The first two games in this weekend set against Detroit were brutal. Errors, mediocre pitching, a lack of offense, and just overall bad baseball. The Indians atoned for that on Sunday by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth off of Jose Valverde and winning in thrilling fashion on a Lonnie Chisenhall laserbeam single with the bases loaded to take home a 7-6 victory. With any luck, it'll be the loss that keeps the Tigers out of the playoffs. The loss put the Tigers two games behind the White Sox in the AL Central with tomorrow's makeup in Chicago.
Ubaldo Jimenez did what he does best in the first inning - allow baserunners. The Tigers loaded the bases on a couple of singles and a walk. With two outs, Brennan Boesch singled back to the mound and Jimenez made things worse with a bad throw that allowed another run to score. To Jimenez's credit, he really settled down after that inning and kept the Indians in the ballgame. After the first inning, he allowed just one more run and only one more hit over the next five innings.
In the third, the Tigers extended their lead to three. Miguel Cabrera doubled with one out. Manager Manny Acta decided to walk Prince Fielder and Delmon Young followed with a RBI single to right. The Indians offense had chances early in the game, leaving the bases loaded in the first and leaving a runner on third in the second. The middle innings were kind to the Indians on Sunday.
The Tribe got on the board in the fourth, took the lead in the fifth, and extended the lead in the sixth. Russ Canzler singled to lead off the fourth and went to third on Jack Hannahan's one out double. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a two-run single to get the Tribe back in the game. After Jimenez put up another zero in the fifth, the Indians got right back to work and took the lead. Asdrubal Cabrera singled, Carlos Santana reached on an error, and one batter later, Canzler drove in a run with a single. Lonnie Chisenhall bounced into a fielder's choice that put the Indians ahead, 4-3. A little insurance, at the time, came in the sixth when Cabrera, who singled and stole second, came around on a Santana infield single.
Jimenez left the ballgame with a 4-3 lead and the bullpen entered with a 5-3 lead. Jimenez has been stuck on nine wins since August 9. Things looked good for him to pick up his 10th win, but then Miguel Cabrera happened. Joe Smith just didn't have it on Sunday for the Indians. With one out, Quentin Berry singled. One batter later, Andy Dirks extended the inning with a single. Miguel Cabrera took Joe Smith deep, winning the latest installment of their year-long battle, to put the Tigers on top 6-5 as the Tiger faithful in attendance chanted "MVP".
Neither team did anything until the ninth. Jose Valverde, whose on-the-mound jackassery makes everyone outside of Detroit hate him, entered for the third straight game. Jason Kipnis doubled to lead off the inning and put the pressure on Valverde. After Asdrubal Cabrera popped up, Santana stepped to the plate and drove a ball to right field. Don Kelly got a good beat on it, got back towards the wall, and gave it a valiant effort, slamming into the wall. The ball fell to the warning track and Santana scampered to third as Kipnis scored the tying run. Following intentional walks to Michael Brantley and Ezequiel Carrera, Chisenhall walked to the plate and absolutely smashed the first pitch fastball into right center for the walk-off winner.
With the win, the Indians are now 61-86. The Tigers lost, falling two games behind the White Sox at 77-68. Esmil Rogers was the winner, improving to 2-1. Jose Valverde is a loser. I don't just mean today, I mean he's a loser in general.
Stat of the Night: The Indians entered this week 1-75 when trailing after nine innings. They've won twice in that situation this week.
Player of the Game: Carlos Santana. Three more hits today for Santana, who has been a beast in the second half.
Tomorrow's Game: The Indians will enjoy an off day. They'll welcome the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at 7:05.