So quite obviously, the O’s jumped out to an early lead, the Indians only scratched together two hits and one run, and the Tribe lost an uninspiring game in a game that lasted just over two and a half hours.
The Indians managed only five baserunners on the night: a single each for Valbuena (!) and Cabrera; walks from Brantley and Duncan; and a HBP from Jordan Brown. You know nothing interesting happened offensively when getting hit by a pitch is one of your team’s biggest accomplishments. The only Indian run scored in the fifth on Luis Valbuena’s RBI single.
Post-game, Manny Acta said “We’re not going to have Carlos Santana back. We don’t have Travis Hafner. We’re going to have to battle with what we have. Take a look at our offense. We’re going to have to really battle at the end of the season here.”
Josh Tomlin wasn’t awful, though he was actually quite lucky to only allow the three runs. Coming into the game last night, opposing batters were only hitting .175 against him on balls in play. Last night they hit .500 (10 for 20) on balls in play, leaving his BABiP for the year at a more reasonable (though still low) .244. Sometimes, regression to the mean is a nasty thing to watch. You know how to avoid it? Strike more guys out: Tomlin only had one K on the night.
In more surprising news, Tomlin was helped by his defense. The Orioles hit into three double plays on the night, and Chris Giminez threw out Josh Bell trying to steal second in the first inning. These sorts of plays explain how the O’s only put three runs on the board while posting 13 hits on the night. In total, the Oriole’s stranded 20 baserunners on the evening. Yes. It could have been worse.
The Tribe bullpen combined to throw four scoreless innings to keep the Indians close, but the offense didn’t appear particularly interested in making a game of it. In the bottom of the ninth, Choo, representing the tying run, made the final out by weakly flying out to center.
The series concludes tonight at 7:05, with the Indians sending rookie Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 1.56 ERA) to the hill to try to avoid the sweep. Old friend Kevin Millwood (2-11, 5.84 ERA) will throw for the Orioles.