In a game that saw 26 hits, 26 runs, and 6 home runs, it was a bullpen implosion on behalf of the Cleveland Indians that allowed the Milwaukee Brewers to win their 35th game, enough for tops in the NL Central.
A rough outing by Carl Pavano (6-6) seemed all but forgotten as Travis Hafner’s 6th inning, 3-run homer cleared the right-centerfield wall, upping Cleveland’s lead to 12-7. As bad as Pavano was (5 IP, 6 ER, 9 H), Dave Bush was even worse, allowing eight earned runs on six hits in only 3.1 innings of work. Both pitchers struggled to keep balls in the lower portion of the strike zone, allowing Ryan Braun, Shin-Soo Choo, and Victor Martinez to clear the fences within the first three innings.
By the time Indian lefty Rafael Perez entered the game, baseballs were leaving the yard faster than seagulls after mid-inning firework blasts. Prince Fielder’s grand slam in the 8th inning capped a six-run inning for the Brewers, who never relinquished the 14-12 lead.
Perez and Matt Herges combined for four earned runs, four walks, and only one hit…the Fielder grand slam. This all came without the two pitchers recording a single out. Overall, the Cleveland bullpen combined for eight earned runs in only four innings of relief. Joe Smith was the only reliever not charged with any runs.
The boo birds and seagulls hovered around Progressive Field as the miserable bullpen effort continued on Monday night. The Indians dropped a game that could have evened them in the standings with Kansas City, and momentarily moved them into a tie for last, and not just sole possession of last.
The series with Milwaukee continues tomorrow as Yovani Gallardo (6-3) is expected to toe the rubber against lefty Jeremy Sowers (1-3).