Found April 25, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:

As a baseball fans, you know there are those games in which your team should win but end up losing. Then there are the games that your team has no business winning, yet does anyways. Last night in front of a sparse crowd at Progressive Field, your Cleveland Indians pulled off the latter. How else can you explain the 4-3 victory in which the Tribe loaded the bases with nobody out TWICE and failed to score? Or tell me how they won while leaving a whopping 13 men on base while going 2-12 with runners in scoring position? That’s not easy to do. But this is Actaball, where the strange usually outweighs the normal.

It also helps when you are playing the Kansas City Royals.

This one was a matchup of veteran right-hander Derek Lowe and lefty villain Jonathan Sanchez, the man who ignited the benches clearing controversy 10 days ago. The first batter Sanchez faced, Jason Kipnis, was hit in the hand with a curveball. Nobody thought the pitch was intentional. It would become obvious within an inning. Sanchez was all over the place, nibbling at the corners all night and putting runners on base like that was his job. He lasted just four and two-thirds innings and walked seven. He would exit after throwing 115 pitches, just 56 of which were strikes.

The Wahoo offense had seemingly a million chances to put this one away, yet never could. Sanchez was on the ropes several times,  but wiggled his way out of trouble. With a 1-0 lead in the second, Sanchez walked Jack Hannahan, Casey Kotchman, and Aaron Cunningham to open the frame. He again was all over the place. Yet for some reason, Kipnis decided to swing at the first pitch and weakly popped out to shallow left. Asdrubal Cabrera also decided to swing at the first pitch (which was in the dirt) and missed. In the third pitch of the at-bat, he hit into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play.

The approach by Kipnis and Asdrubal in those two at-bats was beyond poor to say the least. You just had the feeling that this would come back to haunt the Tribe.

The fifth inning is where the offense finally came through and knocked Sanchez out of the game. For the second time on the night, they loaded the bases again on three walks. Shelley Duncan delivered a sac fly to center, putting the Tribe ahead 2-1. Now with two outs, it was time for the Tribe’s MVP thus far to take matters into his own hands. Hannahan worked the count full, then poked a pitch into the right-center gap for a two-run double. It was Jackie two-out lightning at its best. He’s now an incredible 6-8 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

“He’s flying high, confidence wise,” manager Manny Acta said of Hannahan. “We want to see him up there. He’s already been huge for us in a few games. His heartbeat is probably a lot slower than a lot of the younger kids that we have here.”

The two Hannahan RBIs turned out to be the difference in this one, as the Indians would spend the rest of the game wasting chances. They had two on with two out in the sixth, but Carlos Santana grounded out. Hannahan’s two-out single in the seventh produced nothing. Then in the eighth, they loaded the bases a second time with nobody out and failed to score.

Meanwhile, Lowe was cruising. As a ground-ball, sinker specialist, Lowe is going to give up hits. But he minimized his damage, allowing just one run while scattering eight hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one before turning things over to the bullpen.

Tony Sipp, in his seventh inning spot, got the Royals in order which was a much needed confidence boost for the up and down lefty. Vinnie Pestano took the ball in the eighth and walked Eric Hosmer to open the inning. One out later, Mike Moustakas singled sharply to left, moving Hosmer to third and bringing the tying run to the plate. After getting Humberto Quintero with a huge strikeout, Mitch Maier touched Pestano up with an RBI double. At 4-2 with the lead run at the plate, Vinnie got Alcedes Escobar to ground out.

It has been flying under the radar thus far, but Pestano hasn’t been consistently the guy we saw last season in front of Chris Perez. He will be fine, but it is something to keep your eye on.

Pure Rage allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out his league-leading seventh save for the Tribe’s ninth win of the season. The victory, coupled with losses by the Tigers and White Sox, vaulted the Tribe into a three-way tie for first place, with the Indians percentage points ahead.

It wasn’t all smiles coming out of Progressive Field last night. Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo had to be replaced in the eighth inning by Jason Donald due to what Acta called “mild” hamstring tightness. Choo is listed as day to day, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t see him the rest of this series. If Choo’s injury causes a DL stint, it could signal an earlier than expected debut of Johnny Damon or the return of the 2012 Andy Marte, 4A special Matt LaPorta, who went 4-5 with a homer for Columbus last night. LaPorta is now hitting .344/.394/1.051 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 17 games in AAA.

Michael Brantley was also given the night off against the lefty Sanchez. The .196 hitting center fielder appeared as a defensive replacement. Acta revealed after the game last night that Brantley is battling a sore right wrist as well, but he is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Taking the ball for Acta at 7:05 will be Ubaldo Jimenez (2-0, 4.00 ERA). He will be faced by a guy the Tribe has owned in the past, righty Luke Hochevar (1-1, 5.87). The last time he faced the Indians, Hochevar was lit up for seven runs and nine hits on four innings. For his career, he is 4-8 with a 5.81 ERA in 12 starts against them.



Hits keep coming for Indians' Hannahan

Sometimes it takes a player a long time to be in the right place at the right time, but that appears to be the case with Jack Hannahan. The veteran third baseman has seemingly found a home in Cleveland, and he's off to the best start of his career. Hannahan's two-run double Tuesday capped a three-run, fifth-inning rally that helped carry the Indians to a 4-3 win over Kansas...

Why Alcides Escobar should bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar should bat leadoff for the Kansas City Royals.  Immediately.  Your response may be, "WHAAAA???!!!!" or "WTF is WRONG with you?!"  Allow   me to expound before you throw me off a cliff. There are some conditions to put in place in order for this to make sense, so let's do that: 1.  Alex Gordon is going to continue hitting in the...

Is Jack Hannahan The Next Casey Blake?

The following piece is something that I never thought I would write. I also still to this day cannot understand the immense love for Casey Blake that the Indians fans and the organization itself had for this guy. Readers of this site know that I have been a Blake hater for years. But nevertheless, I saw and appreciated his value and there will be a point to all of this. GM Chris...

Englander returns to Case after brain surgery

CLEVELAND, OH - There was no long lecture, no re-visiting of a specific situation or second-guessing of physical mistakes. The shadows were ranging down, the crowd of 45 or so had mostly departed and the baseball players at Case Western Reserve University would soon be doing field maintenance themselves. In small-college baseball, you dig it out during the game and after. Before...

Bored Kansas City Royals fan reads book at game (Picture)

Back on Tuesday, one Kansas City Royals fan sitting behind home plate provided the world with an awesome analogy for how bad the Royals were. The fan was reading a book by novelist David Baldacci (still to be determined) during the final innings of the Blue Jays/Royals game: (Courtesy of Now Public)

Kansas City Royals Lose 12th Game in a Row

  Remember before last season when experts were all lauding the job the Kansas City Royals had done compiling the consensus No. 1 farm system in all of baseball? Apparently that doesn’t actually translate into wins on the field. So far in 2012, the Royals have shown themselves to be old-school bad. We’re talking 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys, 1899 Cleveland Spiders, 1962 New York...

Indians hand Royals 12th consecutive loss

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Derek Lowe allowed one run over six innings and the Cleveland Indians handed the Kansas City Royals their 12th straight loss, 4-3 on Tuesday night. The Royals have been outscored 73-44 during the streak, which ties for third-longest in team history. They also lost 12 in a row in 1997 and 2008. Kansas City lost 13 straight in 2006 and had a team-record 19 consecutive...

Royals-Indians Preview

A series against the Kansas City Royals provided just what the Cleveland Indians needed to break out of a slow start to this season and get some momentum going for a successful road trip. When they return home, the Indians will try again to add to the Royals' misery. Cleveland will seek its eighth win in 10 games Tuesday night by continuing its recent mastery of the Royals...

Indians 4, Royals 3

Derek Lowe allowed one run over six innings and the Cleveland Indians handed the Kansas City Royals their 12th straight loss, 4-3 on Tuesday night. The Royals have been outscored 73-44 during the streak, which ties for third-longest in team history. They also lost 12 in a row in 1997 and 2008. Kansas City lost 13 straight in 2006 and had a team-record 19 consecutive losses in 2005...

Box Score: Indians 4, Royals 3

The Tribe wasted several scoring chances, but still managed to beat the Royals. Lowe got his third win. Perez his seventh save.  Kansas City AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg C. Getz 2b 5 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .312 A. Gordon lf 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 .167 B. Butler dh 5 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 .284 E. Hosmer 1b 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 .206 J. Francoeur rf 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .227 ...

Mendoza, clutch hitting lead Royals to win

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Luis Mendoza pitched into the sixth inning and Kansas City's bullpen made a lead stand up, helping the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Thursday. Kansas City, which snapped a 12-game losing streak with an 8-2 victory Wednesday night, won consecutive games for the second time this season. The Indians, who were coming off a 7-2 road trip, fell to 2-6 at...

4/26 Game Recap: Royals 4 - Indians 2

Player of the Game With a score of 3.32, a relief pitcher once a gain takes home the Player of the Game for the 3rd time this year. Joe Smith won his first award, pitching 1.2 perfect innings in today's loss. Feathers Up Since I complained about it so much last season, I feel that I should mention it when the Indians do the right thing. I am very happy with backup catcher...

Hokey Smoke! The Royals finally won a game!

Rejoice! The Royals won 8-2 against the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night, ending their 12 game losing streak. It’s a good thing, because if the Royals kept losing, who knows what would happen… Alex Gordon found dazed and incoherent in the Royals clubhouse. <a href="" title...

Bo bikes, raises money for tornado victims

HENAGAR, Ala. - Heisman Trophy winner and former Kansas City Royals' All-Star, Bo Jackson and about 100 bicycle riders have started their five-day, 300-mile ride across Alabama to raise money for tornado relief in the state. A crowd of a couple of hundred people cheered Tuesday as Jackson led riders out of the tiny town of Henagar in the northeast part of the state. Celebrity...

Evaluating the Royals

The Kansas City Royals have lost 11 consecutive games, and at 3-13, they have the worst record in baseball. Even their most ardent supporters are walking away. Whatever optimism their farm system had generated before the season began has been washed away in a sea of losses, and now, the Royals just look like the same old last place team they’ve always been. That’s the story...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.