When you jump out ahead with three first inning runs in your home park, you are supposed to win. When your bullpen delivers seven straight scoreless innings, you are supposed to win. When you load the bases on three straight one out walks in the 10th inning, you are supposed to win. Well, that’s why you play out the full game….
The Indians had several opportunities to put away the New York Yankees Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, but could never seal the deal. The Bronx Bombers could do nothing once Josh Tomlin was lifted after seven innings, but then again neither could the Tribe. Something was going to eventually have to give. It did, but unfortunately it was the Wahoos that blinked first.
Jacoby Ellsbury, another in a long line of overpaid Yankees lock in long-term contracts, took an 0-2 hanging mistake from Vinnie Pestano deep to right field to break the tie and give the Yankees a 5-4 win. Pestano had him ahead in the count, but left a meatball right in Ellsbury’s wheelhouse for his sixth homer on the season.
“I was trying to back foot it, just didn’t get it there,” Pestano said. “When you throw a pitch like that to a hitter like that, you need to get it down. It just didn’t get there, and he did what he gets paid to do.”
It was the first earned run Pestano has allowed since his return from AAA on June 20th. The game should have never gotten to him in the first place.
The Tribe jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first against new Yankee starter Brandon McCarthy. Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley both lined singles in front of a Carlos Santana grounder to first. Mark Teixeira, normally a gold-glove caliber player, made an throwing error which loaded the bases with one out. Lonnie Chisenhall’s groundout put the Tribe on the board and Nick Swisher’s two-out, two-run single stretched the lead to 3-0.
After that McCarthy settled in while Tribe started Josh Tomlin did what he does, throw strikes. Tomlin’s lone bugaboo has always been giving up the long ball. Last night was no different and it hurt the Indians. Teixeira got him for a solo blast in the fourth and an inning later he would come back around to haunt The Little Cowboy. With one out, Ellsbury doubled and Derek Jeter singled. Brian McCann’s sac fly made it 3-2, but up stepped Big Tex. He would crush a Tomlin pitch deep to right to put the Yankees on top for the first time.
“I just made a couple mistakes to one hitter and paid for it,” said Tomlin. “I try to stay away from him. I left two pitchers over the plate and you saw what he did with them.”
The Tribe bats battled back to tie things immediately in the bottom of the frame when Santana’s two-out single scored Asdrubal Cabrera. We would stayed tied at four for the next eight innings.
Starting in the seventh, both teams gave their bullpens a workout. The 10th inning was the only one worth mentioning. Manager Terry Francona went to his closer Cody Allen who proceeded to walk Jeter and give up a single to McCann. Things looked dicey when Teixeira stepped back in, but Allen got him to fly out. Brian Roberts erased McCann on a fielder’s choice, but the lead run was now 90 feet away. The ever confident Allen reared back and K’d Ichiro Suzuki to end the inning.
The home half is where the Indians had their game essentially handed to them, but couldn’t finish the job. Old friend David Huff was on in relief and as we had seen so many times throughout his disappointing time in Cleveland, his command was nowhere to be found. The former Tribe first round pick walked three straight with one out to load the bases. Yankee skipped Joe Girardi had seen enough and went to righty Adam Warren.
Swisher was first. All he needed was a fly ball. Instead, he struck out leaving it up to David Murphy. “Good Guy” yanked what looked like the game winner down the line to right, but his rope landed no more than two feet foul. He wound up grounding out to short and the threat went by the wayside.
“We had the bases loaded with Swish up, and it was a 2-1 count and he check-swinged on a ball down in the dirt,” Francona said.
The game dragged on into Thursday as Ellsbury took Pestano deep in the 14th. Our boys almost tied it with their last chance. Kipnis singled and stole second. Brantley, who has been so clutch all year, smoked a liner to left that looked like a double off the bat. However, Zolio Almonte made a nice play on the ball and ran it down to end the game.
“Kip did a great job and I’ll take my chances with Brantley at the plate in that situation everytime,” said Francona.
Now the Indians must salvage a split tonight with lefty T.J. House (1-2, 4.24 ERA). He will square off with New York’s David Phelps (3-4, 4,01 ERA).
photo via Joshua Gunter/PD