Indians look to even the series with Angels tonight

For the second time in as many games, the Cleveland Indians played an extra inning affair, though the results were not as favorable on Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings.

The Indians lone run came in the fourth on a groundout by Travis Hafner.

After Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning getting hit by a pitch from Angels’ starter Tyler Chatwood, Carlos Santana followed two batters later with a single to shallow center to put runners at the corners. Hafner then hit a sharper grounder to first baseman Howie Kendrick that scored AC.

That was all the offense the Indians were able to muster.


Tribe takes two out of three in Oakland

All good things must come to an end, right? I mean, you didn’t think that the Cleveland Indians were going to go 154-8, did you?

On Wednesday night, the Oakland A’s ended the Tribe’s seven-game winning streak with a 3-1 win at Coliseum.

On Thursday afternoon, though, the Indians got back to their winning ways to start a new streak as Cleveland defeated Oakland, 4-3, in 12 innings to take two out of the three games in the series.

Yesterday’s game was a huge win in extras as Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson each came through with RBI singles in the top of the 12th.

Marson, starting at catcher as Carlos Santana had the day off, went 3-for-5 with an RBI while Asdrubal Cabrera had a pair of hits and knocked in two runs, which included a two-run single in the sixth that put the Tribe up 2-1.

Indians’ starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez lasted 5.1 innings and allowed one run on six hits with a strikeout and a pair of walks. He faced 23 batters and threw 97 pitches with 58 landing in the zone.

Reliever Chad Durbin (2-1) got the win for the Indians by pitching two shutout innings in the 10th and 11th, while Chris Perez got his ninth save of the season despite giving up a run in the 12th.

If there’s one real need that the Indians have, it’s getting or developing a top-notch closer. With one out in the bottom of the 12th, Perez walked Daric Barton then Conor Jackson singled to left-center to put runners at first and second.

Perez was able to retire the next batter, Josh Willingham, who popped out before Ryan Sweeney lined a shot up the middle to bring home Barton to make it a 4-3 game. Now with two outs and the tying run 90 feet away, Perez induced pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui to hit a shallow fly ball to left field that was caught by Asdrubal Cabrera to end the game.


In Wednesday night’s game, Cleveland pitchers Josh Tomlin and Tony Sipp allowed just four hits, but two of those were solo homers by David DeJesus.

Tomlin (4-1) was charged with the hard-luck loss for the Indians after going 7.2 innings and gave up just three runs — two earned — on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Up next, the Indians travel down the California coast to take on the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game set beginning on Friday night. In game one, Indians’ starter Justin Masterson (5-0, 2.25) looks to get his sixth win of the season and he will be opposed by Tyler Chatwood (2-1, 4.94). First pitch at Angel Stadium of Anaheim is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on STO.

Comeback kids do it again on last at-bat

For the fourth time in as many games, the Cleveland Indians either trailed or were tied heading into the bottom of the eighth or later, and each time the Tribe has come away with a win.

These guys just find a way to get it done on their last at-bat.

On Tuesday night at the Coliseum in Oakland, the Indians and A’s were deadlocked at 1-1 going into the ninth before Cleveland scored three runs in the final frame to win 4-1.

Last night’s hero was once again, Orlando Cabrera, who laced an RBI single to center that scored Matt LaPorta for the go-ahead run.

But the ninth inning did get off to an ominous start.

Michael Brantley led off the frame by drawing a nine-pitch walk from A’s reliever Brian Fuentes. But Brantley was caught leaning as Fuentes threw over to first and he was tagged out trying to get to second on the steal attempt.

Now with one out, LaPorta came to the dish and slapped a single into left field, but as a fan, you’re thinking if Brantley didn’t get caught stealing, he’d be on third base with no outs.

It didn’t matter, though, because Jack Hannahan followed with a base hit to right that put runners on the corners before OC’s RBI single up the middle brought home LaPorta to put the Indians up 2-1.

Cleveland got insurance runs after Grady Sizemore was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Asdrubal Cabrera came through with a two-run single to center that scored Hannahan and OC.

A performance fitting for a staff ace, Indians’ starting pitcher Fausto Carmona went eight innings and threw 96 pitches to 26 batters, allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts and a walk.

Closer Chris Perez earned his eighth save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth with one K.

Up next, the middle contest of the three-game set is Wednesday night as Josh Tomlin (4-0, 2.45) will toe the rubber for the Indians, and he will face A’s starting pitcher Trevor Cahill (4-0, 1.88 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET at the Coliseum and the game will be televised on STO.

Series Preview: Cleveland at Oakland

CLEVELAND INDIANS – (19-8, 1st AL Central, Road: 6-6, Streak: Won 6) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS – (15-14, 3rd AL West, Home: 7-6, Streak: Won 2)

The Cleveland Indians, winners of six straight and owners of the best record in Major League Baseball, head out for another West Coast swing beginning at Coliseum to take on the Oakland Athletics for a three-game set which starts Tuesday night.

The Indians enjoyed some home-cooking last week when they swept both the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

While the Tribe is playing .500 ball away from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, the Indians have lost six of their last eight games on the road after winning the first four.

The A’s, meanwhile, just took three out of four games against Texas, who are tied atop the AL West standing with the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland has won six out of their last nine overall and are just one game back of the division leaders Rangers and Angels.

Oakland is led by former Indian, center fielder CoCo Crisp, who leads the team in batting (.292), hits (28), runs scored (17), triples (3) and stolen bases (8).

Left fielder Josh Willingham tops the A’s roster with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

Pitching Probables:

Tuesday, 10:05pm
CLE: Fausto Carmona (2-3, 5.15)
OAK: Tyson Ross (1-2, 2.76)
Notes: In his last start on Apr. 29 versus the Royals, Carmona pitched seven solid innings and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out a pair with two base on balls.

Wednesday, 10:05pm
CLE: Josh Tomlin (4-0, 2.45)
OAK: Trevor Cahill (4-0, 1.88)
Notes: In his last start on Apr. 27 against Kansas City, Tomlin surrendered two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and just one walk over six innings to earn his fourth win of the season.

Thursday, 3:35pm
CLE: Jeanmar Gomez (0-1, 6.23)
OAK: Brett Anderson (2-2, 2.95)
Notes: On April 29 vs. Detroit, Gomez went 5.2 innings, his longest outing of the season in three starts since being called up from Triple-A Columbus to take Mitch Talbot’s spot in the rotation. Gomez gave up three runs on 10 hits with four K’s and no walks in the no-decision.

Indians notch fifth sweep of season

Three different days, but the results are all the same.

On Friday night, it took a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at 5-5 by Carlos Santana for Cleveland to win.

On Saturday night, it was a RBI single from Orlando Cabrera in the bottom of the 13th with the game tied at 2-all that sealed Detroit’s fate.

On Sunday afternoon, it was Michael Brantley’s turn for the heroics with the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth as his RBI single plated the go-head run as the Indians defeated the Tigers, 5-4, at Progressive Field.

Three games with the score tied in the eighth inning or later turns into three wins for the Tribe.

With Detroit leading 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Matt LaPorta ripped a double to right that tied the game.

In the bottom of the eighth, Orlando Cabrera brought home Shin-Soo Choo with a base hit before Brantley’s go-ahead RBI single which plated Shelley Duncan.

Cleveland starting pitcher Justin Masterson last seven full innings and faced two batters in the eighth before being relieved by Rafael Perez. Masterson gave up three runs – two earned – on seven hits with seven strikeouts, two walks an a hit batsman in the no-decision.

Indians’ reliever Chad Durbin got the win by striking out Brandon Inge to end the top half of the eighth with runners on first and second.

In the home half of the frame, Choo singled to start the inning and he moved to second after Shelley Duncan was hit in the arm with a pitch. Orlando Cabrera then ripped a scorching grounder to third baseman Brandon Inge, who could only deflect it into the outfield. During the play, Choo was able to round third and slide safely into home, knotting the game at three. Duncan then touched the plate on Brantley’s single and LaPorta scored Cabrera with a long sac fly into the left field corner.

Up next, the Indians have an off-day on Monday before traveling to Oakland to begin a three-game series starting on Tuesday night as Fausto Carmona (2-3, 5.15) will start for the Tribe, and will be opposed by the A’s Tyson Ross (1-2, 2.76).  First pitch at Coliseum (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) is 10:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on STO.

Tribe tames Tigers as Santana’s slam completes rally

Are you a believer yet?

Catcher Carlos Santana, who entered Friday night’s game batting just .192 on the year, came up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth after going hitless in three at-bats and launched a towering home run into the seats in right field for a walk-off grand slam to give the Cleveland Indians a 9-5 win over the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

With Friday night’s 17th victory of the season, Cleveland set a franchise record for most wins in the month of April as the first-place Indians remain 4-1/2 games ahead of second-place Kansas City in the AL Central with a 17-8 record.

One thing is for sure, there’s no quit in this year’s edition Cleveland Indians.

Trailing 3-0 after five innings and 5-2 heading into the home half of the seventh, the Tribe rallied by scoring runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth.

Down 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth after getting just two hits through the first five innings against Tigers’ starting pitcher, Max Scherzer, the Indians added a pair of runs as Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-out single to center and after two walks, Shelley Duncan came through with base hit that scored AC and Shin-Soo Choo to make it a 3-2 game.

In the seventh, Detroit extended their lead as Jhonny Peralta smacked an RBI single and Alex Avila hit a sacrifice fly to widen the Tigers advantage to 5-2.

Not to be outdone, Cleveland struck quickly to tie the game at 5-all after the seventh inning stretch as Matt LaPorta drilled his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot into the seats in left field with one out. After Jack Hannahan popped out and Grady Sizemore drew a four-pitch, two-out walk from Scherzer, Asdrubal Cabrera rocketed a deep drive to right for his fifth HR of the season.

With the game still tied at 5-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Hannahan led off the final frame with a single to center and Sizemore followed with a base hit to right to put runners on the corners with no outs. After Asdrubal Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases, Tigers’ reliever Joaquin Benoit struck out Choo on three pitches before serving up a meaty 3-1 pitch to Santana who belted the game-winner.

Indians’ starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs on 10 scattered hits with four strikeouts and no walks. The only real damage to Gomez came when Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer off of him in the first. He faced 28 batters and threw 15 first-pitch strikes in 96 total pitches with 58 landing in the zone.

Tribe reliever Chad Durbin gave up the other two runs on two hits with a walk in the 1/3 official inning he threw plus the two batters he faced in the seventh without recording an out. After that, relief pitchers Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez combined to shutout the Tigers in the final three frames.

In game two of this three-game set scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Progressive Field, 2009 first-round pick Alex White will make his Major League debut on Saturday night against Detroit, who will send Rick Porcello (1-2, 4.76) to the mound.

So far this season at the Triple-A level, White is 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts for the Clippers. In 23.2 innings of work, White allowed just five earned runs on 19 hits with 28 strikeouts and five walks while opponents have hit just .211 against him.

Carrasco to DL, White to be called up

Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians placed starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco on the 15-day disabled list retroactive April 25 after he was not able to throw a bullpen session on Thursday.

In his last start vs. the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Sunday, Carrasco lasted just three full innings because of inflammation in his right elbow, giving up two runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks.

An MRI on Carrasco’s elbow showed no structural damage and the injury isn’t considered serious. He’s 1-1 in five starts with a 4.97 ERA so far this season.

Carrasco is second Indians’ starting pitcher to go on the DL in the last two weeks. Mitch Talbot went on the disabled list back on April 17 with a right elbow strain and he’s currently working his way back in a long-tossing program, though he’s yet to throw off a mound which may happen as early as this weekend even though he’s still weeks away from returning.

To take Carrasco’s spot in the rotation, the Indians will call up 2009 first-round pick Alex White from Triple-A Columbus, who will make his Major League debut on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.

So far this season at the Triple-A level, White is 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts for the Clippers. In 23.2 innings of work, White allowed just five earned runs on 19 hits with 28 strikeouts and five walks while opponents have hit just .211 against him.

In 2010, White was 10-10 and had a 2.45 ERA with 117 K’s and 46 walks in 26 games (25 starts) for Advanced Single-A Kinston and Double-A Akron in his pro debut last season. The former 15th overall pick out of the University of North Carolina will make it to the majors after logging a total of 174 innings in the minors.

With Royals swept away, Motor City Kitties are next

Behind four solo home runs and more solid pitching, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals, 8-2, to earn a three-game series sweep over their American League Central rivals, Thursday night.

It was the fourth series sweep of the season which matches last year’s total. So far in 2011, the Tribe have taken the brooms to the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and the aforementioned Royals.

Against Kansas City, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana connected on back-to-back jacks in the first inning off  Royals’ starter Kyle Davies, while Grady Sizemore added a solo shot in the third and Shelley Duncan blasted another in the fourth.

Cleveland starting pitcher Fausto Carmona lasted seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts and walks.

With Thursday’s win, the first-place Indians are now 4-1/2 games ahead of the Royals and the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central with a 16-8 record.

Those 16 wins ties a franchise mark for the month of April which was set three times before in 1988, 1996 and 1999.

In 1999, the Indians went 97-65 and won the American League Central after posting a 16-6 mark in April. Unfortunately, Cleveland was swept by Boston in the AL Divisional Series.

The 1996 version of the Tribe went 16-8 in April and won the Central Division with a record of 99-62, but lost to Baltimore three games to one in the ALDS.

The 1988 team, though, went 16-6 in the month of April but didn’t make the playoffs after finishing the season 78-84, good for sixth place in the AL East. As of May 2 of that year, the Indians were two games ahead in first place in the East, but plummeted to 16 games behind the division leader by August.

With two days remaining in this month, the Indians hope to break the franchise record for wins in April while extending their 10-game home winning streak as the Tribe hosts the Detroit Tigers beginning Friday night for a three-game set to end this month and move into the next.

The Motor City Kitties arrive in Cleveland after losing three-straight games as they were swept by the Mariners at home. The Tigers are now 12-13 on the year.

Detroit is led by right fielder and team drunk, Miguel Cabrera, who’s batting .318 with five homers and 16 RBIs for the Tigers.  He’s a lifetime .323 hitter with 15 homers and 47 RBIs versus Cleveland.

Pitching Probables:

Friday, 7:05pm
DET: Max Scherzer (4-0, 3.19)
CLE: Jeanmar Gomez (0-1, 7.36)

Saturday, 6:05pm
DET: Rick Porcello (1-2, 4.76)
CLE: Alex White (0-0, -.-)

Sunday, 1:05pm
KC: Phil Coke (1-4, 4.87)
CLE: Justin Masterson (5-0, 2.18)

Indians rough up Royals

Justin Masterson earned his fifth win in as many starts and the Cleveland Indians smacked five home runs en route to a 9-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field, Tuesday night.

With the win, the first-place Indians are now 2-1/2 games ahead of the second-place Royals and Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division.

Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a two-run homer in the third. Third baseman Jack Hannahan also went 3-for-4 at the dish with a pair of solo HR’s, and right fielder Shin Soo-Choo went 2-for-4 with a double and a three-run bomb to deep center in the seventh.

Masterson lasted 6.2 innings and gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits with seven strikeouts and pair of walks. He improved to 5-0 on the season with a 2.18 ERA.

The Indians took a 2-0 lead through three complete after Sizemore led off the first with a double and later scored when Choo hit into a fielder’s choice, then Hannahan ripped his third HR of the year in the third.

The Royals, though, tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth when Melky Cabrera hit a one-out single before Alex Gordon and Billy Butler hit consecutive doubles that plated two runs.

In the home half of the fifth, Cleveland took the lead for good as Matt LaPorta and Hannahan blasted back-to-back jacks, both to deep left that put the Tribe up 4-2.

Two frames later after Hannahan and Asdrubal Cabrera reached on base knocks, Choo sent a big fly into the bullpen in deep center to score both in the seventh.

Leading 7-3 heading to the eighth, things got interesting for the Indians with reliever Tony Sipp on the mound, who allowed a lead off single to Mike Aviles before walking Cabrera and Gordon to load the bases.

Vinnie Pestano came on in relief of Sipp and retired all three batters he faced in the eighth to get out of the inning unscathed by getting Butler to pop out to shortstop, striking out Jeff Francoeur, and got Kila Ka’aihue to fly out to left.

Up next, the middle game of the three-game set is Wednesday night as Josh Tomlin (3-0, 2.33) will start for the Indians, and he will be opposed by Jeff Francis (0-2, 4.06) for the Royals. First pitch at Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on STO.

Other notes: After RHP Carlos Carrasco left his start on Sunday in Minnesota after three innings with elbow tightness, he underwent an MRI and fortunately it came up negative. Carrasco will throw 30 to 35 pitches in the bullpen on Wednesday, and as long as that goes well and he doesn’t have any soreness, he will pitch Saturday against Detroit. Indians manager Manny Acta was “very relieved” the tests on Carrasco were normal. He was expecting him to go on the disabled list.

Series Preview: Kansas City at Cleveland

CLEVELAND INDIANS – (13-8, 1st AL Central, Home: 7-2, Streak: Lost 3) vs. KANSAS CITY ROYALS – (12-10, 2nd AL Central, Road: 3-5, Streak: Lost 3)

Once again, the two top teams in the American League Central will be duking it out, this time in a three-game series as the Cleveland Indians hosts the Kansas City Royals beginning tonight through Thursday, in a battle for divisional supremacy at Progressive Field.

Both teams were red-hot at the start of last week, but are reeling now, though, as each have lost their last three games.

After dropping the series finale to the Royals last Thursday, the Indians ventured to Target Field to take on Minnesota and were swept by the Twins in an abbreviated two-game set after Friday night’s affair was rained out.

Kansas City traveled to the DFW Metroplex and were swept by the Texas Rangers in a three-game series over the weekend at The Ballpark at Arlington.

Royals’ left fielder Alex Gordon comes into tonight’s tilt riding an 18-game hitting streak. He is batting .390 during the tear (30-77) with one homer, 14 RBI and 18 runs scored.

The Indians are led by designated hitter Travis Hafner, who is batting .348 (24-69) with 12 runs scored, four doubles, four home runs and 10 runs batted in.

Other Notes: RHP Carlos Carrasco (elbow) was removed from his start April 24 after three innings due to tightness in his right elbow. Carrasco was re-evaluated on April 25 and the Indians were expected to make an announcement today, possibly putting him on the disabled list. RHP Mitch Talbot (strained right elbow) is already on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 12. Manager Manny Acta said Talbot could be gone longer than the minimum two weeks.

Pitching Probables:

Tuesday, 7:05pm
KC: Luke Hochevar (2-2, 5.12)
CLE: Justin Masterson (4-0, 1.71)
Notes: Masterson is the first Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee in 2008 to win his first four outings. He defeated the Royals his last time out, allowing a pair of runs and six hits in six innings. He also walked a season-high five batters in the victory. In 17 games, 12 of them starts, since Aug. 4 of last year, Masterson is 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA.

Wednesday, 8:10pm
KC: Jeff Francis (0-2, 4.06)
CLE: Josh Tomlin (3-0, 2.33)
Notes: In Tomlin’s first four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA, and he has held opposing batters to a .181 batting average, the fifth lowest mark in the American League. Tomlin was in line for his fourth win of the season last Thursday vs. Kansas City, but closer Chris Perez blew the save chance in the ninth inning.

Thursday, 7:05pm
KC: Kyle Davies (1-2, 6.23)
CLE: Fausto Carmona (1-3, 5.76)
Notes: Carmona pitched five innings and gave up six runs (all earned) in Saturday’s loss to the Twins and he really struggled to throw strikes in his five frames of work, walking four and striking out just one. Carmona has ridden the roller-coaster so far this season. In his first and fifth starts, Carmona is a combined 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA. In his second, third and fourth starts, he was a combined 1-1, with a 1.25 ERA.