The Cleveland Indians fell to just one game above .500 on Sunday with a disheartening 9-5 loss to Pittsburgh in the final outing of their three-game series.
After opening the rainy afternoon with a run in each of the first two innings to take a quick 2-0 lead, everything came unraveled for Cleveland pitchers in the middle innings. A three-run shot from the bat of Pittsburgh slugger Pedro Alvarez swung the momentum and the lead in the fourth, even though the Indians responded accordingly with a pair of runs on a Shin-Soo Choo double to take the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning.
Trying to protect a one-run lead, Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez was unable to keep his team ahead on the scoreboard, and quickly gave up a game-tying solo home run to Alex Presley to kick off what would prove to be a wild fifth inning. Gomez then drew some unfortunate luck on a play where his teammate Asdrubal Cabrera committed three errors to both advance multiple baserunners and allow a pair of Pittsburgh players to cross home. That sequence of events would only set the table for recently-acquired pitcher Esmil Rogers to enter the game and serve up Alvarez's second home run of the day (a three-run shot), a blast to right field that broke the game wide open.
Despite the loss, Cleveland infielder Jason Kipnis belted his 11th home run and stole his 17th base of the season on Sunday to continue his strong campaign. The 3-for-5 performance from the plate also moved Kipnis' average up to .284, which places him in an extremely rare class for his position at this point in the season.
Next up for the 33-32 Indians is a three-game interleague series at Progressive Field against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds embarrassed Cleveland with a thorough three-game sweep this past week, so you can bet the Indians will be looking to even the score.
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