The fans who made it to the ballpark last night saw two aces (well, the Nationals kind of have a few of those) battle it out and pile up the strikeouts. Justin Masterson and the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez combined for 14 innings, 18 strikeouts, 240 pitches, and only one run apiece. Neither was the pitcher of record, but the Indians won it in the bottom of the ninth as Jason Kipnis’s hard hit shot down the first base line scored Drew Stubbs from third base as he slid in under the tag from Kurt Suzuki. The Tribe won their third straight game coming off the 8-game slide with a 2-1 victory.
From the outset, Gio Gonzalez was dialed in and efficient. There were plenty of swings and misses from the Indians as Gio struck out eight in the game and three in a row in the first two innings. Post-game, Indians manager Terry Francona mentioned that it wasn’t Gio’s breaking stuff that he’s usually praised for that did his team in. Instead, Francona pointed to his fastball up in the zone that was accounting for most of the swings and misses from his guys. Six of those K’s came from a mid-90s fastball. Gio crusied through the first three innings, allowing just one hit and keeping his pitch count way down. Finally though, the Indians started getting some traffic on the basepaths and forced Gonzalez to throw 50 pitches in the sixth and seventh innings. Gonzalez came back out after a frustrating end to the sixth inning that involved walking the bases loaded with a pitch count of 109. In all Gio threw 127 pitches, a startling figure for a June game. [Read more...]