All of the line drives that didn’t fall the previous night and frustrated the Indians batters to no end in Friday’s blowout loss to the Kansas City Royals, fell a plenty Saturday.
In addition to returning some of the Tribe’s hitter’s confidence at the plate, the 7-3 victory handed Indians rookie pitcher T.J. House his first major league win in his seventh start.
While current Royals starting pitcher and former Tribe first-round draft pick Jeremy Guthrie allowed six runs on 11 hits in just four-plus innings Saturday at Progressive Field, the lefty House tip-toed around base runners a majority of the way through his 6 2/3-inning outing while limiting the damage to three runs on nine hits.
After the Royals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just two batters into the first inning, the Indians bats came alive against Guthrie with a trio of runs in each of the third and fifth innings.
Michael Bourn Bourn put the ribe on the board with a leadoff home run to right field in the third inning to tie the score 1-1. But before Guthrie could escape the inning, the Indians tacked on two more runs with a Jason Kipnis RBI double off the left centerfield wall followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall's run-scoring single that handed the Tribe a 3-1 advantage.
In the fifth inning, struggling Nick Swisher turned the crowd’s boos from a pair of strikeouts in his first two at-bats into loud cheers. Swisher strolled to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and shook off his rough start with a two-run single up the middle. The clutch hit not only snapped Swisher’s drought at the plate, but also sent Guthrie to the showers after a mere four innings plauys four batters.
David Murphy greeted left-handed reliever Francisley Bueno with a flare into shallow centerfield that scored Chisenhall and padded the Indians lead to five runs. The visitiors returned the favor in the top of the next inning, using three consecutive singles to open the sixth, but House held the damage to an Omar Infante run-scoring fielder’s choice.
Kansas City pulled a run closer after Danny Valencia led off the seventh inning with a home run that cut the deficit inhalf at 6-3. Two outs later, Tribe manager Terry Francona left House leave the mound to a standing ovation as he called on veteran reliever Bryan Shaw to finish off the inning with the top of Royals order due up. Murphy did all the work, however, with his running, diving, laid-out catch robbing Lorenzo Cain of extra bases to end the inning.
The Tribe tacked on an eighth-inning insurance run via a Michael Brantley RBI-single that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but sure provided some needed padding when closer Cody Allen turned a non-save situation into a harrowing one after loading the bases with no outs. But Allen rebounded to strike out Cain and induced Eric Hosmer into a game-ending double play.
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