A great outing from Jeanmar Gomez and a couple big hits from middle infielders helped the Indians (23-17) beat the Marlins (21-19) Saturday to pull even with the Fish in their weekend series with Miami.
Both Gomez and Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez pitched extremely well and neither team was able to score in the early innings—it took the Tribe until the third to even get a hit. Asdrubal Cabrera finally broke the stalemate with a leadoff home run off Sanchez in the bottom of the fourth to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
The Indians struck again in the fifth inning. Shelley Duncan got things started with a one-out base hit after Casey Kotchman grounded out. Shin-Soo Choo‘s subsequent single made it runners at the corners with one out, and Jason Kipnis came through with a sacrifice fly to score Duncan and make it 2-0 Tribe.
It was more than enough to beat Miami. Jeanmar Gomez took a shutout into the seventh inning before handing it over to the bullpen. Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez threw 2.2 perfect innings to preserve the lead and give the Indians a 2-0 win.
The Good: ‘Twas a very strong outing for Jeanmar Gomez, who went 6.1 strong innings of shutout ball while holding the Marlins to just three hits while racking up four strikeouts. The three free baserunners (two walks and a hit-by-pitched) he allowed was a little high, but at least for this game it didn’t come back to bite him.
Another big positive: Chris Perez struck out the side in a perfect ninth on his way to picking up his 13th save of the season.
The Bad: There isn’t really a whole lot to complain about after Saturday. We saw some great pitching on both sides, and while being held to two runs isn’t a great sign it’s not easy to get to Anibal Sanchez.
The “Huh?”: Shelley Duncan made one of his increasingly rare appearances in the lineup, but he was banished to the No. 9 hole. I get that he’s off to a slow start and not everyone is as high on him as I am, but can’t we all agree that he deserves to hit higher than Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman?
Interesting Tidbit: Of the 14 regular season games in which Cleveland and Miami have met, four have been shutouts (including Saturday). The first three were all by the Marlins, though.