony Sipp — who was roughed up for three runs in 2/3 of an inning last night — came on to face Melky Cabrera.
Getz stole second, getting into scoring position, but Sipp — after falling behind Cabrera 3-1 — got Cabrera on a fly ball to right for the second out. Getz kept running though, and stole third with Alex Gordon at the plate. Sipp walked Gordon on four pitches, putting runners at the corners for Billy Butler.
That was enough for Manny Acta, and Vinnie Pestano came on with the tying runs on base and the go-ahead run at the plate.
Pestano walked Butler and suddenly the bases were loaded for Jeff Francoeur — who homered last night in the ninth inning.
Francoeur singled to short for the first Kansas City run of the night, and the go-ahead runs were in scoring position before — finally — the Indians got out of the inning when Wilson Betemit grounded out to first.
Three pitchers…one hit…three walks…two stolen bases…only one run. It is safe to say that the Tribe, albeit being scored on, dodged a major bullet in the eighth.
Hannahan grounded out to start the Cleveland ninth against new reliever Aaron Crow; Adam Everett popped out; but then Grady Sizemore collected his third hit of the night, doubling to right. However, Asdrubal Cabrera finished an 0-for-4 night by grounding out, and the bottom of the ninth was next with Cleveland holding the narrowest of leads.
Chris Perez came on looking for save number seven on the season.
Ka’aihue led off with a double, immediately putting the tying run in scoring position against Perez, who had yet to surrender a run all year. Mike Aviles pinch-ran, and pinch-hitter Mitch Maier singled to center, putting runners at the corners (and putting a sickening feeling in the stomach of a chronicler).
Then Perez induced a grounder that turned into an out at the plate as Hannahan cut down Aviles for the first out, leaving runners at first and second.
But then Perez walked Getz, loading the bases. Suddenly, in the past two innings, the Indians had forgotten how to throw strikes, it seemed. That brought Melky Cabrera to the plate.
And of course….of COURSE…Cabrera singled to left, and Maier and Escobar scored.
Josh Tomlin deserved better than this, but it is what it is. Aaron Crow gets the win for the Royals, moving to 2-0, while Chris Perez takes the loss, his first decision of the season. Perez’s 0.00 ERA is gone….one might say it walked away.
Perez’s ERA is now 2.25. Hard to say what his psyche might be after this one. In fact, the same might be said of Tony Sipp, who was lit up in a meaningless performance last night and then tonight could not throw a strike when needed to help get the Tribe through the eighth. And of course we are not forgetting the walk and infield hit off of Vinnie Pestano in that tortuous inning.
With the loss, Kansas City once again creeps within a game of the Indians, who drop to 13-6. Cleveland heads to Minnesota now for three, while the pesky Royals head to Texas.
This one is going to sting for a while. Not much offense and not much pitching besides from Josh Tomlin, who remains 3-0, with an ERA that drops to 2.33 after giving up just one run in 7 1/3 innings…a run that might well have not scored, had the “relief” after him been able to consistently find the strike zone.