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Indians Indians Archive Game 87 Recap: Jimenez Hole Too Big To Dig Out Of
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

jimenez torontoEven when Ubaldo Jimenez was pitching well in the month of June, his mechanics were still all out of whack. He got into a lot of 2-0 counts but made quality pitches to get out of them. With a week between starts and probably not throwing much over the All-Star break, Jimenez struggled with his command and it eventually burned him as the Jays made up for last night’s shutout hanging double digits in an 11-9 Blue Jays victory.

Things started out poorly for the Indians as they went down 1-2-3 in the first against former Tribesman Aaron Laffey. Jimenez gave up two runs in the bottom half of the first, as the back-to-back walks he allowed to Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista came around to score on a two-out double by Adam Lind.

The Indians, to their credit, put together the start of an inning and tied the game, but they could have done a lot more. Jose Lopez began the second with a single, Carlos Santana worked a good at bat and walked, and Michael Brantley reached on a perfectly-placed infield single up the middle, to extend his hit streak to 12. Shelley Duncan picked up an RBI by getting hit by a pitch to get the Tribe on the board and cut the lead in half. Casey Kotchman, who entered the game 9-for-10 off Laffey with four doubles, hit into a 6-4-3 double play to tie the game, but effectively kill the rally. With Brantley at third, Marson went down flailing.

The bottom of the second served as a sign of things to come. Jimenez looked uncomfortable in the first and failed to get into any sort of groove in the second. He walked leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson and then recorded two outs. With two down, he walked Brett Lawrie. Still fighting with himself, Jimenez got a visit from Manager Manny Acta, which proved to be a positive development because Jimenez struck out Rasmus to end the inning.

Struggles with men in scoring position continued for the Indians in the third. Shin-Soo Choo smoked a ground-rule double to left center to lead off the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera, mired in a 4-for-45 slump, had the second of his four awful at bats on the day, striking out swinging. Jason Kipnis popped out to left and Lopez bounced into a fielder’s choice with Choo retired at third to end the inning. That runner left in scoring position may not have mattered anyway.

The tightrope that Jimenez was walking through the first two innings tore apart and he fell straight to the bottom of the valley. Beginning with Jose Bautista and ending with Kelly Johnson, the first five Blue Jays reached, including two doubles and two tape measure home runs to plate four runs. Jimenez struck out Rajai Davis, but then allowed another RBI double to J.P. Arencibia to make it a 7-2 game. Jimenez was, mercifully, taken out of the game and replaced by Scott Barnes who allowed two more runs before ending the inning. The final line for Jimenez was 2.1 innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out two. His ERA went back above 5.00 following the outing.

With the score now a seemingly insurmountable 10-2, the Tribe, momentarily, slowed the Jays’ momentum. Brantley drew a one-out walk and Duncan clubbed a two-run homer to left, his ninth, to shrink the lead to 10-4. That was as close as the Indians would get. Duncan, to his credit, is 11-for his last-24. The inning continued with two outs when Marson singled and Choo walked on four pitches, but Cabrera hacked at the first pitch and hit his 4,000th pop up in his last 15 games.

Scott Barnes navigated through the fourth, working around a two-out ground-rule double by Arencibia. In the fifth, the Indians mounted another rally, but, again, the bulk of it came with two outs. Kipnis led off with a single, but didn’t move until Brantley’s two-out knock. Duncan singled to left, but Rajai Davis threw out Kipnis at the plate.

Edwin Encarnacion hit the second of his two home runs with two outs in the fifth. It was a moon shot that landed in the restaurant in the third deck at Rogers Centre, a place where very few balls have been hit. Jeremy Accardo, who surrendered the bomb, also stayed in for the sixth and retired the side in order.

In the eighth, the Indians made the final score look pretty respectable. Santana walked and Brantley hit a two-run bomb to right field on a pitch that might as well have been on a tee. Duncan followed with a jam-job single to shallow right. Casey Kotchman picked out a hanging curve ball and blasted a two-run homer of his own to right field. Jesse Chavez, the Jays reliever, gave up four runs on four batters and didn’t record a single out. Andrew Carpenter came in and retired Marson on a groundout, struck out Choo, walked Cabrera, and walked Kipnis. Jays’ skipper John Farrell came out and got closer Casey Janssen with the tying run at the plate in the person of Travis Hafner, pinch hitting for Lopez. Hafner appeared to have trouble picking the ball up out of Janssen’s hand, taking a strike and then swinging at three borderline fastballs, fouling them all off. After taking two pitches, Hafner fouled off another one. After a strong at bat, Hafner smoked a single past where the shortstop would usually be, but with the shift on, the spot was vacated. The Indians cut the lead to 11-9. Santana, overanxious, mired in a 37-game homerless drought, swung at the first pitch and flew out to a sliding Bautista in right to end the inning.

Leading off the eighth, Adam Lind was retired on one of the strangest plays you’ll ever see. Lind smoked a liner off Rogers and the ball caromed into foul territory on the first base side. Kotchman, attempting a glove flip to first, failed and the ball rolled toward the bag. Rogers, with a heads up effort to get to the base, stood on top of the bag and scooped up the ball to get Lind on a bang-bang play at first for the 1-3-1 groundout. Rogers retired the next two hitters to get the Indians back to the plate.

Looking for a four-out save, Casey Janssen came back out for the ninth. The scheduled hitters were Brantley, Duncan, and Kotchman, who each had two-run homers, and had combined for seven hits and seven RBI to that point. Brantley got jammed and popped up to short. Duncan, after being sat down by some chin music earlier in the at bat, flew out to the middle of the warning track in left. Kotchman grounded out to third on the first pitch to end the ballgame.

Aaron Laffey gets the "win" for his five innings of work. Jimenez takes the L to fall to 8-8. The loss drops the Tribe to 45-42 and could put them in third place depending on what the Tigers do later this afternoon. The White Sox play at 7:10.

Stat of the Night: A day after the two teams combined for one run on 13 hits, they combined for 14 runs in the first four innings and 20 runs total on 25 hits.

Player of the Game: Shelley Duncan. He collected three RBI on a bases loaded hit by pitch and a two-run jack to left. He was robbed of another RBI when Kipnis got thrown out at home plate. Duncan also added a soft single to right in the eighth for a solid 3-for-4 day with the HBP.

Tomorrow’s Game: Derek Lowe looks to buck the trend of struggling in domes where ground balls pick up speed to win the series. He’ll be matched up against Carlos Villanueva at 1:07 p.m.

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