The Cleveland Indians beat the New York Yankees 3-2 at Yankee Stadium last night with some help from a few names who have not been in the lineup recently.
Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Josh Tomlin were all on the disabled list prior to August 15. Their combined efforts netted 7 innings pitched, allowing only one earned run and bat 5-8 with one run scored and one RBI.
Tomlin (1-1, 2.03 ERA) received his second nod on the hill after returning from a shoulder injury. In his 7 innings he only allowed two hits and struck out six while walking two, thus earning his first win of the season.
Tomlin also had a six-to-nine groundout-to-fly out ratio. He threw 106 pitches, 22 more than his last start against the Twins. Of Tomlin’s 106 pitches, 69 were thrown for strikes, again showing his drive to continually throw balls in the strike zone to force easy outs.
His next scheduled start will be his first home start, Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers (52-70).
While Tomlin was making his second start since returning for the DL, Kipnis, Cleveland’s All-Star second baseman, made his first appearance after being activated from the disabled list two days ago. Kipnis was put on the disabled list for a shoulder injury he has been dealing with for much of the season.
Kipnis went 3-4 and scored a run off of a Brantley single in the third inning that made the score 2-0 in favor of the Indians. Aside from getting caught stealing by Brian McCann, Kipnis had as good a return to major league baseball as you could expect.
After the game, Kipnis is batting .325 through 415 at bats, which puts him .004 ahead of the Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder for the highest batting average in the American League. Kipnis is fourth overall among qualifying batters in major league baseball behind Dee Gordon (.336), Bryce Harper (.330) and Paul Goldschmidt (.329).
Brantley is not too far behind in the race for the American League batting crown either. The Indians’ left fielder is batting .319 this year and after returning from missing four games after the last series the Indians had against New York earlier this month, he has increased his average by seven points in four games.
Last night, Brantley was the designated hitter for Cleveland and he went 2-4. He hit a double and drove in a run. Brantley now has a double in three of his four games since returning against Boston August 17. He has also scored or driven in a run in each of those games.
On this road trip, Brantley is 8-17 with three doubles, a home run, three RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base.
Going into tonight’s slate of games, The Indians are 3.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins, the second place team in the AL Central and are 6.5 games out of the wild card.
Tonight, Carlos Carrasco (11-9, 3.63 ERA) will start against Masahiro Tanaka (9-5, 3.56 ERA). Tanaka has logged three consecutive quality starts in which he has allowed five hits or less, two of which have come against the high octane Toronto Blue Jays. Carrasco has also been impressive. He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in all of them, including a nine inning one hitter against the Angels.
Carrasco has a 1.38 ERA in the month of August. He has allowed four earned runs in 26 innings pitched while striking out 22 batters.