Indians Win 2-1 in 13, Gain Ground on Idle Royals, Tigers

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Sep 18, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez (11) is congratulated after scoring a run during the thirteenth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Indians Outlast Astros in 13 Inning Pitcher’s Duel

Another day, another Indians victory. This time it was a 2-1 mini marathon against the Astros that saw the Tribe dig deep into both their bench and bullpen. In the process, they were able to keep pace with the Mariners, they defeated the Angels 3-1, while gaining ground on the Royals and Tigers, both were idle, and the suddenly free-falling A’s, losers of three straight and seven of their last ten.

The Indians once again received an exceptional outing from their starting rotation. This is becoming something of a theme as the season winds down. This time it was Danny Salazar‘s turn. Over 7.1 innings of work, the hard throwing right hander allowed only 1 run to cross the plate on 5 hits and a walk while also striking out 9. It was the type of performance we had hoped to see all season long.

Sep 18, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar (31) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

However, seeing as how the game lasted another five innings after Salazar had exited, the awesomeness of his performance was lost on many. Instead, the greater majority of the fans on Twitter chose to focus on the ineffectiveness of the offense towards the end of the game. A valid point of criticism considering the number of wasted opportunities.

The Astros took the lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Jake Marisnick. The Indians, despite their best intentions, chose not to respond until the top half of the ninth inning. Michael Bourn led off with an inside the park home run that was overturned for a ground rule double thanks to some quirky rules concerning the left field wall. Jose Ramirez followed with a sacrifice bunt that was overturned for a single.

Then things really got crazy, as if they weren’t already.

Michael Brantley hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Jon Singleton. Bourn, who was moving on contact was caught up when Singlton threw behind him. Rather than initiating a run down in order to allow Ramirez and Brantley to advance an extra base, Bourn tried to score, resulting in men on first and second with one out. Luckily, Carlos Santana, who has been raking it in the second half of the season delivered. His RBI single to  center scored Ramirez and tied the game up at 1-1.

Four innings later Ramirez would score what would prove to be the winning run. His one out double set the table and his speed would prove to be the difference. A few batter later, Mike Aviles hit a sac fly to right. Marisnick’s throw on the medium deep liner was rushed and sailed to the first base side of home plate thanks to Ramirez’s aforementioned speed.

With the score 2-1, Terry Francona called up Cody Allen in the top half of the ninth inning to pick up his 22nd save of the season.

With the victory, the Indians find themselves five games back in the AL Central race and four games back in the wild card. They will travel to Minnesota for a three game set this weekend before returning home for a critical three game series against the Royals which also includes the completion of the previously suspended game from a few weeks back and a three game series against the Rays.

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