Player of the Game
Michael Bourn hit a two run double, making him the Indians most productive member on the night. The Player of the Game was his fifth on the year, but just his first in almost three full months.
The Indians got on the board first, despite the first two batters getting out. Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley all hit two out singles, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first. The scoring ended there, but it needn't have had if one of the first two hitters in the Indians lineup had gotten on.
Terry Francona has done a really good job dealing with Lonnie Chisenhall's struggles in the midst of the play-off hunt and it finally paid off. Instead of completely giving up on him like Manny Acta did at the beginning of last season, Francona has been using Chisenhall, just not every day. He has played in five of the last nine games and came through today with three hits, including a double. In those five games in September, Lonnie has raised his batting average from .218 to .229 and started using the whole field with more power, hitting four extra base hits in those five games.
Scoreboard Watch: Just when you thought things couldn't get any tighter, the Yankees beat the Orioles, moving the two teams into a three way tie with the Indians. Tampa also lost, so none of the teams lose any ground to the Rays.
Zach McAllister wasn't his typical ground ball self tonight, allowing six hits, three walks, an error, a hit batter and a balk, a very surprising return from the usually dependable sinker-baller. Nothing really hurt McAllister, however, until the sixth inning when when two doubles allowed the Royals to score three times and take the lead. He faced four batters that inning, but didn't retire any as he left a mess for Nick Hagadone to deal with. McAllister has struggled since his return from the DL and despite allowing four runs in five innings, this was his best start in his past three games.
The Indians grounded into three double plays today, limiting their possible offensive production, but the problem isn't just the outs themselves. When the Indians actually got runners on base, there was no one attempting to drive the ball to the outfield, instead, even on the Brantley RBI single, every one was just hitting the ball into the ground. Putting the ball in the air may result in less hits per at bat, but will eventually turn into bigger hits and less double plays.
Luke "Wrecking Ball" Hochever looks like a completely different pitcher coming out of the bullpen than as a starter. Tonight, the Indians were starting to come back and had already scored two runs in the seventh against Kelvin Herrera when Hochever appeared. He stranded Michael Bourn at second by striking out the first two batters he faced, then struck out the side in the eighth as well. Hochever simply destroyed the momentum it looked like the Indians were building.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 - Kansas City Royals 6