Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts as the Indians dropped their third consecutive game to the Reds – this one by a score of 4-0 – as Cincinnati won the Ohio Cup three-games-to-one.
1) After winning the first game 9-2 at Progressive Field of the two home and away series, the Indians offense never showed up again. Over the final three games – all Reds victories - the slumping Indians offense limped the rest of the way through Thursday’s finale.
2) The Tribe’s batsmen managed to hit only .179 with five runs scored – scoring in just three of the final 27 innings. Thus, once again the Indians are below .500 (54-55) as they head to New York to face the Yankees this weekend.
3) Indians rookie left-hander T.J. House turned in his fourth quality start among his first 11in the big leagues. Over six innings, he gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk. He also recorded five strikeouts.
4) Just the thought of Billy Hamilton’s wheels had Tribe first baseman Carlos Santana tied in knots. Santana, who worked his major league-leading 81st walk in his first at-bat, committed two errors – his first on the season at first base. Both came with Hamilton (2-for-4) at the center.
“He can do a lot of things to disrupt the game - as we saw,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
5) Hamilton led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, then went from first to third on a Jay Bruce INFIELD single, then skipped home on Santana’s first error as he tried to nail Hamilton at third.
However, with the Tribe infield in a defensive shift, there was no one patrolling third base with Lonnie Chisenhall moved over to his left stationed at shortstop and pitcher House coming over to cover third too late.
Santana was tagged with the throwing error, but Francona said the mistake was on the rookie House.
“T.J.'s got to be over there,” Francona said. “Lonnie did the best he could to get there… That's a tough play. (Santana’s) trying to throw it all across the diamond and hit a moving target, knowing it's going to be a bang-bang (play). That's difficult.”
6) In the second, House gave up a hit up the middle by number nine hitter and Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey. Back at the top of the order, Hamilton followed with what was ruled a two-out triple that scored Bailey to hand the host three unanswered early runs.
The play was more like a single and two-base error, however. With first baseman Nick Swisher playing his second consecutive game in left field thanks to National League rules that prohibit a DH, Swisher stabbed at Hamilton’s ball with his glove, but it hopped away from him and skidded to the wall in left field.
7) The defensive lapse was all Hamilton needed to see to make a run for it – attempting to turn the “triple” into an inside-the-park home run. However, centerfielder Michael Brantley ran over to left center behind Swisher to grab the errant ball. Brantley heaved it into the infield quick enough to start a chain reaction that got Hamilton caught in a run down that ended with catcher Yan Gomes chasing him down and tagging him out on the wacky play.
8) Gomes’ play was among the Tribe’s few positives on the night. Gomes’ single to center field in the seventh inning extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games as Gomes has really settled in at the plate over the last month and has become the club’s hottest hitter of late.
9) Having just been called up to aid a tired bullpen, right-hander C.C. Lee tossed two hitless innings in relief of House, striking out three.
10) You know it was a tough series for the Tribe when Reds rookie second baseman Kristopher Negron (I know, who?) was named the Ohio Cup’s MVP. Against the Tribe, Negron went 7-for-13 with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored and five RBI.
TRIPLE DOWN BLACKJACK